In the late 1970s, Norwegian and U.K. North Sea oil production started to develop and become more commercialized; as a result, physical oil producers and refiners needed a mechanism to protect against future price movements. In response to this rising demand, the Brent futures contract was developed in 1988 by the oil industry in consultation with the International Petroleum Exchange, which is today ICE Futures Europe.
As a waterborne oil supply that’s transported to various areas of the world, Brent quickly became the global price benchmark for crude oil. Since the contract launched over 25 years ago, we’ve worked closely with core stakeholders to ensure they have continued access to effective mechanisms for hedging oil price risk in changing market dynamics. The result of this work includes exponential growth in the Brent contract, making it the largest oil futures contract in history, expanding the Brent complex to include a family of more than 400 related Brent-based hedging instruments, and making many of the contracts clearable ahead of regulatory mandates.
Crude oil is one of the most widely used and actively traded commodities in the world. Combine that with oil being the dominant energy story in the news, it’s no surprise that the spotlight is on ICE Brent.
Up to two thirds of the world’s oil is priced relative to the ICE Brent complex, which means traders across 5 continents look to ICE Brent for the future price of the barrel, and that is why they rely on ICE’s global crude markets.
Brent sits at the centre of the world’s oil markets. Click on the links below to access just some of the hundreds of oil products related to Brent.
As part of our connection to global oil markets and our stewardship role for the Brent oil complex specifically, ICE Futures Europe is the benchmark administrator for the Brent Index. We provide transparent, reliable insight into the Brent benchmark to help market participants make informed decisions based on accurate information.
The highly liquid ICE oil markets continue to attract a wide range of users, from commercial participants and producers to asset managers and pension funds.
Entities with exposure to the underlying physical market for the commodity which use the futures market to hedge the risks associated with such exposure. “Commercial” participants. Examples would include oil exploration and drilling firms, specialist commodity trading firms with physical exposures, producers, exporters/importers, coffee roasters, cocoa processors, sugar refiners, food and confectionary
Entities dealing primarily in “swap” or other Over The Counter (“OTC”) transactions in the commodity in question and who use the futures market to hedge this exposure. Examples would include investment banks and other complex financial institutions
Entities managing futures trading on behalf of clients; investment firms. Examples include hedge funds, pension funds, registered US commodity trading advisors or commodity pool operators.
Every other reportable trader. Examples would include proprietary (multi-asset) trading houses, algorithmic traders and local traders.
This is a balancing figure and consists of the total reportable long, short and spreading positions subtracted from the overall open interest figure for the commodity.
The ICE Brent futures contract is one of the most liquid futures in the world, offering traders:
We also provide a range of Brent options contracts, which have enjoyed 6 consecutive years of record growth, as well as clearing of Asian-style, European-style and Calendar Spread Options for Brent and WTI/Brent Spread Options.
For more information on the ICE oil futures and options markets and using margin offsets to lower your initial margin costsCONTACT US