RIYADH: Oil prices fell 2 percent on Friday in thin market liquidity, closing a week marked by worries about Chinese demand and haggling over a Western price cap on Russian oil.
Brent crude futures settled down $1.71, or 2 percent, to trade at $83.63 a barrel, having retraced some earlier gains.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $1.66, or 2.1 percent, at $76.28 a barrel.
Ukraine wants lower cap on Russian oil, at $30-$40 per barrel
The price for Russian seaborne oil should be capped at between $30 and $40 per barrel, lower than the level that the Group of Seven nations has proposed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday.
EU governments, seeking to curb Moscow’s ability to fund the Ukraine war without causing an oil supply shock, are split over a G7 push that the cap be set at $65 to $70 per barrel. It is due to enter into force on Dec. 5.
“The limit that is being considered today — about $60 — I think this is an artificial limit,” said Zelensky, who has consistently pushed allies to impose tougher sanctions of all types against Russia.
“We would like the sanctions to be very effective in this fight, so that the limit is at the level of $30-$40, so Russia feels them (the sanctions),” he told a news conference.
The idea of the cap is to prohibit shipping, insurance and reinsurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price set by the G7 and its allies.
Poland, Estonia and Lithuania are pushing for a much lower cap than $65-70 per barrel while Greece, Cyprus and Malta want a higher cap.
OPEC+ meeting to take into account market conditions: Iraq
The meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, in December will take into account the condition and balance of the market, Iraq’s state news agency quoted Saadoun Mohsen, a senior official at the country’s state oil marketer SOMO, as saying on Saturday.
OPEC+’s October decision to reduce production by two million barrels per day bpd had played an important role in stabilizing global markets, Saadoun, who serves as Iraq’s delegate to OPEC, said.
He said that the cut hadn’t reduced Iraq’s exports.
Iraq’s current production represents 11 percent of the group’s total output of 43 million bpd, he said, adding that Iraq expects a crude price range of at least $85-95 next year.
OPEC+, which includes members of the OPEC+ led by Russia, will hold its next meeting in Vienna on Dec. 4.
Oil markets are witnessing “severe fluctuations” due to the repercussions of the pandemic, a slowing global economy and the war in Ukraine, the Iraqi official said, making it harder to ensure price stability.
(With input from Reuters)