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What are the Most Commonly Used Petroleum Types?

It is known that more than 150 types of petroleum are today.

Oil prices, which are also conveniently available everywhere, depend on one of these three types.

The most commonly used oil types in financial markets




  • It is a dense, heavy and high-sulfur oil extracted in Middle Eastern countries. Oman oil, which is included in the salt oil group, is traded on the Dubai Commodity Exchange (Dubai Commodity Exchange - DME).

  • It is the benchmark for slightly lower quality oil than WTI or Brent.

  • It is the main reference for Persian Gulf oil transported to the Asian market.

WTI OİL.jpeg


  • WTI oil is a type of oil extracted in the American state of West Texas. It is relatively expensive to ship to certain parts of the world. One of the disadvantages of West Texas crude oil is that the supply is locked to land.

  • It is light and sweet, making WTI particularly ideal for gasoline refining. WTI has a sulfur content of 0.24 to 0.34 percent. This ratio shows that WTI is a high-quality type of crude oil. Because the lower the sulfur content of the oil, the easier it is to refine.

  • WTI is the main benchmark for oil consumed in the United States.



  • It is obtained from the North Sea. It is mined from the region between the Shetland Islands and Norway. It is light and sweet, making it ideal for refining diesel fuel, gasoline and other high-demand products.

  • Brent, which has a lower density than others, is the world's highest quality and most valuable oil type after WTI crude oil.

  • The sulfur content is in the range of 0.35-0.40 percent. Brent is the most widely used benchmark worldwide. Approximately two-thirds of all crude oil contracts in the world are based on Brent crude oil.

  • At the same time, since it is extracted from the sea, its transportation by water is both easier and more cost-effective.

What is Sweet and Salt Oil?

While talking about Brent, WTI and oil, we talked about concepts such as sweet, salty, light and heavy. Whether oil is sweet or salty depends on the sulfur content it contains. Oil with a low sulfur content is considered sweet. If it has a high sulfur content, then it is expressed as salty.

Sweet crude oil has a sulfur content well below 1 percent, allowing crude oil to be classified as sweet.

A sulfur content of 1-2 percent indicates salty crude oil. Medium-sized companies that transport, store and process oil that is high in sulfur require extra processing to remove the sulfur and sweeten the product.


What are Heavy and Light Oil?

The fact that crude oil is light means it requires less processing and is ideal. Light oil produces higher amounts of gasoline and diesel compared to heavy. Being heavy means that it evaporates slowly and will be used to make heavy products such as asphalt.

The standard unit of measurement for crude oil weight is API Gravity. This scale was created by the American Petroleum Institute to measure the density of oil. If the API value of crude oil is high, it is understood to be light, and if the API value is low, it is heavy.

***Gravity is a value used to measure the quality of oil, and American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity is used in accordance with international agreements. All oils have a gravity. The quality of oil is proportional to its gravity value. Whether the extracted oil is valuable or not can be measured by its gravity value. The higher the gravity value, the higher the value of oil. It is based on the specific gravity of the oil, i.e. its density.

The API value of water with a density of 1 gr/cc is accepted as 10 and is formulated as API = (141.5/SG)- 131.5.


What is gravity?

SG (Specific Gravity) stands for “Oil Density/Water Density”. While light oil has a higher API gravity value, its API gravity value will decrease as its density increases. As the API gravity value increases, the value of oil in the market increases.

  • Oil with an API value of 27–35 is commonly found in the world. IPE Brent Oil has a value of 38 API.

  • The heaviest oil found in the world is recorded as 5-7 API and the lightest oil is recorded as 57 API.


What Affects Oil Prices?

  • Oil prices are primarily affected by supply and demand. For example, if supply is high and demand is low, oil prices will decline. The oversupply decline in 2016 is an example of this.

  • The decisions taken by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have an impact on oil prices. The Union's decisions to reduce the supply of oil in recent years have created an upward movement in prices.

  • Geopolitical risks are also the most important factor affecting oil prices. In addition to the crises seen in the wars in the Middle East, the recent Russia-Ukraine war is an example of this situation.

  • Recession, which refers to two consecutive quarters of contraction in the economy, is also a factor for oil prices. Recession news, especially from world giants the USA and China, may affect prices downwards as it will create demand pressure.

  • Macroeconomic data and production status of producing countries are important for oil prices. For example, if the USA produces more or releases its strategic reserves, it will be effective in reducing prices.

  • Bottlenecks in transportation are factors in pricing for commodity products. Disruptions following attacks on strategic points have increased prices.

  • Another important factor in determining oil prices is sensitivity. Expectations or speculation that oil demand will increase or decrease dramatically at some point in the future may influence the direction.


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