Throwing its hat into the crowded electronic energy trading arena, Briarcliff Manor, NY-based Optionable Inc., a provider of natural gas and other energy derivatives brokerage services, announced last week that it has commenced trading on its OPEX platform. OPEX is a real-time electronic trade matching and brokerage system that has been certified to connect with the Nymex ClearPort clearing platform.

OPEX is designed to improve liquidity and transparency in the energy derivatives market. Optionable said OPEX is designed to be the first-of-its-kind, real-time electronic trade matching and brokerage system featuring trading strategies used by professional options traders. In late April, open training sessions for the OPEX trading platform were held at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Optionable said it was founded with the goal of creating a comprehensive electronic options trading platform that eliminates the inherent inefficiencies of the traditional open-outcry and over-the-counter (OTC) trading environments.

“We are very excited to have successfully completed the launch of OPEX as we believe it will become a vital tool in the growth of the natural gas and energy derivatives markets,” said Optionable CEO Kevin Cassidy. “Trading in natural gas contracts is rapidly growing, but traders consistently told us they lacked tools to provide market visibility and pricing transparency.

“We believe that OPEX, which provides essential information, transparency and market visibility, and flexibility, is ideally suited to meet these needs,” he added. “Using our more than 20 years of brokerage experience in natural gas and energy derivatives, we developed OPEX as a real-time electronic trade matching system that [employs] strategies used by professional options traders. The initial usage of the system is very encouraging with over 100,000 Nymex ClearPort lots, or more than 1 billion MMBtu, traded on OPEX during its first week. We are confident it will become an important addition to our brokerage services.”

The OPEX trading platform was designed to facilitate trading strategies that are currently executed on the OTC market and on the commodity exchanges. OPEX is configured to trade dozens of option trading strategies employed in the market, offering information such as the size of the best bid and ask price, and can be customized by the trader to create individualized strategies.

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