Oil Markets in Transition and the Dubai Crude Oil Benchmark

Dubai crude oil has been the main Asian benchmark since the mid-1980s. The most notable and recent development in the Dubai benchmark has been the significant increase in the liquidity in the Platts ‘window’. What has caused this increase in liquidity? To answer this question, this comment will look at the two recent shifts in international oil market dynamics. Firstly, Asian demand growth and the increase in US tight oil production, and secondly, the associated shift in crude oil trade dynamics. Then it will examine the changes within the Asian crude oil market, leading to the increased assertiveness of the regional players in the price formation process. Finally, this comment will consider some remaining issues with the Dubai market, and a possible way forward for Asian benchmarks in general.

By: Adi Imsirovic