Anas Al-Hajji: No to OPEC, a "routine" project... and the Americans are its first victims (video) - Energy

Anas Al-Hajji, an expert on energy economics and politics, commented on the passage of the No-OPEC bill in the US Senate Legal Committee, saying that the project is now expected to be presented to the entire Senate and Congress, and to be approved by a majority in both houses, explaining that The Americans learned from the mistakes of the past when they failed to try the countries of the organization.

Al-Hajji explained – during his speech on the “Forces of Energy” program, via the . website Twitterin an episode entitled “Is America prosecuting the Gulf states for monopolizing and controlling oil prices?”, the day before yesterday, Tuesday, May 10 – that the law, after its approval in the Senate and Congress, will be subject to comparison, to ensure that it passed the same wording and language, and then it will go to US President Joe Biden’s office.

Al-Hajji added that “President Biden now has several options. If a no-OPEC law is passed by an ordinary majority, he will be able to reject it and use the veto right, thus ending this law completely, or signing it to become effective, as he can ignore it, and this step from a legal point of view is the right of veto to refuse.” .

A majority in both houses

Anas Al-Hajji and the law of no to OPEC
OPEC logo – image from the American “Business Times” website

The editorial advisor of “Energy” said that the “No to OPEC” bill was passed previously, so the problem here is that it will pass a majority in Congress and a majority in the Senate, because there is an agreement between Democrats and Republicans to pass this law.

Dr. Anas Al-Hajji pointed out that if the bill is passed by an overwhelming majority – that is, two-thirds or more – then President Joe Biden will not have a role here at all, whether he agrees to the law or not, the bill will become a law and the matter is over.

He continued, “It will happen with the No-OPEC law what happened with the JASTA law itself before, the law will pass by a large majority in Congress and the Senate, and Biden will not approve it, to appear before Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries as if he tried to confront it, but the law will be issued and become effective in all cases.” .

The No OPEC Law is an amendment to Section VII of a previous law called “Sherman”, which lifts immunity from governments and their companies, cancels the Government Immunity and Disposition Act, and allows the US Department of Justice to file lawsuits.

legitimate monopolies

Al-Hajji explained that the accusation against OPEC countries is the charge of monopoly and manipulation of oil prices, and that monopoly exists everywhere and at all times. Governments exclude so-called “natural monopolies,” but impose strict conditions on them in terms of prices, profits and costs. This includes water, lines, internet and electricity companies.

He added that there is a social interest in accepting these monopolies, as people concluded that they should be allowed a long time ago, in order to avoid the multiplicity of companies, competition and business that will affect their lives, but under certain conditions.

He gave an example of the electricity companies in the United States and Europe, which are monopolistic companies. In one city, we find one electricity company, and some cities have two companies, but this is also subject to certain conditions, such as the pricing equation – that is, the pricing is governmental – as the government guarantees that it will not get The company obtains profits that exceed the average market profits obtained by other companies.

He said, “So, over time, governments created laws that allow these monopolies to exist, because they have a general interest for all, which means that the idea of ​​monopolies is not always negative.”

The trial of the OPEC countries

No to OPEC
The flag of the United States on top of the Capitol – Image via “Energy Intelligence”

Dr. Anas Al-Hajji explained that history says that the trial of the OPEC countries before the American courts was a failure all the time, as they had been tried – including Saudi Aramco – before the American judiciary, and these trials were on charges of monopoly and manipulating oil prices, but they failed.

The editor-in-chief of “Energy” attributed the failure of these trials in most cases to lack of jurisdiction, as the claimants for the trials went to parties not competent in such cases, or because of two American laws, one of which relates to the immunity of states from American laws, and the second is the “Law of Governments’ Conduct”, because There are actions by governments that are justified as being exempt from monopoly laws.

He added: “The enemies of OPEC and the enemies of the oil states in general learned the lesson from the failure of these previous trials, so they demanded a change in anti-monopoly laws, especially the so-called (Sherman) law, to lift the immunity of these countries, and stop the (actions of governments) law, and the result was the submission of a draft law. The no-OPEC law we’re talking about.”

It is noteworthy that “Sherman” is an old law adopted by the US government in 1890, criminalizing activities that limit trade between states, and activities that limit competition in markets, and was used to dismantle the “Rockefeller” empire, which included 34 oil companies, but this law clashed with the other two laws .

OPEC goals and the Clayton law

Dr. Anas Al-Hajji pointed out that the first goal of OPEC since its establishment was to get rid of oil from member states and not to rely on it completely, and the second goal was to equalize the supply with the demand for oil at all times, adding: “Therefore, I do not exaggerate if I say that what happened in the last 7 years , especially when talking about Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia, is to return OPEC to its right track, and the goal for which it was established.

He said that the first goal is through diversifying sources of income and using renewable energy sources internally, and this is what is happening now, and the second goal happens through monthly meetings instead of two meetings a year, which is what OPEC is doing now.

oil production

The editor of the Energy Platform pointed to the tremendous efforts made by the Saudi side to arrange the monthly OPEC meetings, explaining that despite his writing repeatedly criticizing some of its policies, he recognizes the great efforts being made to arrange these meetings alongside the “OPEC +” meetings, as the Saudi team bears the physical burden. and psychological, in addition to the task of coordinating with 23 countries that are not all compatible with each other.

Al-Hajji talked about another law, which is the “Clayton” law, which allows any American citizen to sue any company, institution or government claiming to influence him personally, whether he is trading in shares or others, which he considered a matter of concern, but so far what is circulating is that the law No to OPEC is an amendment to the Sherman Act, not the Clayton Act, which means that the US government alone will sue whoever it wants, and if it is a friend, it will not sue him.

Problems passing the law

According to Dr. Anas Al-Hajji, the first problem in the event of passing the No-OPEC law is: Will the Biden administration try the OPEC countries or not? The JASTA Act was passed but shelved, which may happen with the current law, as Biden will not approve it despite the approval of the Senate and Congress, and it will become law and be shelved.

In the event of a desire to prosecute the OPEC countries, there are specific procedures mentioned by the editorial advisor of “Energy”, the first of which is to conduct investigations, and based on these investigations, a decision is made based on whether the evidence is sufficient to file lawsuits or not, and these investigations – based on Congress – will cost 6 million dollars a year, without the experts.

He explained that in the event that a decision is taken to prosecute the OPEC countries, the first thing that the court will do is to define the concept of the market, which is the focus of the matter. No, because there are technical problems with the definition?

Clarification: “Energy” was keen on the press translation of the name of the bill, as it ended with the use of the name “No to OPEC”, while other platforms use names such as “Nopek” or “No OPEC”, but our platform was keen to win in the end for the Arabic language.

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