Oil Updates — Crude dips; US urges caution on low-quoted Russian oil prices 

RIYADH: Oil prices dipped in Asia trade on Thursday as uncertainty lingered ahead of Sunday’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its allies, known as OPEC+, though easing COVID-19 curbs at the world’s top crude importer China capped price declines. 

Brent crude futures fell 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $86.72 per barrel by 0430 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures eased 17 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $80.38. 

US urges caution on low-quoted Russian oil prices as EU debates price cap 

The Biden administration broke its silence on Wednesday on EU deliberations over a $65-70 per barrel Russian oil price cap on Wednesday, warning far-lower prices cited for some Russian Urals crude shipments should be approached with caution. 

A US official told Reuters that recently quoted Urals prices in the $52-a-barrel range do not represent broader pricing in a very opaque market. 

The US Treasury has remained silent over the past week as EU diplomats have struggled to reach a consensus on a price cap level initially proposed in the $65-70 a barrel range. 

Some countries including Poland, Lithuania and Estonia have pushed for a far lower $30-a-barrel price limit, arguing this is closer to Russia’s cost of production and that the West needs to squeeze Moscow’s revenues harder. 

But the US official’s comments, which signal growing concern over the EU deliberations, come just five days before an embargo on Russian crude imports is set to be phased in. 

Lower quoted market prices could erode support for a cap in the $60-70 range. The US official cited concerns over using prices that represent a subset of Russian oil sales. 

Economic headwinds set to push oil below $100 in 2023: Poll 

Brent oil prices will hold above the $100 level for the rest of 2022 as an impending EU ban on Russian oil sparks uncertainty over supply, but will tick lower next year as economic concerns prevail, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. 

A survey of 38 economists and analysts forecast benchmark Brent crude would average $100.50 a barrel this year, and $93.65 in 2023, slightly lower than October’s $101.10 and $95.74 consensus, respectively. 

US crude was forecast to average $95.56 a barrel in 2022 and $87.80 next year. 

(With input from Reuters)