S&P Global Platts is overhauling its Brent oil benchmark for the first time since 2007

Courtney Goldsmith
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Platts provides information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets (Source: Getty)

S&P Global Platts' Brent oil assessment is set to be revamped for the first time in a decade to address the falling supply underpinning the benchmark that prices most of the world's oil.

The oil pricing agency said it will add Norway's Troll crude to the four British and Norwegian crudes it already uses to assess dated Brent, known as BFOE - Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk. Troll deliveries will begin at the start of 2018.

The decision comes as supply from the North Sea is seen falling in the near future, leading to concerns that physical volumes could become too thin and thus vulnerable to manipulation.

"Dated Brent is a robust and well-supplied crude benchmark, but it is important to prepare for the future, in particular, the expected decline in North Sea production and the changing quality of the whole crude slate," said Jonty Rushforth, global editorial director of S&P's oil and shipping price group.

This resulted in extensive talks within the industry about the addition of a new crude, which produced significant support for Troll.

"We've engaged with market participants and consulted on a broad range of grades against a range of criteria," said Joel Hanley, editorial director of European & African oil at S&P Global Platts.

"Troll is the closest to the existing BFOE grades in characteristics and should provide an additional quarter of a million of barrels a day of deliverable crude," Hanley said.

Supply is expected to start falling next month at a rate of 884,000 barrels per day (bpd) from February's originally planned 943,000 bpd rate, Reuters reported.

Including Troll, which typically produces around 10 to 15 cargoes of 600,000 barrels a month, should boost volumes by about 20 per cent, helping to improve liquidity.

The last change to the dated Brent benchmark was in 2007 when Platts added Ekofisk. Oseberg and Forties were added to the basket in 2002.

Read more: Shell has revealed its plans to remove its Brent North Sea platforms

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