ESA U3O8 prices
ESA publishes on an annual basis three EU natural uranium price indices, based only on deliveries made to EU utilities or their procurement organisations under natural uranium and enriched uranium purchasing contracts in which the price is stated.
The natural uranium delivery price stated in the purchase contracts concluded in recent years is mainly agreed using sophisticated price formulae, made up of uranium price and inflation indices, mainly for new multiannual contracts but also for a non-negligible percentage of the spot contracts.
ESA’s price calculation method is based on the currency conversion of the original contract prices, using the average annual exchange rates published by the European Central Bank, The average prices are then calculated, after weighing the prices paid against the quantities delivered under each contract. A detailed analysis is presented in Annex 8 of our annual report ‘Calculation method for ESA’s average U3O8 prices’ which is reproduced below.
Since uranium is priced in US dollars, the fluctuation of the €/US$ exchange rate influenced the level of the calculated price indices.
In order to establish a natural uranium price which excludes the conversion cost if the latter was not specified, ESA applied a rigorously calculated average conversion price, based on reported conversion prices and market information available.
Calculation method for ESA U3O8 average prices
ESA price definition
ESA calculates three uranium price indices on an annual basis:
- The ESA spot U3O8 price is a weighted average of U3O8 prices paid by EU utilities for uranium delivered under spot contracts during the reference year.
- The ESA multiannual U3O8 price is a weighted average of U3O8 prices paid by EU utilities for uranium delivered under multiannual contracts during the reference year.
- The ESA ‘MAC-3’ new multiannual U3O8 price is a weighted average of U3O8 prices paid by EU utilities, but only under multiannual contracts concluded or whose pricing method has been amended within the previous three years and with deliveries during the reference year, i.e. contracts concluded between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2018. In this context, ESA regards amendments which have a direct impact on the prices paid as separate contracts.
In order to ensure statistical reliability (sufficient amounts) and safeguard the confidentiality of commercial data (make sure that no individual contracts are revealed), ESA price indices are calculated only if there are at least five relevant contracts.
In 2011, ESA introduced its quarterly spot U3O8 price, which is a spot price indicator published on a quarterly basis, an indicator published on a quarterly basis if EU utilities have concluded at least three new spot contracts.
All price indices are expressed in US dollars per pound (US$/lb) and euro per kilogram (€/kgU).
Definition of spot vs. long-term contracts
The difference between multiannual and spot contracts is that
- spot contracts provide for either only one delivery or for deliveries extending over a maximum of 12 months, whatever the time between conclusion of the contract and the first delivery.
- Multiannual contracts provide for deliveries extending over more than 12 months;
The average spot price index reflects the latest developments on the uranium market, whereas the average price index of uranium delivered under multiannual contracts reflects the average long-term price paid by European utilities.
The methods applied have been discussed in the Working Group of the Advisory Committee.
Data collection tools
Prices are collected directly from utilities or via their procurement organisations from:
- contracts submitted to ESA;
- end-of-year questionnaires backed up, if necessary, by visits to the utilities.
Data requested on natural uranium deliveries during the year
The following details are requested: ESA contract reference number, quantity (kgU), delivery date, place of delivery, mining origin, obligation code, natural uranium price specifying the currency, unit of weight (kg, kgU or lb), chemical form (U3O8 ,UF6 or UO2), whether the price includes conversion and, if so, the price of conversion, if known.
Deliveries taken into account
The deliveries taken into account are those made under purchasing contracts to the EU electricity utilities or their procurement organisations during the relevant year. They also include the natural uranium equivalent contained in enriched uranium purchases.
Other categories of contracts, such as between intermediaries or for sales by utilities, purchases by non-utility industries or barter deals, are excluded.
Deliveries for which it is not possible reliably to establish the price of the natural uranium component are also excluded from the price calculation (e.g. uranium out of specification or enriched uranium priced per kg of EUP without separation of the feed and enrichment components).
Data quality assessment
ESA compares the deliveries and prices reported with the data collected at the time of conclusion of the contracts, taking into account any subsequent updates. In particular, it compares the actual deliveries with the ‘maximum permitted deliveries’ and options. Where there are discrepancies between scheduled and actual deliveries, clarifications are sought from the organisations concerned.
To calculate the average prices, the original contract prices are converted into euros per kgU contained in U3O8 using the average annual exchange rates published by the European Central Bank.
Prices which include conversion
For the few prices which include conversion but where the conversion price is not specified, given the relatively minor cost of conversion, ESA converts the UF6 price to a U3O8 price using an average conversion value based on its own sources and on specialised trade press publications.
Two members of ESA staff independently verify spreadsheets from the database.
Despite all the care taken, errors or omissions are discovered from time to time, mostly in the form of missing data, e.g. on deliveries under options, which were not reported. As a matter of policy, ESA never publishes a corrective figure.
Confidentiality and physical protection of commercial data are ensured by using stand-alone computers, which are connected neither to the Commission Intranet nor to the outside world (including the Internet). Contracts and back-ups are kept in a secure room, with restricted key access.
This information is made available for information purposes only, and ESA can take no legal responsibility for the use made of it.