BRUSSELS – European Union ambassadors trying to reach a deal on Russia’s high oil prices resumed talks on Thursday evening, despite expectations that a deal had been reached.
Negotiations on a cap on Russian oil sales, a policy led by the Group of 7 industrialized nations and other close allies of Ukraine, have been going on for more than a week in the European Union.
Negotiators from the 27 member states of the European Union must unanimously agree on the price. Several diplomats and officials said the latest discussions were around a point of $60 a barrel. That’s lower than what was originally proposed by the G7, a victory for pro-Ukraine countries like Poland, which wanted lower prices to limit Russian oil revenues.
An almost complete embargo on Russian oil will come into effect in the European Union on December 5. Insurers and tankers from the European Union, which make up half of the world fleet, are no longer allowed to offer their services to transport Russian oil. This does not apply to buyers of Russian oil, such as China and India, if they ship and insure their cargo with companies outside the group that imposes the restrictions.
Fearing a global oil crisis, the United States advocated a price cap policy that would allow European tankers and insurers to subsidize Russian oil exports as long as the oil they transport or insure is sold at a capped price or sell less.
The advantage of this approach, according to its proponents, is that Russia loses some of the revenue because the price is at least below what the market is willing to pay for its oil, but it has an incentive to continue selling its oil because its price is still high enough. to earn a vital income. The cap also prevents Russian oil prices from rising above a certain point if global prices rise.
Russian oil, also known as Urals crude, has been trading between $60 and $65 a barrel for the past week, at a significant discount to other types of oil.
Poland and several allies were the last holdouts in the EU negotiations. They called for lower oil prices as much as possible, as well as frequent price revisions and more sanctions against Russia, to limit oil revenues that help finance the war in Ukraine.
By Thursday evening, those points appeared to have been secured and EU diplomats were entering what they hoped would be their last round of talks before a deal could be struck. However, Poland requested an extension, several diplomats and EU officials said.
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Thursday that he was encouraged by signs that the European Union is uniting around the price. “My view is that we will implement this agreement,” Mr Adeyemo said at an event sponsored by Reuters, adding that he was optimistic that Poland would support the deal, which the rest of its allies would then ratify. will do.
Polish diplomats expressed optimism that a deal was close, while others complained that the process had already taken too long and threatened to make Ukraine’s European allies appear fragmented.
Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.