David Uberti, WSJ
EnergiesNet.com 01 23 2023
A Western price cap on Russian oil exports will extend through at least March, the Treasury Department said Friday, as the U.S. and its allies broaden a web of restrictions aimed at stifling the Kremlin’s revenues without curtailing global fuel supplies.
The U.S., European Union and their allies in the Group of Seven that imposed the $60-a-barrel cap on seaborne Russian crude will revisit the limit in March “as long as the price cap continues to meet the Coalition’s dual goals,” Treasury said.
Imposed in December, the novel price control has divided Western governments with its mission of pushing Russia to keep crude exports flowing while limiting the windfall the Kremlin receives to fund its war on Ukraine.
Some European governments involved in the price cap, including Poland and Estonia, have called for lowering it in the coming weeks. Ukraine has similarly called for a reduction from $60 a barrel limit.
The U.S. and its allies agreed to penalize companies that finance, insure or ship seaborne cargoes of Russian crude above that level.
Separate U.S. and European restrictions on such imports have pushed Russia to sell more oil to India, China and Turkey, extending trade routes and pushing up shipping costs. That has contributed a steep discount for Russian crude and ensured many current shipments don’t come into conflict with the $60-a-barrel cap.
Russia’s flagship blend of crude, known as Urals, traded this week around $45 a barrel, according to Platts of S&P Global Commodity Insights. Front-month futures contracts for Brent, the global benchmark, commanded $87.63 Friday.
The March timeline for review of the price cap comes as the U.S., E.U. and their allies prepare another round of sanctions on Russian refined products slated to take effect Feb. 5.
—Andrew Duehren contributed reporting
wsj.com 01 20 2023