Commercial fisherman sues US shale oil producers

A photo of a drilling rig.

A U.S. commercial fisherman has filed suit against domestic shale oil producers, alleging that the companies conspired with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to artificially raise the prices for marine fuel.

“Every time marine fuel prices go up, the amount I can make on the water goes down,” San Francisco, California, U.S.A.-based commercial fisherman John Mellor said. “While the CEOs of these oil companies are lining their pockets, I’m out here counting pennies to figure out how to just make a living.”

Mellor’s lawsuit – which is seeking class-action status – alleges that domestic shale producers conspired with OPEC to restrict crude oil production a move that inflates the price of the marine fuel commercial fishermen purchase at the docks. Mellor points to “exclusive dinners,” as well as private meetings and calls, as evidence of the conspiracy.

“The alleged behavior perfectly showcases the dangers that are posed by companies that put illegal profits over hardworking people,” Gross Klein PC attorney Stuart Gross said in a statement. “OPEC members are open about their cartel behavior, confident that sovereign immunity will protect them from answering for it in U.S. courts. These U.S. oil companies enjoy no such protection and will be held to account.”

The lawsuit Mellor v. Permian Resources Corp., et al.  was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

Mellor’s lawsuit targets eight U.S. shale oil producers: Permian Resources Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Continental Resources, Diamondback Energy, EOG Resources, Hess Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and Pioneer Natural Resources Company.

The suit is part of a larger legal push against the shale producers; in January, three drivers from the U.S. filed a class-action lawsuit in Nevada court against the same eight companies.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/FreezeFrames


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