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U.S. grants exception for Japan to buy Russian oil above $60 a barrel cap

As the EU continues to shift away from Russian energy dependence, one Western ally has been given an exception to the agreed upon price cap.

Published: April 3, 2023 3:31pm

Updated: April 4, 2023 11:11am

Japan will reportedly keep purchasing Russian oil above the $60-per-barrel price limit, after the U.S. agreed to grant the Asian country an exception.

Previously, the United States had partnered with European allies to impose a $60 limit on Russian crude oil, following the country’s invasion into Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, given Japan’s heavy reliance on imports to meet its energy needs, the nation has since resumed purchasing Russian oil for around $70 per barrel, making them the only G-7 nation breaking the price cap.

Just two months into this year, Japan had purchased nearly $52 million of Russian oil at the roughly $70-a-barrel mark, which equals about 748,000 barrels of crude oil.

While the $60 cap allowed non-EU countries to still import oil from Russia, shipping, insurance and reinsurance companies were heavily restricted from handling Russian oil cargoes, unless the crude was purchased under the cap limit. 

The news comes at the same time OPEC+ announced plans to slash oil production by an additional 1.16 million barrels per day, which Saudi Arabia called a "precautionary measure aimed at supporting the stability of the oil market,” and which could weaken the European Unions de facto strike on Russian energy via the agreed upon price imposition.

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