Crude oil is a naturally-occurring substance found in certain rock formations in the earth. It is a dark, sticky liquid which, scientifically speaking, is classified as a hydrocarbon. This means, it is a compound containing carbon and hydrogen, with or without non-metallic elements such as oxygen and sulphur. Crude oil is highly flammable and can be burned to create energy. Along with its sister hydrocarbon, natural gas, derivatives from crude oil make it an excellent fuel.
The new OPEC Reference Basket (ORB), implemented as of 10 September 2007, is currently made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). As of January 2006: The Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly & Yearly averages are based on daily quotations. As of 10 September 2007 (ORB price for 7 Sep.), the Basket Price includes the Angolan Crude ‘Girassol.’ The inclusion of ‘Girassol’ in the ORB calculation is retroactive as of January 2007. As of 19 October 2007, the Basket Price includes the Ecuadorean crude ‘Oriente’, As of January ..2009 the Basket price excludes the Indonesian crude ‘Minas’. As of January 2009, the Venezuelan crude “BCF-17” was replaced by the crude “Merey”.