ICE Midland WTI (HOU) Reaches Record Open Interest as Market Participants Expand Positions

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, announced today that its ICE Midland WTI (ICE

) crude futures contract achieved a record open interest of 158,208 contracts on June 13, 2024, following the addition of over 100,000 lots by market participants last week.

ICE HOU has seen significant growth, with average daily volume (ADV) rising from 1,794 in 2022 to 6,695 contracts in 2023, and reaching a record ADV of 27,560 in May 2024.

“Customers are moving positions to ICE HOU as the contract offers them greater optionality,” said Jeff Barbuto, Global Head of Oil Markets at ICE. “The Houston market has changed fundamentally since price reporting agencies began assessing Midland WTI in Houston about 15 years ago. Since then, production shipped to Houston has surged, infrastructure has expanded significantly, and the U.S. export ban was lifted, resulting in the U.S. exporting an average of 4.2 million barrels per day, with the majority being Midland WTI.”

ICE HOU pricing reflects current fundamentals in Houston, delivering physical crude into two of the largest crude oil systems on the U.S. Gulf Coast: the ONEOK Magellan East Houston (MEH) and Enterprise Crude Houston (ECHO) terminals. Both are connected to Platts-approved water terminals to deliver Midland WTI into Brent. HOU is the only exchange-guaranteed source of ratably deliverable Midland WTI, with quality specifications matching the Platts spec for Midland WTI.

Over 12 million barrels of crude are delivered against HOU futures each month, including EFPs (Exchange for Physicals), allowing customers the flexibility to deliver barrels to other locations and choose flexible delivery dates. Additionally, ICE HOU time spreads and spreads with Brent and WTI Cushing (Domestic Sweet) help customers mitigate price risk between locations and grades.

Customers benefit from margin offsets as high as 98% when clearing HOU alongside other oil positions at ICE. Offsets are available across a range of over 800 oil contracts, including ICE Brent, ICE Gasoil, ICE WTI (Cushing), ICE Dubai (Platts), and ICE Murban, as well as NY Harbor RBOB Gasoline and Heating Oil.

Across ICE’s global oil complex, open interest stands at 14.4 million contracts, up 24% year-over-year. In addition to record highs in Midland WTI, ICE’s WTI (Cushing) futures contract reached a record open interest of 793,288 contracts on June 10, 2024. Oil is one part of ICE’s extensive global commodity markets, where open interest stands at 62 million contracts, up 26% year-over-year. ICE’s total futures and options hit a record open interest of 98.4 million contracts on June 13, 2024.

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