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ASCI futures contract records first transaction

Houston, 19 April 2011

The Argus Sour Crude Index (“ASCI”) futures contract recorded its first trade on the CME on Friday 15 April, with a total of 100,000 bl being traded for the May 2011 calendar month.

The ASCI price, launched by international energy pricing agency Argus in May 2009, is used by Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Petroleum and Iraq’s Somo to price all their exports to US customers. The ASCI price is a volume-weighted average of all daily physical transactions for Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green Canyon sour crudes.

Interest in the ASCI price has been growing among other sellers and buyers in the US as the benchmark has proven to be a highly effective pricing tool representing sour crude at the US Gulf Coast.

“The recent divergence between the price of the WTI benchmark and the price of crude in the international markets has highlighted the need for US Gulf coast benchmarks,” said Adrian Binks, Argus chairman and chief executive.

Financial trade in Argus light sweet LLS crude swaps has also surged with open interest on CME Clearport reaching over 17,000 lots.

“A liquid sweet contract like LLS paired with a liquid ASCI contract could make a powerful combination for hedging the value of crude at the US Gulf coast,” said Binks.

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