Factors That Affect the Crude Oil Price

Reed Cagle

April 6, 2023

Many factors influence the price of crude oil. Weather reports, natural disasters, and geopolitical issues are just a few. For instance, if weather forecasters predict a hot summer or extremely cold winter, there is a high chance that demand for heating oil will increase. This will result in higher heating oil prices and potentially increase demand for crude oil.

Crude Oil Grades

Crude oil can be a complex subject with different varieties and grades depending on how it is extracted. These can be grouped into heavy, light, and sweet or sour grades, refined into various products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels.

Many factors influence the price of crude oil. Supply and demand dynamics, production costs, and investor sentiment drive them. A key factor is the quality of the crude. This is determined by the API gravity of the crude and the amount of sulfur present.

Generally speaking, lighter crudes are easier and less costly to produce. They are also more valuable from an economic perspective.

Brent and WTI (West Texas Intermediate) are the two most traded grades. They are produced in the North Sea and America and trade on the London and New York Mercantile Exchanges.

TAN Count

Most crude contain a mix of paraffin, naphthenes and aromatics with a small proportion of organic and metallic compounds. They can vary widely in density, specific gravity, and viscosity.

TAN testing is a chemical analysis of the acidity of crude, which measures how much weak organic and strong inorganic acids are present within the oil. TAN values are determined for both new and used oil samples.

The more acid a lubricant is, the more it will degrade, and the more it will cause corrosion problems. TAN test results are important to keep track of because they can indicate the corrosiveness of the oil and how long it will last. Higher TAN counts indicate an oil that may deteriorate quickly and damage equipment over time, whereas lower TAN counts indicate a more robust oil that will last longer.

Crude oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons fueling engines and power homes. It is also an important raw material in producing plastics and other synthetic materials.


A variety of factors determine the price of crude. These include current market demand, the cost of storage, and future expectations. However, the most important factor is the price of futures contracts.

Crude oil futures contracts are traded between large companies that produce and consume oil and speculators. They are designed to allow these entities to lock in an advantageous price for the commodity and hedge against price volatility.

They are also popular with investors who want to take advantage of the market’s volatility without getting involved in actual deliveries. Traders can close out their positions before expiration or roll over their contracts into new ones.

The price of crude oil futures contracts fluctuates in response to new information and supply changes that impact oil-producing countries. This can occur within a matter of minutes or hours.

Crude Oil Spot

Crude oil spot prices are determined by the balance between supply and demand in different markets. Unlike futures contracts, spot prices are not traded on exchanges and can fluctuate quickly depending on current news or market conditions.

The price of crude oil is determined by supply and demand and market sentiment. However, these are only a part of the equation that drives the price of it.

One way to profit from the price of it is by trading futures contracts. Each contract represents 1,000 barrels, and dates for delivery are available up to nine years into the future.

If the market is in “contango” — where the futures price of crude oil is higher than the expected spot price — this can make it easy to take advantage of the volatility that comes with oil. This strategy can help you make large profits if you can time the market perfectly.