Price of Petroleum
The price of petroleum as quoted in news generally refers to the spot price of either WTI/Light Crude as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) for delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma, or of Brent as traded on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE, into which the International Petroleum Exchange has been incorporated) for delivery at Sullom Voe. The price of a barrel of oil is highly dependent on both its grade, determined by factors such as its specific gravity or API and its sulphur content, and its location. The vast majority of oil is not traded on an exchange but on an over-the-counter basis. Other important benchmarks include Dubai, Tapis, and the OPEC basket. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) uses the imported refiner acquisition cost, the weighted average cost of all oil imported into the US, as its "world oil price".
The demand for oil is highly dependent on global macroeconomic conditions. According to the International Energy Agency, high oil prices generally have a large negative impact on the global economic growth. The huge surpluses built up by oil exporting countries were recycled through sovereign wealth funds and the banking system and (through the money multiplier) greatly increased investments in emerging markets and helped hold down interest rates in the U.S.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed to control the price of oil, and essentially worked as a cartel.