Statoil Backs New Basis for Pricing Crude
Brent reference crude, which provides the basis for determining the price of much of the crude oil sold on the spot market, has been expanded to include two new types of oil. Crude oil from the Brent field in the UK sector of the North Sea has acted as the oil pricing benchmark since the middle of the 1980s. Oil from the Forties and Oseberg fields, in the British and Norwegian sectors respectively, is now being included in the basis for price determination.
According to Gunnar Sletvold, vice president for crude sales in Statoil, this is a positive change. "This means that the daily price will be determined based on a larger volume of crude," explains Mr. Sletvold. "For Statoil which is a significant player in the market, it is important that pricing is predictable and as representative as possible." He adds that a larger reference volume will make it more difficult for individual players to manipulate the market.
Most of the crude sold on the world spot market is priced according to Brent crude. The Brent field has seen a decline in output in recent years, and the Forties and Oseberg crude will strengthen the basis for setting the price.
Trading is already underway with the new reference crude, which will retain the Brent name.