US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she’s confident that discussions aimed at extending restrictions on the sale of Russian petroleum products will be concluded within an approaching deadline that coincides with new European Union sanctions against Moscow.
“We’re in the middle of discussions with all of our partners,” Yellen told reporters Friday while travelling in South Africa. “But I am encouraged we will be able to come to agreement by February 5.”
EU officials Thursday floated a plan that would set a services-related price cap of $100 a barrel on Russian diesel, and a $45 cap on cheaper group of fuels. Yellen declined to say specifically whether those proposals were acceptable to the US.
A US-led coalition of countries that includes Group of Seven nations and the EU imposed a set of restrictions on Russian crude oil on December 5 that works in conjunction with the bloc’s sanctions. Those ban most imports of seagoing Russian crude and prohibit EU companies from providing their services to cargoes of Russian crude shipped anywhere in the world, unless they are priced under a $60 per-barrel cap.
The restriction appears to have helped depress Moscow’s revenue from crude sales while keeping Russian supplies on the global market.
The group plans to extend that program to two groups of refined Russian oil products on February 5, but are yet to agree to the price limits.
The $100-a-barrel cap would apply to products like diesel that trade at a premium to crude, according to people familiar with the matter. A lower $45 threshold would be set for discounted ones like fuel oil, the people added. The figures could still change during talks between member states.
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