US energy exchange Nymex has set up a new oil trading floor in Dublin, Ireland, in a move it hopes will lure disenchanted dealers from London.
The move is part of an attempt to gain market share in trading Brent crude, the North Sea benchmark oil.
Nymex’s new operation is based on the open outcry system, where deals are done face to face on the trading floor.
London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), by contrast, is moving towards all-electronic dealing.
The IPE’s decision has proved unpopular with some traders.
They complain that the electronic system results in a less transparent and less liquid market.
“I plan to bring my family over if it works,” said Bart Pepper, a trader in Dublin on Monday. “The whole industry is just waiting to see what’s going to happen this week.”
There were about 40 traders on the floor at the opening bell in Dublin, according to Reuters.
Nymex said that more than 100 traders and clerks from London and New York have also registered to trade over the phone.
“Our international oil industry customers and the London oil trading community have been adamant about their desire to maintain open outcry energy trading with the liquidity and transparency uniquely provided by this forum,” Nymex said.
To make the move from London more attractive, Nymex has been offering traders incentives.
For the first three months it will reimburse weekly living expenses of up to $1,000 (£545), as well as waiving transaction fees.
Some observers believe Nymex may struggle to take business from the long-established IPE and that it will move to London, the main market for the benchmark Brent crude contracts, if it can secure regulatory approval.
Nymex also introduced a new Brent crude futures contract on Monday in Dublin.
Both Nymex and the IPE trade in futures contracts for delivery in the following month.
In this type of transaction, the buyer agrees to take delivery and the seller agrees to provide a fixed amount of oil at a pre-arranged price at a specified location.
The IPE has pushed back the start of open pit trade to 2pm, with its supporters saying extended electronic trading hours has efficiency benefits.
Nymex begins at 10am in Dublin.