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ICE to Launch More Cleared Energy Contracts

The IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) announced plans last week to introduce more than 50 additional cleared contracts in its over-the-counter (OTC) markets during the first half of 2006, with the first 10 contracts expected to be available for trade starting March 3.

The first set of products consists of ten OTC swaps contracts based on North American and Canadian financially-settled natural gas, which are currently offered on the ICE platform. This introduction will be followed by additional cleared products to enhance ICE's suite of cleared natural gas, power and oil contracts. The initial set of new contracts available for OTC clearing includes:

The exchange said it expects to phase in the rest of the new contracts throughout the first half of 2006. "We have announced that we are going to stage them in [waves]," said ICE spokeswoman Kelly Loeffler. "If you estimate that we will have all of those new contracts during the first half of 2006, then it looks like we will add some of them every two-to-three weeks to give everyone time to build them into their systems."

In 2005, traded volume in ICE's cleared OTC contracts totaled 47.4 million contracts, an increase of 161.8% over the 18.1 million cleared contracts traded in ICE's electronic OTC markets in 2004. ICE provides its cleared OTC products through established clearing firms on the ICE platform and in cooperation with LCH.Clearnet, the largest clearinghouse in Europe.

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