LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The Intercontinental Exchange has signed memorandums of understanding with Chevron, Trafigura and Occidental Petroleum to use the new Murban oil futures contract as a pricing benchmark for U.S. crude sales to Asia, the president of ICE Futures Europe said.
ICE said on Tuesday it planned to launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi and trading in Murban crude oil futures contracts on March 29.
Murban futures will be a physically delivered contract with delivery at Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates on a free on board basis, complemented by a range of cash settled derivatives, the statement said.
“We’re starting to see interest from not just Middle East crude exporters to Asia but we’re seeing other firms, particularly those exporting light sweet crude pay attention,” Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, told the ADIPEC conference on Tuesday.
“We’ve reached agreement with three key U.S. exporters … that are exploring the use of Murban to export U.S. barrels.”
The new contract will create an alternative benchmark to the most commonly used Middle East standard, the Dubai/Oman benchmarks operated by S&P Global Platts and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
Fred Forthuber, president Oxy Energy Services, one of the largest exporters of U.S. crude to Asia, said: “Murban moving to forward-looking pricing, as a futures contract, is another great step in the evolution of the oil market.”
Daniel Yuen, Head of Crude Asia for Trafigura, said: “The Murban Futures Contract is a positive development in enhancing transparency for oil markets.”
Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Louise Heavens/Edmund Blair/Jane Merriman