Still, skepticism about the likely efficacy of the measures stems in part from the United States and European countries mandating European shippers and insurers to enforce it by declining to handle cargoes priced above the $60-a-barrel level.
For starters, analysts say, data about pricing Russian oil has become scarce in recent months. Few if any trades are reported, and prices quoted in the market “are mostly based on hearsay,” said Viktor Katona, an analyst at Kpler, a research firm that tracks shipping.
Russia has said it will not accept a price cap and has threatened to cut off supplies to countries that comply with the arrangement. If Russia followed through on such steps and restricted oil as it has natural gas flows to Europe, it could wreak havoc in the oil market markets.
“These measures will undoubtedly have an impact on the stability of the global energy market,” Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said on Monday, according to Tass, the Russian state-run news agency, referring to the embargo and price cap.
Analysts say that Russia has been building a so-called shadow fleet of old tankers to export its oil and avoid the E.U. sanctions, but they doubt that it can assemble a large enough flotilla. If it can’t, Russia may need to begin closing down wells.
The G7 nations — the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan — have already mainly stopped buying Russian oil, so any problems with a decline in Russia’s exports risks damaging the economies of countries like China and India, big customers that have declined to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The looming embargo and the price cap were the chief reasons that OPEC and its allies, including Russia, decided on Sunday to leave their quotas for oil production unchanged. The group, known as OPEC Plus, appears to have decided that there was no reason to alter its policy amid the many economic uncertainties, including a stumbling economy in China and crippling inflation globally that are fueling fears of a recession.
Many analysts believe Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the producers’ group, is seeking a price of about $90 a barrel for Brent crude. The Saudis, according to market watchers, would probably cut production, regardless of protests from Ukraine and its allies, if prices fall significantly from that level.
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