The U.S. and its allies are seeking to agree as soon as Wednesday on a level for a price cap on Russian oil, with officials discussing setting it at around $60 a barrel as the group rushes to complete the plan, according to people familiar with the talks.
The price cap, which the people said could still be set as high as $70, is at the center of the West’s efforts to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The Group of Seven advanced democracies and Australia plan to begin enforcing the price cap on Dec. 5 after struggling to craft its details this fall.
Ambassadors from the 27 European Union member states are scheduled to meet Wednesday, when they will try to agree on a price. The bloc needs a unanimous agreement on the price for it to take effect and diplomats warned that may prove difficult to achieve quickly. The G-7 is aiming to approve the cap soon after the EU.
The aim of the plan, which was pushed hard by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, is to crimp Russian energy exports revenue while avoiding a surge in oil prices.
Under the program, the G-7, EU and Australia would ban the provision of maritime services for shipments of Russian oil unless the oil is sold below the price cap. The Western countries are hoping to take advantage of their control of much of the world’s maritime insurance, financing and shipping services to dictate the terms of Russia’s seaborne oil sales.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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