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U.S. Judge Orders OPEC to Rescind Output Cuts

March 30, 2001|Nancy Rivera Brooks

A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., ruled that agreements by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to control oil production are a violation of U.S. antitrust laws. Judge Charles Weiner issued an injunction designed to prevent the OPEC cuts of about 1 million barrels a day announced March 16 and any other production agreements among OPEC members. Issuing a default judgment, Weiner noted that OPEC, composed of 11 nations that pump about 40% of the world's oil supplies, did not respond to the class-action lawsuit filed by a Birmingham gasoline marketer on behalf of any person or company that bought petroleum products since March 1999. The suit accused OPEC of manipulating prices by setting production agreements.

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