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Types of Crude Oils

Anyone planning on working in the oil and gas industry would do well to know a little bit about the various types and grades of crude oil found in the world. It's a mistake to assume that all crude oil is the same. For example, many types of crude oil are more suited to various methods of refinement into other products. Different grades of crude oil cost much less to refine into other products than others.

Brent Blend is one of the main types of crude oil found in the rich oil fields of the North Sea. This crude oil is often used as a price and quality benchmark for other grades of crude oil found in other areas of the world. A fairly light version of crude oil, Brent Blend is not as light as West Texas Intermediate, another major grade of crude oil found in deposits off the coast of Texas and Mexico. Some of the other classifications of Brent Blend include Brent Crude, Brent Sweet Light Crude, Oseburg and Forties.

Brent Blend is ideal for the production of gasoline due to its low sulpher content.

West Texas Intermediate is also one of the benchmarks used to help grade quality and thus, the output price per barrel. When the price per barrel is quoted in market reports, it is generally this grade of crude oil that is used as reference - along with Brent Blend prices. A very light grade of crude, this classification is even lighter in sulphur content than the Brent Blend, making it even more suited for refinement into other oil and gas products.

The grade of crude oil termed OPEC Basket refers to oil found in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya and other Eastern and world nations that make up OPEC (Oil Producing and Exporting Cartel).

This classification of crude oil has many sub-grades including Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Fateh (Dubai), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Minas (Indonesia), Saharan Blend (Algeria) and Tijuana Light (Venezuela). OPEC tries to control the world price of oil by manipulating production levels.

When there's too much oil in the world reserves, OPEC cuts back their own production levels to maintain a good selling price. This grade of crude oil is a heavier blend of crude than Brent Blend or West Texas Intermediate.

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