EU countries have wrangled for days over the details of the price cap, which aims to slash Russia’s income from selling oil, while preventing a spike in global oil prices after an EU embargo on Russian crude takes effect on 5 December.
It will allow countries to continue importing Russian crude oil using Western insurance and maritime services as long as they do not pay more per barrel than the agreed limit.
The initial G7 proposal last week was for a price cap of $65-$70 per barrel with no adjustment mechanism.
Since Russian Urals crude URL-E already traded lower, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia rejected the higher $65-70 per barrel price as not achieving the main objective of reducing Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine
A senior G7 official said a deal was “very, very close” and should be finalised in the coming days and by Monday at the latest. The official expressed confidence that the price cap would limit Russia’s ability to fight its war against Ukraine.
G7 officials had been closely monitoring oil markets during the development of the price cap mechanism and seemed “pretty comfortable” with it, the official said.
Earlier, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told the Reuters NEXTconference in New York that the
$60 cap was within the range of the bloc’s discussions and would limit Russian revenues.
Since Russian Urals crude URL-E already traded lower, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia rejected the higher $65-70 per barrel price as not achieving the main objective of reducing Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine.
“The price cap is set at $60 with a provision to keep it 5 per cent below market price for Russian crude, based on IEA figures,” an EU diplomat said.
An EU document seen by Reuters showed the price cap would be reviewed in mid-January and every two months after that, to assess how the scheme is functioning and respond to possible “turbulences” in the oil market that occur as a result.
The document said a 45-day “transitional period” would apply to vessels carrying Russian-origin crude oil that was loaded before 5 December and unloaded at its final destination by 19 January, 2023.
Russian Urals crude URL-E had traded at around $70 a barrel on Thursday afternoon.
The G7 price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil is to kick in on 5 December, replacing the harsher EU outright ban on buying Russian seaborne crude, as a way to safeguard global oil supply because Russia produces 10 per cent of the world’s oil.
The idea to enforce the G7 cap is to prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price set by the G7 and its allies.
Because the world’s key shipping and insurance firms are based in G7 countries, the price cap would make it very difficult for Moscow to sell its oil for a higher price.
The G7 official expressed optimism that the bloc would also reach agreement on a price cap and exemptions for Russian refined oil products ahead of 5 February, when an EU ban barring such imports takes effect.