Brussels, Belgium—European Union member states are close to agreeing on a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil, diplomats said Thursday, with just Poland left to give the final nod.
Europe will begin enforcing an embargo on Russian crude shipments from Monday, so the price cap will apply to oil exported by sea by Moscow to ports around the world.
Measures will be taken to prevent tankers from shipping Russian oil sold above this price, for example, by refusing to allow British and EU insurers to cover vessels and shipments.
The EU was already in agreement with Washington on the need to cap the price Western clients pay for Russia’s oil to prevent Moscow from profiting from price rises triggered by its own war on Ukraine.
The European Commission had suggested the ceiling along with an order that if the trading price of oil falls below $60, then the cap will be cut until it is five percent lower than the market.
The price of Urals Crude, the main variety sold by Russia, is volatile, but it was trading at around $65 per barrel as EU ambassadors met to discuss the level of the cap.
But Poland, a strong supporter of its neighbor Ukraine in the battle against the Kremlin’s forces, had been holding out for a lower sum, reportedly closer to just $30 a barrel.
As talks continued in Brussels, diplomats from several member states said Poland had not explicitly opposed the $60 decision and said they expected agreement soon.
Last week, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned that any attempt by the West to cap the price of Russian oil would have “grave consequences” for world markets.
But Washington and several of its allies—the Group of Seven major industrialized democracies, the EU, and Australia—have vowed to go ahead.
Oil ministers from the OPEC+ oil producers group will meet in Vienna on Sunday.