West Texas Intermediate Light Sweet Crude Oil

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is of very high quality and is excellent for refining a larger portion of gasoline. Its API gravity is 39.6 degrees (making it a “light” crude oil), and it contains only about 0.24 percent of sulfur (making a “sweet” crude oil). This combination of characteristics, combined with its location, makes it an ideal crude oil to be refined in the United States, the largest gasoline consuming country in the world.

It is one of the main three benchmarks in oil pricing, along with Brent and Dubai Crude.

Most WTI crude oil gets refined in the Midwest region of the U.S., with some more refined within the Gulf Coast region. Although the production of WTI crude oil is on the decline, it still is the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas. WTI is generally priced at about a $5 to $6 per-barrel premium to the OPEC Basket price and about $1 to $2 per-barrel premium to Brent Crude Oil, although on a daily basis the pricing relationships between these can vary greatly.[1]

Futures contracts on WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil are offered in the U.S. by both the InterContinental Exchange (ICE) and NYMEX, and in Dubai by the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange.

See: NYMEX Light Sweet Crude Oil, ICE West Texas Intermediate Light Sweet Crude Oil, and DGCX WTI Light Sweet Crude Oil


  1. Pricing Differences Among Different Types of Crude Oil. Energy Information Administration.