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ICE on track for March 29 launch of Murban futures contract: executive


Trading hours to be same as global benchmarks

Approvals secured from several jurisdictions

Launch delayed from 2020 due to pandemic

Dubai — The Intercontinental Exchange has received regulatory approvals from several jurisdictions, including the Bank of England and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to support its launch of a Murban futures contract on an Abu Dhabi-based exchange, an official said Jan. 13.

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The exchange is still planning to begin trading on the contract, underpinned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.'s flagship Murban crude grade, on March 29, Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, told the Gulf Intelligence Global UAE Energy Forum.

"The Murban contract will track the same trading hours and trading calendar as the other global benchmarks," Williams said.

ICE and ADNOC, the UAE's biggest energy producer, announced plans to start a derivatives trading platform in November 2019, to be hosted on the new ICE Futures Abu Dhabi exchange, in partnership with nine international energy companies. But plans were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

IFAD will be based in Abu Dhabi Global Market, the UAE's capital international financial free zone.

ADNOC and ICE are partnering with BP, GS Caltex, Inpex, ENEOS, PetroChina, PTT, Shell, Total and Vitol to launch IFAD. The breakdown of shareholding has not been disclosed.

The ICE Murban futures will be complemented with a range of cash settled derivatives, including outright, differential and crack differentials against Brent, WTI, gasoil and naphtha among others, as well as inter-commodity spreads, which are planned to launch alongside Murban futures, ICE has said.

Regulatory approvals

ICE has signed memorandums of understanding with Chevron, Trafigura and Occidental to explore using Murban futures to price US crude oil heading to Asia, ICE said Nov. 10.

In addition to UK and Singapore, ICE has received regulatory approvals from US and Swiss banking authorities to launch the contract, Williams said.

Murban is ADNOC's largest crude by volume, with a production capacity of about 2 million b/d. ADNOC's other crude grades are Upper Zakum, Das and Umm Lulu.

Murban will be the second physically delivered futures contracts traded on a regional exchange after Dubai Mercantile Exchange's Oman crude futures.

It is also a deliverable grade in the S&P Global Platts benchmark Dubai and Oman crude assessments.

BP (10%), Total (10%), INPEX (5%) and GS Caltex (3%) are equity shareholders in ADNOC Onshore, which produces the Murban grade with ADNOC retaining a 60% stake in the concession. The other ADNOC Onshore partners are CNPC (8%) and ZhenHua Oil (4%).

The Murban futures contract is part of an ADNOC marketing pivot.

ADNOC Trading, a new unit focused on trading oil, started operations in September in ADGM. ADNOC Global Trading, an ADNOC joint venture with OMV and Eni focused on trading of refined products, kicked off operations also in ADGM in December.