The ARGUS North Sea Dated crude price assessment
The North Sea crude market is the home of Brent crude and the complex system of derivatives that have grown around it, which together set a price benchmark for much of the crude traded around the world and underpin the price levels of many other commodities.
The production volume and trade liquidity of the Brent basket, which currently includes North Sea grades Brent, Forties, Oseberg, Ekofisk and Troll (BFOET), have declined. This has fuelled concerns about the Brent benchmark’s fitness for purpose and led to calls for more crude to be added to the basket. To illuminate the options available to the market, Argus offers three varieties of a North Sea Dated assessment.
The Argus North Sea Dated price assessment (PA code 0001723) reflects the traditional basket comprised of five North Sea grades: Brent, Forties, Oseberg, Ekofisk and Troll, assessed on a free-on-board (FOB) terminal basis. Argus market reporters triangulate the prices of these physical crudes with contracts for difference (CFDs) and forward contracts to come to the Argus North Sea Dated price.
This is the benchmark to which Argus adds individual grade differentials to calculate many of its outright crude price assessments in the Atlantic basin and beyond.
The New North Sea Dated price assessment (PA code 0025857) includes the price of WTI delivered to Rotterdam, netted back to a virtual North Sea FOB price, as well as the BFOET grades. Launched in February 2019 at the request of market participants, it shows how the North Sea benchmark could perform if crude from outside of Europe were included in the pricing basket.
The North Sea Dated + Johan Sverdrup price assessment (PA code 0033119) adds Norwegian grade Johan Sverdrup – with appropriate adjustments for its differing quality – to the BFOET basket. Launched in September 2021, also in response to market demand, this price shows how additional volume and liquidity can be added to the benchmark basket from the regional pool of crudes.
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Advantages of the ARGUS North Sea Dated crude price assessment
Argus methodology is always designed to reflect market practice. These assessments have evolved over time to incorporate market developments and participants have had input into that process through regular engagement and formal consultations. They are intended to capture maximum market liquidity and transparency. Any changes are announced well in advance.
With the sharply divergent views about how the North Sea Dated benchmark should be bolstered with additional grades of crude to sustain it as a market reflective and acceptable instrument, Argus continuously consults widely on the various options and welcomes constructive dialogue.
The Argus Crude methodology is publicly available and always current. Please follow this link to the latest version of this document, in which the Argus North Sea Dated assessment and all of our other crude assessments are explained. Argus editorial and business development staff are also available to answer specific queries on methodology.
The Argus North Sea Dated assessment is used by physical market participants, tax authorities, financial entities and international organisations as a benchmark or reference for the price of North Sea crude, against which other grades of crude around the world can be measured.
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