- A barrel of Urals crude sold for $73.24 from mid-April to mid-May, about 32% below Brent crude oil futures over the same period.
- Urals typically trades below Brent crude, but the current gap is wider than usual.
- The discount versus Brent could expand further after the EU agreed Tuesday to a partial ban on Russian oil.
Russian oil has been selling at a steep discount compared to the global benchmark, and the discount could widen further as Europe tightens sanctions on Moscow for its war on Ukraine.
Russia’s Finance Ministry said a barrel of Urals, the country’s primary export blend, sold for $73.24 from mid-April to mid-May, about 32% below Brent crude oil futures over the same period, according to Bloomberg.
Urals typically trades below Brent crude, but the current gap is wider than usual with the prices going in opposite directions.
Urals prices tumbled 23% between mid-February to mid-March, according to Finance Ministry data. Meanwhile, Brent rose about 3% during that time and has continued to climb.
Russian oil could see its discount versus Brent expand further. The European Union agreed Tuesday to a partial ban on Russian oil by the end of 2022, joining global powers in condemning the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine.
In addition, the latest EU sanctions package also includes a ban on insurance for ship carrying Russian oil, threatening to cut off flows via sea channels as Moscow increasingly turns to Asia to unload crude that Western customers have shunned.