EBF 301
Global Finance for the Earth, Energy, and Materials Industries

Lesson 9: Basic Energy Risk “Hedging” using Financial Derivatives - Hidden



In the previous lesson, we learned that NYMEX energy contracts represent the actual right to buy or sell energy commodities. So, for the commercial market participants, these provide both a market for production and a source of supply. For instance, producers of natural gas, crude oil, or refined products such as heating oil and gasoline, can sell financial contracts, thus guaranteeing that they will have a firm market in the future at a fixed price. Conversely, consumers of  these same products can buy contracts to ensure that they will have a firm supply source in the future at a set price. Utilizing financial contracts to reduce price and/or commodity risk is known as "hedging." In this lesson, we will discover the ways in which commercial players in energy use the financial markets for hedging their risks.

Key Learning Points – Energy Risk Hedging

  • Producers and Consumers of energy can reduce both their physical (market or supply)  and price risk using financial derivatives such as futures and forwards.
  • Futures are exchange-traded contracts such as the NYMEX energy commodities.
  • “Over-the-counter,” or “OTC” contracts, are known as “forwards.” These are non-exchange traded and can either involve an electronic trading platform or “voice” Broker.
  • Hedgers are not speculators.
  • Commercial participants in financial markets take the opposite position from what they have in the physical markets.
  • Financial positions must be settled monthly.
  • Storage capacity can be hedged through buying one month and selling a future month.

Learning Outcomes

At the successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Understand how price risk reduction can occur through the use of basic financial derivatives
    • NYMEX contracts
    • “Basis Swaps”
  • Understand how commodity risk can be reduced
  • Demonstrate a simple “hedge” structure for:
    • Energy commodity Producers
    • Energy commodity Consumers
    • Storage

What is due for Lesson 9?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. There are a number of required activities in this module. The chart below provides an overview of the activities for Lesson 9. For assignment details, refer to the location noted.

All assignments will be due Sunday, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.




Reading Assignment: Chapter 5 Errera & BrownErrera &  BrownNo submission
Hedge Examples
Steps in a Financial Energy Hedge page
No submission
Lesson Activity: On-going Trading Simulation & Financial/Physical Price comparisonsLesson Activity page

Submitted through OTIS; Post blog

Lesson 9 Quiz: Hedge ProblemsSummary and Final tasks pageSubmitted through ANGEL


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not e-mail), located under the Communicate tab in ANGEL. The TA and I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.