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IntercontinentalExchange ( ) is an Americanmarker financial company that operates Internet-based marketplaces which trade futures and over-the-counter (OTC) energy and commodity contracts as well as derivative financial products. While the company's original focus was energy products (crude and refined oil, natural gas, power, and emissions), recent acquisitions have expanded its activity into the "soft" commodities (sugar, cotton and coffee), foreign exchange and equity index futures.

Currently ICE is organized into three business lines:
  • ICE Markets — futures, options, and OTC markets. Energy futures are traded via ICE Futures Europe; soft commodity futures/options are handled by ICE Futures U.S.
  • ICE Services — electronic trade confirmations and education.
  • ICE Data — electronic delivery of market data, including real-time trades, historical prices and daily indices.

Contracts sold through ICE Futures U.S. are processed through a subsidiary, ICE Clear U.S. (ICEUS). Energy futures and OTC contracts are currently cleared externally, through LCH.Clearnet, Ltd., but ICE has announced plans to transition these operations to a new subsidiary, ICE Clear Europe (ICEU), by mid-2008.

Headquartered in Atlantamarker, ICE also has offices in Calgarymarker, Chicagomarker, Houstonmarker, Londonmarker, New Yorkmarker and Singaporemarker, with regional telecommunications hubs in Chicago, New York, London and Singapore.

Company History

In the late 1990s, Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE’s founder, chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, acquired Continental Power Exchange, Inc. with the objective of developing an Internet-based platform to provide a more transparent and efficient market structure for OTC energy commodity trading. In May 2000, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) was established, with its founding shareholders representing some of the world’s largest energy traders. The company’s stated mission was to transform OTC trading by providing an open, accessible, multi-dealer, around-the-clock electronic energy exchange. The new exchange offered the trading community better price transparency, more efficiency, greater liquidity and lower costs than manual trading.

In June 2001, ICE expanded its business into futures trading by acquiring the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), now ICE Futures Europe, which operated Europe’s leading open-outcry energy futures exchange. Since 2003, ICE has partnered with the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) to host its electronic marketplaces. In April 2005, the entire ICE portfolio of energy futures became fully electronic.

ICE became a publicly traded company on November 16, 2005, and was added to the Russell 1000 Index on June 30, 2006. The company expanded rapidly in 2007, acquiring the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), ChemConnect (a chemical commodity market), and the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange. In March 2007 ICE made an unsuccessful $9.9 billion bid for the Chicago Board of Trademarker, which was instead acquired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

In January 2008 ICE partnered with TSX Group's Natural Gas Exchange, expanding their offering to clearing and settlement services for physical OTC natural gas contracts.

On March 4, 2009, ICE announced that ICE US Trust, LLC (ICE Trust), a New York limited liability trust company, received regulatory approval from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to become a member of the Federal Reserve System and to serve as a clearing house and central counterparty for credit default swap (CDS) transactions. Clearing of North American CDS indexes will be followed by liquid single-name credit default swaps.

Commodities traded on the exchange


  1. The Trade News (5/9/2007). "IntercontinentalExchange to launch clearing house in Europe"
  2. ICE Press Release (1/12/2007). "IntercontinentalExchange and New York Board of Trade Complete Merger"
  3. Robert Manor (7/11/2007). "CBOT loss won't alter ICE agenda", Chicago Tribune.
  4. ICE NGX "NGX Physical Gas and Power Products Coming to ICE"

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