DME in talks with state oil, Asia ref: Leaver
Dubai, November 4, 2008
Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) is in talks with Asian refiners and state oil companies to price contracts against the Gulf exchange, making it a benchmark, as it bids to increase its core volumes to one million barrels per day, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Monday.
Thomas Leaver, speaking at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit, said talks are underway with Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, Kuwait Petroleum Corp and Qatar Petroleum among others.
'We are engaging at every level to try and push this and there is movement,' he said.
'The collapse of prices in July has heightened their awareness of the fragility of the market.
'They're very conservative, we don't know how quickly they'll move but they're aware that something needs to be done.'
Leaver told Reuters that conservatism meant state oil firms, despite their familiarity with the process, would not act quickly.
'You have to get buy in at every level,' he said, citing Aramco as an example.
'They're very au fait with how this would work but it takes time to overcome that inertia.
'If Saudi goes, others will follow.'
Leaver told Reuters the DME was in talks with Iran as well, noting the country was 'more interested in fair value and price transparency' than worrying about pricing in US dollars.
DME, a joint venture between Oman, Dubai and the New York Mercantile Exchange NMX.N, wants to boost its core contract to commercial levels and turn Dubai into a pricing hub, like Singapore and New York. - Reuters