Advanced Search



Oil is a vital source of energy for the entire world, especially in its form as petroleum.

Petroleum has been referred to as simply oil in colloquial terms.

Petroleum - Crude Oil

Crude oil is a flammable liquid that is naturally occurring and is found in the Earth. Through a lengthy natural process, it forms reservoirs, from which it can be extracted by pumping and drilling.

How is it Classified?

Crude oil is generally classified by the region in which it is produced.

Therefore, common names are:

  • West Texas
  • Brent
  • Oman

Another classification is based on the amount of sulfur it contains.

Therefore, it can be considered:

  • Light This means it has a low density
  • Heavy This means it has a high density
  • Sour This means it contains a large amount of sulfur
  • Sweet This means it contains a small amount of sulfur

Depending on classification, oil has therefore different levels of desirability. The oil which contains a higher yield of gasoline is clearly more desirable - Light crude oil is therefore more desirable than heavy crude oil. In a similar way, sweet oil is better than sour because it requires less refining. Therefore, the geographic location of the oil affects the cost of transportation to each refinery.

How is Oil Priced?

Oil is categorized by barrel. A barrel in the USA is 42 gallons and in Europe barrels are usually measured in tonnes.

Note: while the main measure of the 42-gallon barrel is used worldwide as the unit by which oil is measured, it is not actually used to transport oil today. Oil is now transported by oil tankers or pipelines.

In order to make pricing references, barrels are referred to by the area in which the oil was produced. Therefore, main crude oil references include:

Brent Blend

Brent Blend is the main oil off which most oil flowing west from the Middle East, Africa and Europe is priced. It is therefore a benchmark. It is found in the North Sea, in the East Shetland Basin.

West Texas Intermediate

This is a light, sweet oil and is found in Oklahoma. It is for North American oil


This is used as a benchmark for Middle East sour crude oil which flows to the Asia-Pacific area.

Who Uses it Most?

Oil is a vital commodity for the world, and here are some lists on those countries which use it the most.

Top 5 Consumers:

  • United States of America
  • China
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • Germany

Top 5 Producers:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Russia
  • United States of America
  • Iran
  • China

Top 5 Exporters:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • Iran
  • United Arab Emirates

Top 5 Importers:

  • United States of America
  • Japan
  • China
  • Germany
  • South Korea

The Oil Market

It is no secret that petroleum is one of the biggest and most lucrative commodities in the world. It is also one of the most precious due to its finite quantity.

You can keep an eye on and trade on the oil market. You may already know that the price of oil (or of a barrel of oil) fluctuates constantly, and that this price affects the currency market too.

For example, Norway is one of the main oil exporters. If the price of a barrel goes up, then there is more interest in the currency of that country too. This is because investors believe there is more to gain from the success of that country. This is the simple basic rule of a healthy economy equals a healthy currency.

Another basic principle on the oil/currency trade is that the most profitable trades will most likely be those that involve a country which exports oil versus a country that depends on oil - in other words, is a big importer.

The two main charts are Crude and Brent, found on our site:

Live Crude Oil Chart        Live Brent Oil Chart

Will Oil Run Out?

The discussion about whether oil, as a natural resource, will run out is a huge one. Constantly debated and argued over, it carries huge consequences for the world. For example, a country sitting on oil reserves, and who rely heavily on this asset for GDP could end up with nothing if the oil were to run out.

There are many theories as to how much oil is left - some even say that there is about 40 years worth of petroleum left. Most theorists say that the world has already reached its oil peak, but again there is much controversy as to when this global peak was reached.

While the theories and arguments continue, there are various ways in which the world is preparing for a decline in the precious liquid. For example, many countries are focussing on building up those economic sectors which are not oil-related, so that they can rely on these more. Also, many countries are exploring alternative fuels and energy production, so less reliance is made on oil around the globe.

Additional Information

We have touched on the relationship between oil price and currency rates, and here is a more detailed analysis of the topic:

Why Does Oil Impact Currency Rates?


Please Note: is not authorised to give advice under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

All of the Links, textural data, and image data is provided for informational purposes only.

Click here to view our Disclaimer








News and ChartsNEWS / CHARTS

For once we are seeing Car Insurance Prices Drop since 2014
31 August 2018 - Which Way To Pay
A statement released last week , states that Car Insurance can be dropping by as much as 11% .
Is Everything covered for that Big Day ? Wedding Insurance
31 August 2018 - Which Way To Pay
Planning your wedding is one of the happiest times in your life , however we always need to make sure that we are covered for every penny spent . Wedding Insurance is a Must
Forever monitoring your endowment policy ?
08 April 2017 - Which Way To Pay
If this is your case then why not sell your policy on to make yourself some cash , and get what its worth.
Telephone Enquiries Helpline
+44 (0) 207 386 5300

Register for newsletter