Crude Oil, or petroleum, is a kind of fossil fuel found in the earth and is made of hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and tiny amounts of metal. Many types of crude oil produced are produced around the world and the value corresponds with the quality characteristics. The most important characteristics are the amount of sulphur, which can be defined as sweet or sour, and the density, which ranges from heavy to light. Crudes which are light (lower density) and sweet (low sulfur amounts) usually have higher prices. It is cheaper to produce gasoline and diesel, for example, using a light sweet crude oil. These types are more popular on the market as they can be processed with refineries requiring less energy.
Brent is the major benchmark price for international oil purchases and is used to price 2/3 of the oil traded around the globe. It is considered a sweet light crude oil which implies low density and low sulphur content.
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WTI (West Texas Intermediate): oil taken from wells in the U.S and sent to Oklahoma by pipeline, but expensive to ship around the globe. WTI is the benchmark for all oil in the United States. Traded on the NYMEX exchange
Brent Crude: comes from fields in the North Sea and includes: Brent and Forties blends, and Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes. Easy to transport to far locations, this light and sweet oil is ideal for refining diesel and gasoline. Traded on the ICE EUROPE exchange.
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