19 September 2018

Global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus is launching three new price assessments starting 19 September for crude delivered to northern China’s Shandong province. They are the first assessments by any international price reporting agency to be based on actual transactions for crude delivered to China.

China is the world’s largest crude oil importer, and around a third of its imports end up in Shandong province, home to 3.6mn b/d of independent refining capacity. China’s central government blocked independent refiners from the seaborne market, until its mid-2015 reforms gave them access to imports. Since then, demand from China’s independent sector has grown rapidly, with over 1mn b/d of a diverse range of crude grades delivered to the province on a spot basis.

The new Argus assessments track 300,000-400,000 b/d of trade in the most liquid grades to ports around the city of Qingdao — Russian ESPO Blend, Brazilian Lula, and Congolese Djeno.

Shandong is the main destination for the more than 600,000 b/d of ESPO Blend that Russia exports from the Pacific coast port of Kozmino. Argus already produces a price assessment at the export terminal, and the new delivered China assessment will allow the market to track prices from sale to purchase.

China is also the largest, single destination for Brazil’s fast-growing crude exports of 950,000 b/d, for which no independently assessed price reference has existed until now. China is the main destination for west African crude exports, and Argus’ new price assessments will bring transparency to refiner demand as cargoes begin trading at their point of origin.

These assessments build on more than a decade of Argus’ on-the-ground analysis of supply, demand and market trends in China and a 50-year history in energy price reporting.

“Providing visibility into this opaque market will allow trade between China and Brazil, Russia and west Africa to develop from spot into term contracts, where a reliable and acceptable price reference is vital,” Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said.

Prices will be available in the Argus Crude daily market reporting service and Argus China Petroleum monthly service.

About Argus Media

Argus is an independent media organisation with almost 1,100 staff. It is headquartered in London and has 26 offices in the world’s principal commodity trading and production centres. Argus produces price assessments and analysis of international energy and other commodity markets and offers bespoke consulting services and industry-leading conferences.

Companies in 140 countries around the world use Argus data to index physical trade and as benchmarks in financial derivative markets as well as for analysis and planning purposes.

Argus was founded in 1970 and is a privately held UK-registered company. It is owned by employee shareholders, global growth equity firm General Atlantic and Hg, the specialist software and technology services investor.

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