The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, as it's more widely known, would, if passed into law, allow the USA attorney general to sue separate members of OPEC or the whole group for collusion.
A committee from the House of Representatives has approved a bill aimed at making OPEC members liable to USA antitrust legislation, Reuters reports, adding the prospects of the bill ending up as law were not certain yet. Still, as president, he has not voiced support for NOPEC and has stressed the importance of the USA relationship with Saudi Arabia, and sales of military equipment to the kingdom, even after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a year ago. The law would amend the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the law used more than a century ago to break up the oil empire of John Rockefeller.
US oil prices fell more than 2.5 per cent on Thursday to $52.64 a barrel on plentiful USA inventories and worries about global demand growth. The official's comments, made on condition of anonymity, were the furthest the Trump administration has gone on commenting on the bill.
President Trump, according to Reuters, has in the past, before taking the presidency, spoken in support of such a law.
The American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for US oil and gas drilling, has opposed the NOPEC bill, saying it could expose diplomatic, business and military interests to retaliation.
Barclays analyst Michael Cohen said in a research note that the appetite for advancing the bill was likely subdued while oil prices were low.
McMonigle said that if oil prices rose to $100 a barrel some time in the future, "all bets are off" and support in Congress could rise. "The higher the price of crude goes, the higher the odds of NOPEC".
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim told members of a House subcommittee in December the administration "continues to study" the legislation. "It's just that simple", said Robert McNally, president of Rapidan Energy, a consultancy.