* Platts, Argus vie for U.S.-Asia crude benchmark
* Platts plans to publish prices from December (Adds details on Platts and Argus pricing methods)
By Florence Tan
SINGAPORE, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Oil pricing agency S&P Global Platts said on Thursday it planned to publish U.S. crude prices at the close of the Asian trading day starting in December as U.S. exports to the region have risen.
The Platts announcement follows the launch last year by rival price agency Argus Media of U.S. Gulf Coast crude prices for the Asia-Pacific. The two companies are competing to establish a benchmark for oil flows on the trade route that has opened up after Washington lifted a decades-old ban on crude exports at the end of 2015.
About a third of the United States’ crude exports, or more than 56 million barrels, landed in Asia in the first half of 2017, Platts said in a note on its website.
Platts said it plans to publish four U.S. crude prices at the close of Asia’s market at 0830 GMT “to help bring transparency to these markets.” The price quotes are for WTI-MEH, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude at the Magellan East Houston Terminal (MEH), Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS), Southern Green Canyon and Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) Sour.
“The assessments will reflect the price prevailing during the close of the market in Asia, taking into account the rise or fall in the movement of cash WTI from the time of the assessment at the U.S. market close at 2:15 pm Eastern Standard Time, until the Asian close,” Platts said.
Platts is seeking feedback from the market by Oct. 13.
The company launched the LOOP Sour price quote in March this year to mark prices for medium-sour grades of crude produced offshore in the United States and imports for the U.S. gulf coast.
Argus publishes prices for WTI Houston, WTI Midland, Mars and LLS in Asia. It adjusts the previous day’s U.S. crude prices using the change in the corresponding WTI futures contract from the U.S. close to the Singapore 4:30 p.m. minute marker.
Thomson Reuters, the parent of Reuters news, competes with Platts and Argus in providing news and information to the oil market. (Reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)