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IPE Gas Oil Futures 20 Years Old On 6 April 2001

Date 05/04/2001

IPE Gas Oil futures celebrates 20 years on Friday 6 April 2001. Launched in 1981, Gas Oil futures was the IPE's first successfully traded contract and it has developed into one of the most well-established hedging and trading tools of the energy industry.

The contract has grown from the 1,805 lots traded on day one to a current average of over 28,000 lots per day, equivalent to 2.8 million tonnes of gas oil. The Gas Oil futures contract is liquid and volatile prices have ranged from a low of $84 set on 9 July 1986 to a record high of $363 set on 10 October 1990. On 4 August 1999, the contract reached its highest recorded daily volume when 57,778 lots were traded.

The IPE Gas Oil futures contract is widely used in Europe and beyond as a price benchmark for middle distillate including aviation jet fuel, diesel and heating oil. It is the only oil futures contract in the world to have such close links with the underlying physical market.

The daily weighted average of front month trades calculated by the IPE at the close of each trading day is used by the price reporter Platts as the basis for the majority of its price assessments for middle distillate in Europe. Traders report physical trades for heating oil, diesel and jet at prices relative to the IPE and the IPE element is assumed as this weighted average.

Building on the success of the contract, Gas Oil futures trading hours were extended on 19 June 2000. This means that in addition to the existing pit hours the contract is now available on the IPE's electronic Energy Trading System, ETS II, between 0800 and 0900 London time. The highest recorded volume for this one-hour period registered on 13 October 2000 when 1,237 lots were traded.

Jackie Bullimore, Head of Oil Markets said "The transparency of pricing afforded by IPE Gas Oil liquidity underpins its pivotal role as the benchmark of choice for distillate trading. Twenty years of continuous growth is a first class track record."