WTI vs Brent: Difference and Comparison

Crude oil consists of hydrocarbon deposits and organic material and is a natural source of petroleum. It is further refined into other products like diesel, gasoline, and other petrochemical products.

The two main benchmark prices for the purchases of crude oil internationally and worldwide are WTI and Brent. Both have distinct features.

Key Takeaways

  1. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) is a benchmark for US oil prices, while Brent Crude represents European and global oil prices.
  2. WTI has a lower sulfur content, resulting in a sweeter and lighter crude oil than Brent.
  3. Brent Crude is more widely used in international markets due to its diverse sources from the North Sea.

WTI vs Brent

The difference between WTI and Brent is that Brent contains lower sulfur content which is about 0.24% while Brent contains higher sulfur content which is about 0.37%. The API gravity of WTI is lower while the API gravity of Brent crude is slightly higher.

WTI vs Brent

WTI implies West Texas Intermediate. WTI oil grade is considered as one of the highest quality of oil and the oil can be easily refined due to its superior quality.

The grade is also regarded as light crude oil as it is of low density. The sourcing of WTI is mainly from the United States and caters as a benchmark for North America.

On the other hand, Brent crude belongs to the Brent complex. The oil was first extracted from the North Sea. About two-thirds of the oil of the world is priced according to Brent crude.

Brent can also signify the price of the ICE Brent crude oil for the contract itself or the future contract.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWTIBrent
SourceThe source of WTI crude is from US oil fields The source of Brent crude is from the North Sea which is between Norway and the Shetland Islands
Sulphur content 0.24% 0.37%
Transportation costs Significantly higher Lower
Total Production rate HigherComparatively Lower
Geopolitical trouble WTI is not affected by any geopolitical trouble as it is produced in landlocked areasBrent crude is affected by the geopolitical crisis as it is produced near the sea and causes surges from political uncertainty

What is WTI?

WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate. It refers to a mix or a grade of crude oil, spot price, assessed price, or even the future price. The price of the New York Merchantile Exchange or NYMEX is referred to by WTI.

Also Read:  Alzheimer’s vs Parkinson’s Disease: Difference and Comparison

The oil grade of WTI is also called Texas light sweet. It is considered as one of the highest quality of oil and the oil can be easily refined due to its superior quality.

The spot and futures prices provided in WTI can act as a benchmark in oil pricing. The grade is also regarded as light crude oil as it is of low density and sweet due to its low sulfur content.

The price of WTI is published in various public sources like news, magazine, and other reports. WTI is comparatively lighter, sweeter, and contains less sulfur than Brent, Oman, or Dubai crude.

Oil from any location can meet WTI consideration if it has the required qualifications. The sourcing of WTI is mainly from the United States and caters as a benchmark for North America.

The production of oil is in Texas which is traveled in the pipelines and refined in the gulf and the Midwest of Mexico.

The primary delivery point for price settlement and physical exchange of WTI are in Cushing, located in Oklahoma. The delivery system in the hub of Cushing consists of about 35 pipelines. Out of the 35 pipelines, 15 are outbound and 20 are inbound.

There are 16 storage terminals also. The total storage capacity of the Cushing hub is 90 million barrels. The place is also commonly known as the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World”.

west texas intermediate

What is Brent?

Brent crude belongs from the Brent complex which includes financially and physically traded oil market in the North Sea of Northwest Europe.

Brent can also signify the price of the ICE Brent crude oil for the contract itself or the future contract. The oil market in Brent crude is termed as Brent blend, Brent petroleum, and also London Brent.

Also Read:  Windmill vs Wind Turbine: Difference and Comparison

Brent crude is a sweet light crude oil. The oil was first extracted from the North Sea in the Brent oil field in the year 1976. Later other oil fields were added to the crude oil blends.

The present Brent consists of manufacturers from Brent, Oseberg, the Forties, Troll, Ekofisk, and various others. The sulfur content in Brent is about 0.37%.

The quality of the Brent blend is light because of the low density relatively. It is also sweet because it has a low sulfur content. Brent is one of the leading global crude oils and sets a benchmark for the Atlantic basin oils.

It can also set the price of internationally traded oil supplies. The price fluctuations depend on the Brent forward market.

About two-thirds of the oil of the world is priced according to Brent crude. The transportation costs of Brent crude are significantly lower as the production is near the sea.

Brent crude can be easily refined into gasoline due to its characteristics. The general characteristics of Brent crude are that it is less light and sweeter than WTI.

brent crude

Main Differences Between WTI and Brent

  1. WTI crude oil does not associate with any specific crude oil type while Brent crude associates with a particular crude oil produced from a specific oil field.
  2. The production of WTI is in landlocked areas while the production of Brent crude is near the sea.
  3. WTI is slightly lighter and sweeter than Brent.
  4. The pricing of WTI is lower while the pricing of Brent is comparatively higher.
  5. The API gravity of WTI is lower while the API gravity of Brent crude is slightly higher.
Difference Between WTI and Brent
References
  1. https://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejarticle.aspx?id=2541
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140988318301646

Last Updated : 02 July, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

6 thoughts on “WTI vs Brent: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is an eye-opener. I have heard about WTI and Brent but knew very little about their differences. This article helped me understand the seaward and landlocked production areas for WTI and Brent and how they affect the pricing. The comparison table was quite insightful.

    Reply
  2. The article provides such an interesting comparison between WTI and Brent. The most important thing I found here was the sulfur content of both. It’s quite astonishing how this single factor makes a world of difference in the quality and pricing of these benchmarks. Some great insights on geographical implications.

    Reply
  3. As a vast consumer of petroleum products, it helped me immensely to draw a clear comparison between WTI and Brent. The reference links and the difference between API gravity of WTI and Brent was just excellent. This article is an asset for consumers and traders alike.

    Reply
  4. I found this article to be extremely informative. The comparative nature of WTI and Brent to understand the distinction in oil prices was explained in a very effective way. It made understanding the underlying factors influencing the prices of these two benchmarks quite simple.

    Reply
  5. This has been one of the most technically detailed and information-rich articles I have read. The clarity and depth of analysis in highlighting WTI and Brent has left me very impressed. The section about the delivery system of WTI in the Cushing hub was particularly intriguing.

    Reply
  6. I must say that this article is an absolute goldmine for research. It contains all the relevant information about WTI and Brent, including historical aspects, quality, and the key differences that make them unique. The section on the main differences between WTI and Brent was very well articulated.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!