What is Dated Brent for Crude Oil?

What is Dated Brent?

Platts Dated Brent is a benchmark assessment by S&P Global Commodity Insights of the price of physical, light North Sea crude oil. The term "Dated Brent" refers to physical cargoes of crude oil in the North Sea that have been assigned specific delivery dates. Each dated cargo of crude oil is often traded more than once as it makes its way to delivery to refineries -- where crude is transformed into products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and more. Dated Brent is a critical component of the Brent Complex, which includes the trading of physically delivered oil like Dated Brent and cash BFOE (Brent-Forties-Oseberg-Ekofisk), as well as financially settled derivatives like Brent Futures, Contracts for Differences (CfDs), Dated-to-Frontlines (DFLs) and a variety of other derivatives. Taken as a whole, the Brent Complex helps those active in the North Sea crude market to manage the flow of crude oil from well-head to refinery, and manage price risk along the way - not just in crude oil, but also for correlated refined oil products, natural gas, gas liquids and condensates. Price indicators from the Brent Complex are increasingly used as a reference for measuring the value of crude oils all around the world, and often of global economic health itself.

Evolution of Dated Brent: a brief history of major changes

We began assessing Dated Brent in the 1980s, reflecting the value of crude to be delivered between seven and 15 days after the date the price assessment was published. As production volumes of the Brent field decreased, we included other crude oils into our Dated Brent assessment. Trading has trended further forward in time, and over the years we have moved our assessment periods to keep pace with this trend. In 2002, we added two more crude grades to our physical Brent assessment process -- Forties and Oseberg. In the same year, we widened the date range reflected in our assessments to 10-21 days forward, in order to better reflect the more forward-looking trading patterns of the North Sea crude market and increase potentially deliverable volumes. In 2007, we added Ekofisk crude into our physical Brent assessment process, completing what is now known as BFOE. In 2012, we again widened our assessed delivery period window, this time to 10-25 days forward, increasing the volume deliverable into the assessment window by more than 30%. In 2015, we widened our assessed delivery period window further, this time to reflect 10 days to a full month-ahead forward, again increasing the volume deliverable into the assessment window by more than a further 30%. Working with all stakeholders, we are constantly planning for more change to come as the market continues to evolve. We regularly hold methodology forums, technical workshops, webinars and one-to-one meetings to exchange views on the future of Brent.

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