Crude Oil Futures


Crude Oil futures prices change in response to new information, and reflect the adjustments being made to previous and prospective expectations based on reports and supply. Price shocks to futures prices can occur rapidly – by the minute or the hour – as events change in oil-producing nations.


Crude oil futures began trading on the NYMEX in 1983. Crude is the most actively-traded energy futures product in the world. It’s the most liquid global energy benchmark, trading nearly 850,000 futures and options contracts daily. Open Interest in crude oil exceeds three million lots – equal to more than three billion barrels. During the last major oil rally in 2009-2010, the futures contract gained 100 percent in a year.


Crude oil is a commodity pumped from the ground in the Middle East. Petroleum products include transportation fuels, fuel oils for heating and electricity generation, asphalt and road oil, and the feeds tocks used to make chemicals, plastics, and synthetic materials found in nearly everything used in most nations today. Oil products include Brent light crude oil and types such as light, heavy, sweet and sour. The world market trades mainly light, sweet crude oil futures because the product requires less refinement.


  • Crude oil futures react to the API Weekly Statistical Bulletin and the EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report.
  • Light sweet crude oil futures are delivered every year in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December
  • Crude Oil Futures are traded at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM).
  • NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures prices are quoted in dollars and cents per barrel and are traded in lot sizes of 1000 barrels (42000 gallons).
  • NYMEX Brent crude oil futures are traded in units of 1000 barrels (42000 gallons) and contract prices are quoted in dollars and cents per barrel.
  • TOCOM crude oil futures prices are quoted in yen per kiloliter and are traded in lot sizes of 50 kiloliters (13,210 gallons).

You can learn more about Energies futures by downloading our guide, Free Fundamentals of Trading Energies Futures.


Contract Specifications 

Contract SymbolContract UnitPrice Quotation
GCL1,000 barrelsdollars per barrel
Trading ExchangeTrading HoursTick Value
CME GLOBEX18:00 - 17:15$0.01/barrel

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This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of RJO Futures and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by RJO Futures Research Department. By accepting this communication, you agree that you are an experienced user of the futures markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, and agree that you are not, and will not, rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions.