Russian ministers continue to insist that the country won’t sell oil to anyone supporting the arrangement. But all the nations that have signed up to the cap have also imposed their own import bans, so they won’t be buying anyway.
Other countries, like China, India and Turkey, are free to continue negotiating purchases with Russian companies. If those deals are done at prices below $60 a barrel, then the crude can be carried on European ships covered by international insurance and facilitated by European banks, brokers and other service providers. If they aren’t, buyers and sellers will have to make other shipping arrangements.
Without the price cap, none of Russia’s crude exports could be carried on European tankers, nor could any UK or European Union companies provide insurance, financing or any other service to the vessels used. And that would disrupt flows.
Will any crude be sold at a price below the cap? Almost certainly, because the threshold has been set above the price that Russian crude is already fetching at its Baltic export terminals.
That ought to keep Russian oil flowing, which is what the US sponsors of the cap want. Just don’t expect anyone else to be happy about it.