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WASHINGTON, D.C. –OPEC is anything but blameless in the oil price surge of the last two years.  The cartel is the single greatest cause of market instability, as it fans market fears with intermittent quota and output cuts to extend the price surge.  Even assuming that OPEC was surprised by increased Asian oil demand and initially hesitant to view the increase as permanent, the cartel has had plenty of time to exercise market leadership.  Instead, OPEC refuses to endorse a long-term price band and opportunistically seeks to extract as much revenue from the market as feasible.  This year the cartel’s oil revenue will approach $600 billion dollars, up from about $200 billion per year prior to 2003.

Download Research Report #109-46 in PDF format


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Huge reserves of unconventional oil in Canada and their accelerated development will undermine the OPEC oil cartel in coming years, according to a new Joint Economic Committee (JEC) study released today by Chairman Jim Saxton.  According to the study, Canadian Oil Sands: A New Force in the World Oil Market, estimates of proven oil reserves rank Canada second only to Saudi Arabia, with the possibility that Canada’s reserves may be even larger.  Strong economic incentives would exist, even with oil prices at half the current level, to ramp up oil sands production and more than double output in ten years.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The international oil cartel should end its system of production restrictions and plan to expand investments in production capacity when it meets June 1, Chairman Jim Saxton said today.  Although the restrictive practices of the OPEC cartel are not the only reason for high oil prices, they remain important.  A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted that among the events “leading up to the crisis,” were “Decisions by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel, after having reduced production quotas in 2002, to raise them only slowly and reluctantly.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new study from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identifies the collusion of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a major factor contributing to high oil prices, Chairman Jim Saxton said today. As the FTC notes, “OPEC is a functioning cartel whose activities would be illegal if undertaken by private companies.” Elsewhere, the study notes that OPEC “plays a significant role in the pricing of crude oil and, accordingly, in the pricing of gasoline.” Last November, Saxton released a JEC study examining the efforts of the OPEC cartel to manipulate the oil market.

Download Press Release #109-78 in PDF format


   WASHINGTON, D.C. - Iran’s immense oil and gas reserves undermine Iranian government claims that nuclear power is needed for energy production, according to a new report released by Joint Economic Committee Chairman Jim Saxton today. The report, Iran’s Oil and Gas Wealth, is an examination of Iranian oil and gas fields, related energy production, and oil exports. Iran has the second largest conventional oil reserves in the world, with 40 major producing oil fields, of which 27 are on-shore, and 13 off-shore. The report also notes that Iranian oil and gas reserves are significantly underdeveloped, resulting in an enormous energy output gap and a huge potential for peacefully supplying future Iranian energy needs.

Download Press Release #109-61 in PDF format


   WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. economy is now much more able to withstand energy price shocks than it was 25 years ago, according to a new Joint Economic Committee study released today by Chairman Jim Saxton. The study, Energy Prices and the Economy, examines how the U.S. economy has become more energy efficient, less energy intensive, and more resilient in recent decades. As a result, past studies suggesting that significant oil price increases would lead to sharp declines in GDP growth were not reliable guides in predicting the course of economic growth in recent years. However, higher energy prices continue to have potential negative economic effects, even if they are much less severe than during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Download Press Release #109-55 in PDF format


   WASHINGTON, D.C. - The eleven members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) together hold 902 billion barrels of oil reserves. The world consumed about 30.3 billion barrels in 2005. Thus OPEC alone could meet the world's current rate of oil consumption for nearly 30 years, without developing additional reserves. OPEC's oil production is the least costly on earth. The five largest members of OPEC are Persian Gulf countries with production costs less than $5 per barrel. OPEC members outside the Persian Gulf have somewhat higher costs but still below $9 per barrel.

Download Research Report #109-28 in PDF format


   WASHINGTON, D.C. - Many often repeated notions about the state of the world’s crude oil supply and the reasons for the high price of crude oil are wrong or at best half-truths.  The oil market is dominated and manipulated by the OPEC cartel, which controls the lion’s share of the world’s oil reserves and has the lowest production cost.  Its collusive actions distort market outcomes and have led to erroneous conclusions about the true state of the oil supply.  The world crude oil market is not competitive and the prices it generates can not be properly interpreted as though it were.  Following are ten common myths.

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   WASHINGTON, D.C. - It is understandable that OPEC is pleased about current oil prices but exploited oil consumers have no reason to agree, Chairman Jim Saxton said today. Saxton’s remarks were in reaction to a prominent OPEC oil minister’s description of the world oil market as “beautifully balanced,” and a statement by OPEC’s president that cutting oil output before March would be “a logical proposal” worth consideration. Saxton’s statement follows:

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OPEC Conspires to Keep Oil Prices Too High
-- OPEC Costs Consumers More Than $1 Trillion --

   WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has unduly restricted its production of oil and is a major factor explaining high oil prices, according to a new study released today by Chairman Jim Saxton. The study, OPEC and the High Price of Oil, examines the cartel's oil reserves, production costs, collusive practices, and failure to adequately develop its vast oil fields.

Download Press Release #109-46 in PDF format

Oil Prices and the Economy
- Before and After Katrina & Rita

   WASHINGTON, D.C. - This brief addresses why the economy is more resilient to higher energy prices today than in the past and will survey the expected economic effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should end its restrictive policies and significantly expand its production of oil, Chairman Jim Saxton of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) said today. Last June, Saxton released a JEC report pointing out that the OPEC cartel was a major factor explaining high oil prices, partly because its members had failed to adequately develop their vast oil fields enough to meet world demand. Although OPEC investment and output have increased somewhat recently, world oil demand has increased rapidly.

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...WASHINGTON, D.C. - For three decades, OPEC has manipulated the oil market. The Persian Gulf countries sit on huge reserves of oil and are able to produce oil cheaply. The major ones, together with several non-Persian Gulf countries included in the cartel (Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Venezuela), openly collude to restrict the output of oil and raise the price far above their cost. From the end of World War II until the oil embargo of 1973, Arabian Light crude oil sold for less than $2.50 per barrel; then the price shot up.

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