EU split on Russian oil price cap level: Diplomats
European Union diplomats say that there are still differences on the price cap level that the bloc intends to set on Russian oil.
European Union diplomats said on Wednesday that the bloc's governments failed to reach a deal on setting a level to cap prices for Russian sea-borne oil, adding that talks on the matter will resume on Thursday evening or Friday.
Earlier, representatives of the EU's 27 governments met in Brussels to discuss a Group of Seven nations (G7) proposal to set the price cap in the range of $65-$70 per barrel.
One EU diplomat said that "there are still differences on the price cap level. We need to proceed bilaterally," adding that "the next meeting of ambassadors of EU countries will be either tomorrow evening or on Friday."
The G7, which includes the US, the EU, and Australia, is seeking to implement the price cap on sea-borne exports of Russian oil on December 5, in an attempt by the West to reduce Russia's revenue from its oil exports, as part of anti-Russia sanctions amid the war in Ukraine.
Reuters reported that "Poland, Lithuania and Estonia believe the $65-$70 per barrel would leave Russia with too high a profit, since production costs are around $20 per barrel."
On the other hand, "Cyprus, Greece and Malta - countries with big shipping industries that stand to lose the most if Russian oil cargos are obstructed - think the cap is too low and demand compensation for the loss of business or more time to adjust," the news agency explained.
"Poland say they can't go above $30 per barrel. Cyprus wants compensation. Greece wants more time. It is not going to happen tonight," a second EU diplomat pointed out.
According to Reuters, "The idea of the price cap is to prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargos of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for no more than the price set by the G7 and its allies."
It is noteworthy that Russian Urals crude oil already trades within the discussed range at around $68 per barrel.
EU diplomats pointed out that most EU countries were supportive of the price cap but worried about the ability to enforce it.
The decision can only be taken if the EU unanimously votes in favor, and the G7 will be voting in parallel to the 27-nation bloc. It still may not be as effective, as the World Bank reported last month that the proposed G7 Russian oil price cap would need the participation of emerging markets and developing economies to achieve its objectives.
As a result, companies would be prohibited from providing shipping and insurance, brokering, and financial assistance, which facilitates the transportation of Russian oil unless it sells below the agreed threshold.
In light of that, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak affirmed on Wednesday that Russia will not send oil and petroleum products to nations that use the price-cap approach; instead, Moscow will reroute supplies to market-oriented allies or limit production entirely.