Oil is not the same around the world.
It can be light or heavy based on its density. It can be sweet or sour depending on its sulfur content. And these characteristics have major affects on price.
“Crude oils that are light (higher degrees of API gravity, or lower density) and sweet (low sulfur content) are usually priced higher than heavy, sour crude oils,” explains the Energy Information Association. “This is partly because gasoline and diesel fuel, which typically sell at a significant premium to residual fuel oil and other “bottom of the barrel” products, can usually be more easily and cheaply produced using light, sweet crude oil. The light sweet grades are desirable because they can be processed with far less sophisticated and energy-intensive processes/refineries.”
Of course there are many other variables that factor into price like access ability, supply, distance to refineries, etc.
Morgan Stanley’s analysts just published a presentation with a map snapshotting prices around the world. It also includes information about density and sulfur levels.
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