Gulf Energy has appointed US-based PFC Energy and Hess Energy, a subsidiary of the US’ Amerada Hess, to advise on the creation and design of the operating mechanism for IMEX. The firms are expected to complete their findings and determine the type of contracts to be traded in three-six months. However, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is likely to be among them. Gulf Energy confirmed that it was in talks with Qatar Petroleum to secure oil supplies for trading.

Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) is expected to start trading futures in sour crude oil by the end of 2006. It is in discussions with Oman to secure crude to underwrite the contract and serve as a benchmark for regional crude. Transactions on the DME, a joint venture of Dubai Holding and the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), will be conducted electronically and not by the open-outcry system used on the Nymex. The exchange will be based in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The Dubai Metals & Commodities Centre (DMCC) also has plans to trade fuel oil futures contracts.