Estonian FM: Russian oil products price cap could be introduced in February

Gas prices.
Gas prices. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) on Thursday said western countries are discussing the introduction of a price cap on Russian oil products in February. It is still too early to speculate on the exact limit.

The cap will include products such as diesel fuel and fuel oil, the minister said.

An introductory date of early February has been put forward, with Reinslau highlighting Feburary 5.

"This is also when the full pan-European sanction on Russian oil and oil products will enter into force in parallel, on a general principle," he said.

Exactly what the price will be is not yet known. Estonia wants it to be set as low as possible.

Urmas Reinsalu Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government still believes the existing $60 per-barrel price cap for Russian crude oil is too high.

"It is clear that an arbitrary number will be put forward at the G7 level and there will be a debate about what that number is, which the European Union will go along with. If we were talking about $60 for oil, that number is twice as low for Russian companies to cut off revenues," the minister said.

The move will not affect the European market, Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

SEB Bank's economic analyst Mihkel Nestor said fuel sellers are not concerned.

"In the case of diesel in particular, Russia has previously been singled out as an important contributor to the European market. But there has been enough time for local fuel retailers to adapt to the situation to be able to replace Russian diesel. Today, there is no sign of any panic on the market that diesel will run out as a result," he told AK.

Mihkel Nestor Source: ERR

It is not yet known what Russian oil producers plan to do next. Production could be cut or more sold on Asian markets.

"Today, the price was around $47 a barrel. For more efficient production sites, it has been said that around $15 to $20 could be the break-even point, which is still well above this price level," Nestor said.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

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