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Opec switches to Argus from Platts for energy price data
[SINGAPORE] The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has switched to Argus Media as its energy price data provider this year, dropping global pricing service Platts.
The producer group, which accounts for 40 per cent of the world's oil output, will use Argus's prices for evaluation, analysis and reporting from Jan 1, Argus said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
The Opec reference basket price, which values crude produced by the member countries, will be based on assessments from Argus, the company said.
"We are pleased that Opec has decided to move to Argus as its exclusive supplier of price data across all energy markets," Argus Media chairman and publisher Adrian Binks said.
"This is a sign of confidence in the quality of our price reporting." Opec's decision to drop Platts pricing is a setback for the company whose main price benchmarks - Dated Brent in the North Sea and Dubai in the Middle East and Asia - have been under scrutiny by regulators and market participants.
Still, key individual Opec producers such as top exporter Saudi Arabia continue to set their official prices for their crude and most fuel exports based on Platts's prices, trade sources said.
However, in 2010 Saudi Arabia switched to the Argus Sour Crude Index, and away from Platts's West Texas Intermediate assessments, to price its exports to the United States because it was unhappy about what it said were undervalued assessments.
"Argus has gained a big customer in terms of name recognition," said Victor Shum, vice president of IHS Energy Insight. "Argus may be gaining market share in terms of its acceptance as a price assessment reporting outfit.... but my guess is Platts is still the more dominant player." I
n Asia, industry players have been calling on Platts to review its Dubai assessment, saying record trading by Chinese state companies in August during the Market-on-Close (MoC) process pushed liquidity to the limit and skewed prices.
The International Energy Agency switched to price data from Argus in 2012, and governments changing to Argus's prices include Chile in 2014 and Ecuador, Colombia and Portugal in 2015, according to Argus.
Platts, part of McGraw Hill Financial Inc, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Argus and Platts compete with Thomson Reuters in providing information to energy markets.