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Letter from the Middle East: UAE unveils Murban benchmark

Pivot towards Asia paves the way for a new crude futures contract, offering an attractive alternative to long-established grades

The shifting tectonic plates of Mid-East Gulf oil do not move quickly, but the landscape changes when they do. And for some time, it has been inevitable that the transforming world market would have an impact on the core of the Gulf’s petroleum business—how its oil is priced and sold. The launch of Abu Dhabi’s Murban futures on 29 March could become such a change. Exchange Ice is partnering with Abu Dhabi NOC Adnoc and heavyweights of the global petroleum industry such as Shell, trader Vitol and Chinese state-owned Petrochina, to launch Ice Futures Abu Dhabi (Ifad), offering futures in Murban—Abu Dhabi’s flagship export grade, a light, sweetish crude (40.5 API and 0.79pc sulphur). Three key

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