Oman backs DME on introduction of regional oil auctions

Oman has backed the Dubai Mercantile Exchange’s push to introduce oil auctions in the region, which is an effort in part to wrest oil pricing dominance away from London and to counter the growing buying power of China.

The government of Oman has been the DME’s strongest supporter since it began operations eight years ago and Oman oil futures is the exchange’s flagship contract.

"It's huge for us that the first mover on this is a state oil company of such standing," said Owain Johnson, the DME's managing director. He said the exchange would now be able to go to its 90 or so institutional customers and set up the systems to handle the first auctions, which it hopes will then lay the basis for auctions by others who want to market crude oil through the system.

Trading volume on the exchange has grown steadily since the Oman oil futures were introduced, but it still lags far behind that of the North Sea Brent contract in London and the West Texas Intermediate contract in New York.

There has been little headway, either, in convincing the very conservative regional national oil companies (Nocs) to embrace new methods of marketing their oil.

Top management at the big state oil producers, including the Saudi oil minister Ali Al Naimi, have often railed against “speculators” on the futures exchanges, who they argue cause prices to fall too far when there is a supply overhang.

But they remain reluctant to move away from their long-standing system of selling most crude via highly controlled long-term supply contracts.

A new threat to Nocs’ efforts to maintain market control has recently come from the Chinese, the region’s dominant oil buyer. In the past year, for example, there have been several occasions when two major Chinese state oil companies have been on either side (buyer and seller) of most of the over-the-counter “paper” contracts, which are used to set the daily prices of regional oil benchmarks.

Those prices are the benchmarks upon which the Nocs’ long-term contracts – as well as exchange-traded futures – are set.

Also, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange has said it will launch its own crude oil futures contract before the end of the year, giving China even more influence over regional oil pricing.

The DME is trying to persuade Nocs that adding an auction option, with its wide pool of customers, will ensure a fairer (and transparent) price for regional commodities and make them less susceptible to speculation in other markets or manipulation closer to home.

The experience that Oman has in the coming months with the DME auctions may, or may not, help to sway them.

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter


Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Sebastian Roche, Elpidia Carrillo
Rating: 4/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

How to donate

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

Best Foreign Language Film nominees

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Cold War (Poland)

Never Look Away (Germany)

Roma (Mexico)

Shoplifters (Japan)


Engine: 6-cylinder 3-litre, with petrol and diesel variants
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 286hp (petrol), 249hp (diesel)
Torque: 450Nm (petrol), 550Nm (diesel)
Price: Starting at $69,800
On sale: Now

Company info

Company name: Entrupy 

Co-founders: Vidyuth Srinivasan, co-founder/chief executive, Ashlesh Sharma, co-founder/chief technology officer, Lakshmi Subramanian, co-founder/chief scientist

Based: New York, New York

Sector/About: Entrupy is a hardware-enabled SaaS company whose mission is to protect businesses, borders and consumers from transactions involving counterfeit goods.  

Initial investment/Investors: Entrupy secured a $2.6m Series A funding round in 2017. The round was led by Tokyo-based Digital Garage and Daiwa Securities Group's jointly established venture arm, DG Lab Fund I Investment Limited Partnership, along with Zach Coelius. 

Total customers: Entrupy’s customers include hundreds of secondary resellers, marketplaces and other retail organisations around the world. They are also testing with shipping companies as well as customs agencies to stop fake items from reaching the market in the first place. 

Punchy appearance

Roars of support buoyed Mr Johnson in an extremely confident and combative appearance

Monster Hunter: World


PlayStation 4, Xbox One

'Will of the People'

Artist: Muse
Label: Warner
Rating: 2.5/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

UK record temperature

38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019

Normal People

Sally Rooney, Faber & Faber

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

At Eternity’s Gate

Director: Julian Schnabel

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaacs, Mads Mikkelsen

Three stars


Android Alpha

Android Beta

Android Cupcake

Android Donut

Android Eclair

Android Froyo

Android Gingerbread

Android Honeycomb

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Android Jelly Bean

Android KitKat

Android Lollipop

Android Marshmallow

Android Nougat

Android Oreo

Android Pie

Android 10 (Quince Tart*)

Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake*)

Android 12 (Snow Cone*)

Android 13 (Tiramisu*)

Android 14 (Upside Down Cake*)

Android 15 (Vanilla Ice Cream*)

* internal codenames

Most Read
Top Videos