The world’s most actively traded commodity based on crude oil, which is unrefined oil that is a popular source of energy and energy-related products. Contracts on many different types of oil are traded on exchanges throughout the world. In the United States, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is the major trading exchange for crude oil futures contracts. In the United Kingdom, the major trading venue is the International Petroleum Exchange.
Light sweet crude oil is preferred by refiners because of its ability to yield high levels of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel. Other trading exchanges throughout the world also trade futures and options on many different varieties of crude oil. The benchmark light, sweet crude oil contract that NYMEX bases its contract on is the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil that is delivered in Midland, Texas. Cash prices for WTI are quoted at Cushing, Oklahoma, which is a major crude oil shipment point that has extensive pipeline connections to oil producing areas and Southwest and Gulf Coast-based refining centers.