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International Crude Oil Market

Source: API 5/1/2006, Location: North America

Oil is the world economy’s most important source of energy and is, therefore, critical to economic growth. Its value is driven by demand for petroleum products, particularly in the transportation sector. Petroleum products power virtually all motor vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels, and trains around the globe. In total, products derived from oil, such as motor gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and heating oil, supply nearly 40 percent of the energy consumed by households, businesses, and manufacturers worldwide. Natural gas and coal, by comparison, each supply less than 25 percent of the world’s energy needs.

The principal activities involved in moving crude oil from its source to the ultimate consumer are:

* Production, which involves finding, extracting, and transporting crude oil;
* Refining, the process by which crude oil is turned into products such as gasoline; and
* Distribution and marketing, which focus on moving those products to final consumers.

These activities occur within a global marketplace – an extensive physical infrastructure that connects buyers and sellers worldwide, all supported by an international financial market. The physical infrastructure encompasses a vast array of capital, including drilling rigs, pipelines, ports, tankers, barges, trucks, crude oil storage facilities, refineries, product terminals – right down to retail storage tanks and gasoline pumps.

It links an international network of thousands of producers, refiners, marketers, brokers, traders, and consumers buying and selling physical volumes of crude oil and petroleum products throughout this chain of production. The international market also includes futures and other financial contracts that allow buyers and sellers to efficiently insure themselves against significant price and other business risks, thereby minimizing the impact of price volatility on their operations. In sum, the global oil market comprises thousands of participants who help facilitate the movement of oil from where it is produced, to where it is refined into products, to where those products are ultimately sold to consumers.

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Related Categories: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Industrial Development  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 

Related Articles: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 


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