WTI Midland is now the world’s largest freely traded grade of crude oil by output and volume. In December 2015, the US lifted a 40-year ban that had restricted exports of US crude overseas. Since the ban was lifted, export volumes have soared and US crude now makes its way to markets all over the world.
The meteoric rise of US crude on the global stage has made Permian basin crude WTI Midland the world’s most important grade and has put the US Gulf coast at the epicentre of global crude trade. Houston is the point of greatest optionality for crude oil. From Houston, crude can be refined in the world’s largest refining centre, moved domestically within the world’s largest oil demand hub, and exported to all corners of the globe. Price dictates these options, making the price at Houston the source of all key comparisons.
Light sweet WTI Midland is now firmly at the centre of price discovery for crude oil. It is a key component of Dated Brent and the global swing barrel, and European and Asian buyers are beginning to purchase crude on a WTI Houston basis. This crude has truly emerged as the heartbeat of the global crude system.
WTI and Argus, a deeply rooted relationship
For two decades Argus WTI assessments at Midland and Houston have been the standard physical benchmarks for US crude, as well as the settlement indexes for a robust derivatives market. These prices are assessed as differentials to the Argus WTI formula basis, based on the Nymex light sweet crude futures contract — one of the world’s most actively traded oil futures. They are the clear choice for trading companies seeking to manage WTI positions in the physical and paper markets.
Argus WTI Houston and Argus WTI Midland collectively form the basis of 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 such as CME and Ice.
Our rich, deep and trusted coverage of the US crude oil market is unrivalled. To make informed business decisions with confidence, you need Argus.
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 methodology. We publish volume-weighted average indexes for each assessed grade and location using reported deals done, and publish the underlying deals themselves. This provides our subscribers with accuracy and convenience, as well as a transparent audit trail.
An all-in-one view of your dataHourly snapshots of the WTI Midland and WTI Houston markets can be viewed on the Argus Crude Market Ticker, also accessible on CME Direct. And for the first time, Argus WTI Midland and Houston futures can be traded directly on-screen through CME Direct, including by entities that do not retain a cash market broker.
Innovation and responsivenessArgus has reported waterborne cargo prices for WTI Midland for several years on both fob US Gulf coast and delivered-Europe and Asia bases. As the market has developed, so has our approach. In November 2022, we augmented our rolling price for fob Midland WTI by reporting three intramonth periods, to better reflect market structure and the way cargoes are traded.
An expert reporting teamThe consistent and reliable precision of the Argus WTI Houston and Midland assessments is underpinned by the expertise of Argus’ North American editorial team. Our commitment to demystifying these complex markets to deliver an independent and transparent view of pricing is built on the strength of our relationships with the market. We have been surveying these pipeline markets for decades, meaning we understand the vital connections and nuances that exist.
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.
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.
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.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Crude Oil: All change in 2023In this white paper, we unpack the dynamic crude landscape; the inclusion of WTI Midland into the Brent basket; and the impact of these factors on financial institutions.
The Crude Report: WTI into Brent, two months inThe Brent benchmark, the world's premier oil price index, has undergone the biggest change in its near half-century history. Argus Crude editor Michael Carolan joins Crude VP James Gooder in the podcast to discuss how this change affects the price and what users need to watch to understand this new benchmark iteration.