Crude Oil

Crude oil is a naturally occurring petroleum product that can be refined for use in a wide variety of materials, such as gasoline, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Oil is a fossil fuel that occurs when dead organisms are heated and pressurised within the earth's surface and subsequently liquidised, absorbing impurities like sulfur from the ground, a process that takes millions of years. Oil is generally sold in barrels, which contain 42 US gallons. The world consumes more than 34 billion barrels of oil a year. ((http://www.iea.org/aboutus/faqs/oil/ Retrieved 5 March 2015.))

Oil Chart

Oil Reserves

Oil reserves are locations of proven, recoverable oil. Though extraction of oil from wells, fields and sand may differ in method, but reserves include potentially extracted oil. Currently, there is an estimated 1, 490 billion barrels of oil in reserve globally, across 80 countries:((http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/data_graphs/330.htm Retrieved 5 March 2015.))

Country Global Reserves (billions of barrels)
Venezuela 297.6
Saudi Arabia 267.9
Canada 173.1
Iran 154.6
Iraq 141.4
Kuwait 104.0
United Arab Emirates 97.8
Russia 80.0
Libya 48.0
Nigeria 37.2

Price of Oil

Pricing systems for oil have shifted over the years. Generally, benchmark crude is used to determine prices because crude oil come in many varieties and qualities, often referred to by color, light or dark, or by its sulpher content, sweet or sour.
The primary benchmarks for crude oil come from the West Texas Intermediate (WTI), Brent Bland and Dubai Crude. Around the world, Brent Bland is commonly used—pricing two-thirds of the world's oil. Dubai prices most of the oil in Persian Gulf territories. WTI is the common US benchmark. OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) prices an oil basket based on oils from multiple countries in its organisation.((http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/904748.stm Retrieved 6 March 2015.))

Oil Futures

Oil futures can be purchased through exchanges, which buy and sell on current market price with delivery a month later.

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