Environment

UAE, Saudi energy ministers hit back at ‘NOPEC’ bill, say it could send oil prices surging

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei says moves by U.S. authorities to introduced NOPEC legislation would bring chaos to energy markets.
AFP | Getty Images

Top OPEC ministers have hit back at new U.S. legislation intended to regulate its output, saying such efforts would bring greater chaos to energy markets.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei told CNBC Tuesday that OPEC was being unfairly targeted over the energy crisis, and moves by U.S. lawmakers to disrupt it established system of production could see oil prices shoot up by as much as 300%.

“If you hinder that system, you need to watch what you’re asking for, because having a chaotic market you would see … a 200% or 300% increase in the prices that the world cannot handle,” Al Mazrouei told CNBC’s Dan Murphy during a panel at the World Utilities Congress in Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Thursday passed a new bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill with a 17-4 majority, marking a significant step forward in the decades-old proposal.

The bill, which aims to protect U.S. consumers and businesses from engineered spikes in energy prices, would see the alliance open to antitrust lawsuits for orchestrating supply cuts that raise global crude prices.

To take effect, it would now need to be passed by the full Senate and the House, before being signed into law by the president.

OPEC and its partners have faced pressure from consuming countries, including the U.S. and Japan, for not producing more crude oil amid rising prices and surging inflation. As of Tuesday, Brent oil was trading at around $102 a barrel.

Al Mazrouei acknowledged that some members were falling short of their production quotas, but added that the alliance was doing its part to meet global demand amid ongoing geopolitical pressures, namely the war in Ukraine.

“We, OPEC+, cannot compensate for the whole 100% of the world requirement,” he said. “How much we produce, that is our share. And, actually, I would bet that we are doing much more.”

The 23-nation OPEC+ alliance fell short of its quotas by 2.59 million barrels per day in April, according to the latest OPEC+ survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Al Mazrouei was joined on the panel by Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who said that OPEC and non-OPEC members should work in collaboration to tackle the ongoing energy crisis.

“I’m very concerned about the holistic energy system existing today,” he said when asked about the NOPEC bill.

“The world needs to work collectively, responsibly, comprehensively in providing us and salvaging the world economy,” he added.

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