As of May 2023, WTI is included in the Brent complex. But it is not just another crude in the basket. Through its sheer volume, it dwarfs the other component grades that make up the Brent benchmark, the global reference point for oil. For this reason, understanding WTI pricing is now imperative for anyone involved in global crude oil markets.
This is where Argus comes in. Argus WTI assessments at Midland and Houston have long been the price benchmark for North American crude, and no one knows this market better. It's no wonder the majority of the US market already chooses Argus for crude price assessments. Shouldn't you? Learn more in this infographic.
Argus WTI price solutions that fit your needs
The addition of Midland WTI to the Brent basket raises the question of whether Brent is essentially becoming a derivative of the US benchmark. For several years, the Argus CIF Rotterdam WTI price has been included in an alternative Brent basket: “New North Sea Dated” and has indicated that Midland WTI would often set the European benchmark.
Argus WTI assessments at Midland and Houston are assessed as differentials to the Nymex light sweet crude futures contract, the world’s most actively traded oil future. These prices are the standard physical benchmarks for US crude and the settlement indexes for a robust derivatives market. They are the clear choice for traders seeking to manage WTI positions in the physical and paper markets. Indeed Argus WTI Houston and Argus WTI Midland collectively form the world's third-largest crude oil derivatives market, after Nymex light sweet and ICE Brent. The contracts are actively traded over the counter and cleared by oil brokers through exchanges like CME and ICE.
The pipeline nature of the USGC market means there are many deal iterations, resulting in high liquidity. As a pricing centre, the USGC now offers unrivalled liquidity, granularity, and transparency, as it is regularly shipped all around the globe. Gulf Coast markets boast broad participation, with around 50 companies active in the physical Midland WTI market and 40 in the Houston market.
The Argus Advantage
Unrivalled methodologyArgus reports the US Gulf coast pipeline market the way it trades rather than forcing it into a one-size-fits-all methodological approach. Whereas crude in the rest of the world is transported generally by water, the WTI Houston and Midland markets are different, and oil travels first by pipeline and transacts in small, rateable volumes daily. Argus publishes volume-weighted average indexes for each assessed grade and location using reported deals done and includes the underlying deals themselves as well. We provide our subscribers with accuracy and convenience, as well as a transparent audit trail.
Adaptable, impactful techniqueArgus has reported waterborne cargo prices for Midland WTI for several years on both FOB USGC and delivered Europe and Asia bases. As the market has developed, so has our approach. We recently augmented our monthly price for FOB Midland WTI with reporting three intramonth periods, to better reflect market structure and how cargoes are traded.
An all-in-one view of your dataHourly snapshots of the WTI Midland and WTI Houston markets can be viewed via the Argus Crude Market Ticker, accessible via CME Direct. And now, for the first time, Argus WTI Midland and Houston futures can be traded directly on-screen via CME Direct, including by entities that do not retain a cash market broker.
The Argus Crude service is your must-have source of daily news, prices and analysis for well over 100 internationally-traded crude streams. With nearly 50 years of history in crude oil market reporting and a robust methodology that reflects real trading behaviour, the Argus Crude service is a vital daily tool that brings clarity to often opaque markets. It also provides access to key industry benchmarks and indexes, including WTI Houston, WTI Midland, the Argus Sour Crude Index (ASCI), North Sea Dated and Argus Brent Sour.
Argus Americas Crude
The Argus Americas Crude service provides market information and price transparency to the rapidly growing US Gulf coast markets as well as to markets in the US midcontinent, US west coast, Canada, South America and other pricing centres in the Americas. Many of the price assessments in the Argus Americas Crude product are set by a volume-weighted average of deals done, and those deals are printed in tables within the report each business day.
Argus Crude and Refined Products Outlook
Stay ahead of the curve with the Argus Crude and Refined Products Outlook service — a monthly service forecasting prices for key crude grades, regional benchmarks and oil products up to 24 months into the future. With accompanying expert analysis of key trends in each market, the Argus Crude and Refined Products Outlook service is your independent source of intelligence to aid planning and decision making.
Argus Global Markets
The Argus Global Markets service is a trusted and reliable source of analysis and insight for commodity market professionals who need to understand what is driving oil prices, and what might happen next. Aimed at busy decision-makers who need to know what is going on in crude and products but do not have the time to track markets day-by-day, Argus Global Markets provides in-depth weekly analysis and thought-leading opinion pieces on the big issues affecting oil markets.
As the global crude market evolves following the addition of WTI into the Brent pricing basket our crude oil experts will be releasing a regular series of video commentaries.
The videos in this playlist include:
- Karl Kleemeier, Head of Asia, talks about the WTI’s trajectory on the cusp of WTI being included in the Brent basket and what it means for Asia.
- Euan Craik, President Petroleum Markets, speaks with James Gooder, VP Crude, to discuss the growth of WTI and the merger with Brent. In a few short years, WTI has gone from being a domestic US feedstock to one of the world’s most important grades of oil, both in supply and in pricing.
- Join Argus’ SVP for North America, Matt Oatway, and VP for Crude Business Development, Jeff Kralowetz, for a quick update on the remarkable evolution of the Midland WTI market. You will learn what ‘Midland WTI’ means, and whether it is true that physical trades of Midland WTI at Midland and Houston exceed the combined traded volume of all BFOET grades in the North Sea. You’ll also hear why Argus has started publishing assessments for 10-day loading periods for Midland WTI cargoes at docks on Texas’ Gulf coast, and learn the extent of financial open interest on contracts settled using Argus Midland WTI assessments.