August 7, 2023

EU updates FAQs related to Oil Imports and the Oil Price Cap

The European Commission recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions related to Oil Imports and, in particular, Article 3m and Article 3n of Council Regulation 269/2014, which prohibits the import of Russia-origin crude oil or petroleum products into the EU via pipeline or maritime transport.  The Oil Import FAQ was last updated on August 2, 2023 to clarify the prohibitions on ship-to-ship transfers (“STS”) of Russian oil in EU territorial waters.  In the FAQ, the Commission confirms that STS of Russian oil are prohibited in EU territorial waters, internal waters and ports of Member States.  The FAQ also confirms that EU sanctions apply throughout the EU territory, including its territorial waters, and provides that vessels performing such transfers of Russian oil in the EEZ of a Member State or within 12 nautical miles of its coast must notify the relevant Member State or port access will be prohibited.

On August 2, 2023, the Commission also updated the Oil Price Cap FAQ to clarify the types of oil covered by the price cap and the possible application of Article 3n of Council Regulation 833/2014 to non-Russian oil cargo that is mixed with Russian oil.  According to the FAQ, if Russian oil is transported together and mixed with non-Russian oil, the oil is subject to the price cap and an attestation will need to be provided for the proportion of Russian oil, if possible.  However, an attestation will be needed for the whole shipment if it is not possible to determine the proportion of Russian oil.  The FAQ also provides that the price cap applies to Russian petroleum products transported and mixed with non-Russian petroleum products; however, in this case, an attestation must be provided for the whole shipment.  The FAQ also provides that crude oil or petroleum products of non-Russian origin that contain a de minimis amount of Russia crude oil left over from a container or tank are not considered to be Russian origin products and are, therefore, not subject to the price cap.