ICE plans to launch ADNOC's Murban oil futures early in 2021

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Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said on Monday it planned to launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (IFAD) and trading in Murban futures contracts late in the first quarter of 2021.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said last year its flagship Murban crude would be traded on a new local exchange, IFAD, that would be owned by Abu Dhabi, several oil firms and ICE, the home to trading in Brent crude.


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“ICE Murban Futures will be a physically delivered contract with delivery at Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a free on board (FOB) basis,” ICE said in a statement.

The contract “will be complemented with a range of cash settled derivatives which IFAD plan to launch for day one of trading,” it added.

The new contract will create an alternative benchmark to the most commonly used Middle East standard, the Dubai/Oman benchmark operated by the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) and traded on CME's electronic platform.

ICE had said it wanted to launch the new IFAD exchange in the first half of 2020 to host the Murban grade but the plan was delayed pending regulatory and clearance approvals amid current uncertain market conditions.

Companies that agreed to be partners in the exchange include BP, Total, Inpex, Vitol, Shell, Petrochina, Korea's GS Caltex, Japan's JXTG and Thailand's PTT.

Output of Murban light crude is about 1.6 million to 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd). The UAE has traditionally sold oil directly to consumers, mainly in Asia, based on retroactive pricing rather than forward pricing used by oil producers Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

The UAE, the third biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, pumps about 2.5 million to 3 million bpd, mostly produced by ADNOC.

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