The exchange thatâ€™s home to Brent crude futures hired a consultant to discuss with traders, banks and other market participants measures to revamp how North Sea oil prices are calculated.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) hired Energex Partners, founded by former Morgan Stanley oil traders, to discuss potential changes to the multi-layered North Sea market that includes both physical and financial benchmarks. Given that such reviews are normally led by energy and commodity price publisher S&P Global Platts, the move suggests ICE is taking a more proactive role in shaping the mechanisms that underpin its biggest energy contract.
Brent crude futures compete with West Texas Intermediate as the worldâ€™s most-traded oil contracts, with the equivalent of billions of barrels normally held at any one time. Theyâ€™re also intertwined with the work of Platts, whose daily assessments are used to benchmark millions of barrels of trades every day. The publisherâ€™s key North Sea price is based on four grades: Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk. â€œThe work we are doing with Energex Partners is forward looking and recognizes that the benchmark needs to continue to evolve,â€ David Peniket, the president of ICE Futures Europe, said in an interview. â€œOver time, this is likely to mean broadening out to bring in crude produced outside the North Sea region.â€