|Brent Crude Oil
|1 cent per barrel ($10.00 per contract)
|42,000 U.S. Gallons
|8:00p.m. - 6:00p.m. (EST)
|Value of One Futures Unit
|Value of One Options Unit
|Last Trading Day
|Trading terminates the last business Day of the second month preceding the relevant contract month
Crude oil is petroleum that is acquired directly from the ground. Crude oil was formed millions of years ago from the remains of tiny aquatic plants and animals that lived in ancient seas. Ancient societies such as the Persians, 10th century Sumatrans, and pre-Columbian Indians believed that crude oil had medicinal benefits. Around 4,000 BC in Mesopotamia, bitumen, a tarry crude, was used as caulking for ships, as a setting for jewels and mosaics, and as an adhesive to secure weapon handles. The walls of Babylon and the famed pyramids were held together with bitumen, and Egyptians used it for embalming. During the 19th century in America, an oil find was often met with dismay. Pioneers, who dug wells to find water or brine, were disappointed when they struck oil. It wasn't until 1854, with the invention of the kerosene lamp, that the first large-scale demand for petroleum emerged. Crude oil is a relatively abundant commodity. The world has produced approximately 650 billion barrels of oil, but another trillion barrels of proved reserves have yet to be extracted. Crude oil was the world's first trillion-dollar industry and accounts for the single largest product in world trade.
Futures and options on crude oil are traded at the CME Group and at the ICE Futures Europe exchanges. Two main types of crude oil are traded at the CME: light sweet crude oil and Brent crude oil. The light sweet futures contract calls for the delivery of 1,000 barrels of crude oil at the oil pipeline hub at Cushing, Oklahoma. Light sweet crude is preferred by refiners because of its low sulfur content and relatively high yield of high-value products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel. The Brent blend crude is based on a light, sweet North Sea crude oil. Brent blend crude production is approximately 500,000 barrels per day and is shipped from Sullen Voe in the Shetland Islands.
Prices - CME West-Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices (Barchart.com symbol CL) raced higher in Q1 of 2022 and posted a 14-year high in March at $130.50 a barrel. Crude prices surged after Russia invaded Ukraine in February and sparked global supply concerns after the U.S. and its European allies announced a ban on Russian crude oil. U.S. crude supplies had tightened even before the war began, with EIA U.S. crude oil inventories falling to a 4-year low in March. Crude prices mainly remained above $100 a barrel into Q2 on strength in Chinese energy demand as the country emerged from strict pandemic lockdowns. China's fuel demand in June rose to 90% of 2019 levels. Crude prices fell below $100 a barrel in July as the dollar rallied and energy demand concerns emerged. The Federal Reserve in 2022 began an aggressive interest-rate-hike campaign due to surging inflationary pressures, which boosted the dollar index to a 20-year high and raised concerns about a weaker U.S. economy and energy demand. The dollar index continued to post new 20-year highs into Q4, which weighed on most commodity prices. Crude prices remained under pressure in Q4 and posted a 1-year low in December at $70.08 a barrel. The Bank of England and European Central bank joined the Federal Reserve in raising interest rates, which darkened the global growth outlook and weighed on crude prices. Also, new Covid variants in China prompted the Chinese government to impose travel restrictions and lockdowns that sharply reduced the country's energy demand. In addition, U.S. crude supplies rebounded as EIA crude inventories climbed to a 1-1/2 year high in November. Crude oil finished 2022 up by +6.7% yr/yr at $80.26 a barrel.
Supply - World crude oil supply in 2021 rose by +1.8% yr/yr to 93.440 million bpd. U.S. crude oil production in 2021 fell by -0.6% yr/yr to 11.253 million barrels per day. Alaskan oil production in 2021 fell by -2.3% yr/yr to 437,323 barrels per day and was far below the peak level of 2.017 million barrels per day seen in 1988.
Demand - U.S. demand for crude oil in 2021 rose by +6.6% yr/yr to 15.146 million barrels per day. Most of that demand was for U.S. refinery production of petroleum products such as gasoline fuel, diesel fuel, aviation fuel, heating oil, kerosene, asphalt, and lubricants.
Trade - The U.S. is still dependent on imports of crude oil to meet its energy needs, but imports in 2021 rose by +4.1% yr/yr to 6.113 million barrels per day, down sharply from the 2005 record high of 10.126 million barrels. U.S. exports of crude oil in 2021 fell by -7.6% yr/yr to 2.962 million barrels per day.
Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the Barchart product line. Please visit us for all of your commodity data needs.