Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has signed agreements with US supermajor Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and leading merchant Trafigura AG to use the upcoming Murban crude futures contract as a pricing benchmark for US sales to Asia, according to Reuters.

The contract will enable Asian buyers of crude to hedge against physical purchases of US crude and give them an alternative to using the London-based benchmark Brent crude for hedging.

The move highlights the growing emergence of the US global crude export market, which restarted four years prior.

Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, said during the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) on Tuesday: “We are starting to see interest from not just Middle East crude exporters to Asia but we are seeing other firms, particularly those exporting light sweet crude pay attention.” 

Occidental, Chevron, and Trafigura are among the largest US exporters of crude. The US produces roughly 11 million barrels per day (mmbbl/d), mainly consisting of sweet crude originating in Texas.

In terms of exports, the US now ships more than 3 mmbbl/d worldwide, including to large Asian customers such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan.