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Platts Introduces Quality Premiums to Boost Liquidity of World's North Sea Brent Oil Benchmark

2013-03-15 14:05 ET - News Release

Promotes Delivery of Higher Quality Oseberg and Ekofisk Crude Oils

LONDON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and publisher of benchmark price references, today announced that it is enhancing the methodology for its Dated Brent price assessment, as part of ongoing efforts to boost liquidity and ensure the long-term viability of one of the world's most important oil benchmarks.

Under its updated methodology, Platts will introduce Quality Premiums for Oseberg and Ekofisk crude oil delivered in its North Sea Dated Brent, cash Brent (BFOE*) and related assessment processes for cargoes loading from June 2013 onwards. Quality Premiums are to be paid by buyer to seller for the nomination and delivery of Oseberg or Ekofisk into a physical BFOE transaction concluded during the Platts Market-on-Close assessment process.

"The introduction of Quality Premiums offers an incentive for more deliveries of Oseberg and Ekofisk, and thus has the potential to further gird the supply of oil underpinning the BFOE complex and the Dated Brent price assessment," said Dave Ernsberger, Platts global editorial director, oil.

"Increasingly, much market attention is being put to the issue of new streams being blended into established benchmark grades," said Jorge Montepeque, Platts global editorial director, market reporting.  "As the trend of blending expands, as we believe it will, it becomes even more important that price assessment processes integrate the use of Quality Premiums and De-escalators to best account for slight, but not insignificant, variances in crude oil quality and best assure that assessments reflect true market value."

Today's announcement followed constructive dialogue with oil market participants during the February 18 to March 10 formal comment period, preceded by more than 18 months of informal market consultation.

In its market engagement, Platts found widespread support for a mechanism that would support the more frequent delivery of higher quality crude oils being delivered into the benchmark. Dated Brent is used in spot and long-term contracts to value around 60% of the 90 million barrels of crude oil produced in global oil markets each day.

"We welcomed the widespread support of quality premiums and thoroughly considered the detailed suggestions we received on possible formulas for such premiums," said Dan Tanz, Platts vice president, editorial. "It was important for us to be inclusive of broad market opinion and not favour any one group of market participants. We believe the approach we announced today best serves the overall needs of the marketplace."

More information is available in today's subscriber note and full details are available in an FAQ document, both available on the Platts website.

The introduction of Quality Premiums is the latest in a series of adaptations Platts has made to maintain the integrity of the Dated Brent price assessment.  In early 2012, Platts amended the date range in its daily Platts Dated Brent price assessment to 10-25 days forward from 10-21 days forward, which allowed the assessment to potentially capture more than 30% of additional supply.

Platts remains in active dialogue on the prospect of other prospective enhancements for the long-term integrity of the Dated Brent benchmark.  More information on the Dated Brent benchmark can be found on this Platts.com benchmark page.

* BFOE is the name used for the Brent-Forties-Oseberg-Ekofisk oil complex.

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil,natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets.  A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies: The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), a financial intelligence and education company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November 2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company's leading brands will include: Standard & Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.


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