The European Union tentatively agreed to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil, a key step as Western sanctions aim to reorder the global oil market to prevent price spikes and starve President Vladimir Putin of funding for his war in Ukraine.
After a last-minute flurry of negotiations, the EU presidency, held by the Czech Republic, said in a statement that ambassadors have just reached an agreement on price cap for Russian seaborne oil. The decision must still be officially approved with a written procedure but is expected to go through.
They needed to set the discounted price that other nations will pay by Monday, when an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea and a ban on insurance for those supplies take effect. The price cap, which was led by the Group of Seven wealthy democracies and still needs their approval, aims to prevent a sudden loss of Russian oil to the world that could lead to a new surge in energy prices and further fuel inflation.
The $60 figure sets the cap near the current price of Russia's crude, which recently fell below $60 a barrel. Some criticize that as not low enough to cut into one of Russia's main sources of income. It is still a big discount to international benchmark Brent, which traded at about $87 per barrel Friday, but could be high enough for Moscow to keep selling even while rejecting the idea of a cap.