The commodity of crude oil is by far the world’s most important energy source and the price of oil therefore plays an important role in industrial and economic development. There are different types of crude oil. The most important type of crude oil used in Europe is Brent Crude, named after the North Sea oilfield where it is extracted. Brent Crude is a particularly light crude oil which is carried from the North Sea to the Sullom Voe Terminal on Mainland, Shetland by an underwater pipeline. From there, the crude oil is transported by tanker.

Besides its primary role as the most important energy source, crude oil is also an essential raw material for manufacturing plastics. Crude oil is also used in cosmetics and medicines. Because the supply of crude oil is limited but demand is constantly increasing, the price of oil is also continuously rising. Because crude oil is needed to manufacture other primary materials, it is the world’s most important commodity. The US investment bank Goldman Sachs estimates the proportion of crude oil used for primary materials production to be 45 per cent.

The price of oil is the most important value on the international commodity markets. Crude oil is the most important commodity and emerging industrial markets such as China, India and Latin America greatly influence the price of oil, since they require more and more oil to support their economic growth and resulting rise in energy consumption. The supply of crude oil is limited, however, and cannot be increased further, since it has become increasingly difficult to find and develop new oil reserves in recent years.