(Bloomberg) -- European Union states debated whether to set a price cap as low as $62 a barrel on exports of Russian crude oil after several countries demanded a level that could put more pressure on Moscow, but the talks remain stuck, diplomats said.
Poland and the Baltic nations said the price level was still too high, according to the diplomats. Diplomats met Monday night to discuss the negotiations after they were suspended last week, but it’s unclear how quickly they can find agreement.
The EU originally proposed capping the price of Russian oil at $65 a barrel. But with Russia already selling its crude at a discount, the cap levels being debated are all higher than current market rates of around $52.
The group of countries pushing for a lower price also want to see a review mechanism added to the instrument for later price revisions, as well as a firmer plan on a new package of sanctions on Russia.
Read more: Russia’s Flagship Oil Falls Further Below Proposed EU Price Cap
Shipping nations, including Greece and Cyprus, have angled for a higher price for the cap. The oil cap has the dual aim of trying to keep Russian oil flowing while at the same time limiting Moscow’s revenues. One of the diplomats said Poland was now blocking an agreement.
Major new European sanctions kick in on Dec. 5, creating an urgency to get the price and other details buttoned down.
An EU agreement, which the bloc had hoped to secure last week, would pave the way for a broader Group of Seven deal. The plan would ban shipping and services needed to transport Russian oil, such as brokering, financial assistance and insurance, unless they are purchased below the agreed price threshold.
Most G-7 nations will stop importing Russian crude later this year. Similar restrictions, including a price cap, for other petroleum products are due in February.
The price cap idea was devised and promoted by the US Treasury Department. Asked about the status of the EU talks on Monday, US National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said “those discussions are going on in a pretty robust fashion” and “going well.”
“Our EU colleagues are working through the modalities of that right now, how that would be implemented, what level it’s going to be at,” Kirby said at a White House briefing. “I don’t think we believe there’s a pressure on us right now to get more involved than we already are.”
--With assistance from Jennifer Jacobs and Jordan Fabian.
(Updates with Kirby comment in final two paragraphs.)
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