As the power struggle for market-share supremacy in the electronic energy trading platform arena continues to heat up, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) and the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (Nymex) reported Friday that record volumes of trading were achieved on Thursday. The increased activity across the energy complex was sparked by petroleum supply concerns due to escalating violence in the Middle East, a Nigerian crude pipeline blast and a major refinery fire in Venezuela.

On Thursday, August crude notched a new all-time record high of $76.85/bbl before settling at $76.70/bbl, up $1.75 on the day. The contract then broke that record on Friday by hitting $77.95/bbl. Likewise, unleaded gasoline and heating oil also had big days Thursday. August unleaded gasoline closed 4.54 cents higher at $2.3013/gallon, while August heating oil climbed 6.15 cents to finish at $2.0799/gallon. August natural gas on Thursday climbed 34.7 cents to close at $6.129.

Nymex, the relative newcomer to electronic trading, announced Friday that it set daily volume records for total energy futures contracts, Nymex miNY heating oil futures, and natural gas (last day) financial futures contracts traded on CME Globex on July 13. Nymex products started to be offered on the Globex platform on June 12.

Nymex energy futures reached an estimated 119,238 contracts, surpassing the 108,111 contracts traded on June 21. The Nymex miNY heating oil futures traded an estimated 5,339 contracts, topping the 4,792 contracts traded on July 7 and the natural gas (last day) financial futures contracts traded and estimated 1,627 contracts, exceeding the 1,530 contracts traded on June 21.

ICE also announced Friday that its ICE Futures subsidiary established new records in trading volume both exchange-wide and in its WTI Crude futures contract yesterday. On July 13, total volume in ICE Futures markets reached 497,656 contracts, surpassing the May 9, 2006 record of 451,308 contracts by 10.3%.

The ICE WTI Crude futures contract set a new volume record July 13 of 178,960 contracts, exceeding the May 9, 2006 record of 157,009 contracts by 14%. The ICE WTI Crude futures contract also hit a new high this week with 254,407 contracts on July 12, the latest date for which final open interest figures are available. ICE Futures introduced the fully electronic WTI Crude futures contract for trading in February 2006.

In comparing ICE’s WTI Crude volume to Nymex’s activity on Globex, one has to take Nymex’s WTI Financial contract volume Thursday (14,502) and add it to half of Nymex’s Crude Oil miNY contract volume (half of 73,286 equals 36,643), which equals 51,145 contracts.

Exchange-wide open interest for ICE on July 12 also established a new record, with 1,050,917 contracts, up 62.0% compared to 648,585 contracts at December 31, 2005.

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