US urges caution on underquoted Russian oil prices as EU debates prices

US urges caution on underquoted Russian oil prices as EU debates prices

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Some countries, including Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, have pushed for a much lower $30-per-barrel price cap, arguing that it is closer to Russia’s production costs and that Moscow needs to squeeze more revenue.

But the US official’s comments, which signal growing concern over EU deliberations, come just five days before the European Union imposed sanctions on imports of Russian crude.

Lower quoted market prices may reduce support for the cap in the $60-70 range. The US official cited concerns over using prices that represent a subset of Russian oil sales.

At issue are recent prices quoted by Argus Media and S&P Platt at major Black Sea and Baltic export terminals at around $52 last week and by Bloomberg.

The US official said such prices do not include transportation and other costs associated with Russian crude. Citing an expected average of $78 per barrel since March 2022, a price of $65 per barrel on Russian crude would represent a meaningful reduction from recent prices.

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