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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC offers more guidance on price caps for Russian petroleum

Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC OFAC Designations OFAC Sanctions Russia Ukraine Invasion

Financial Crimes

On February 3, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published additional guidance on the implementation of the price cap policy for crude oil and petroleum products of Russian Federation origin. As previously covered by InfoBytes, last November, OFAC published a Determination Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071 stating that the prohibitions of E.O. 14071 apply to U.S. persons providing covered services (including (i) trading/commodities brokering; (ii) financing; (iii) shipping; (iv) insurance, including reinsurance and protection and indemnity; (v) flagging; and (vi) customs brokering) as they relate to the maritime transport of Russian Federation crude oil, provided, however, that such covered services are authorized if the Russian oil is purchased at or below the price cap.

The new determination—published pursuant to section 1(a)(ii), 1(b), and 5 of E.O. 14071—establishes that, effective February 5, the price cap on discount to crude petroleum products of Russian Federation origin will be $45 per barrel, and the price cap on premium to crude petroleum products of Russian Federation origin will be $ 100 per barrel. OFAC also published another determination, which outlines prohibitions on certain categories of services as they relate to the maritime transportation of petroleum products of Russian Federation origin, including trading/commodities brokering, financing, shipping, insurance, flagging, and customs brokering. Specifically, unless authorized by law or licensed or otherwise authorized by OFAC, “the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any of the Covered Services to any person located in the Russian Federation” are prohibited. These determinations do not authorize transactions otherwise prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations.

In conjunction with these determinations, OFAC also published additional guidance, as well as Russia-related General Licenses 56A and 57A.

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen applauded the G7’s price cap announcement, stating that the agreement helps limit Russia’s key revenue generator for funding its war against Ukraine, while promoting stable global energy markets.