This article is about prices for futures contracts on a specific kind of oil. For oil prices in general, see the article on Oil Prices.
Brent Crude (also known as Brent Blend, London Brent, and Brent petroleum) is a crude oil sourced from the North Sea (the region between the British Isles, mainland Europe, and Scandinavia). It is generally classified as a light, sweet crude blend, thereby making it easy to refine. It is however, not as light as light crude (often referred to as West Texas Intermediate to distinguish the somewhat confusing nomenclature).
Brent Crude futures are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange under ticker symbol BZ. Futures contracts are delivered every month of the year. (For more information on commodity tickers, check out the commodity ticker construction page.)
While Brent Crude futures have, as with most other important energy commodities, been always traded in US Dollars per barrel, Singapore's pan-Asian multi-product commodity and currency derivatives exchange - the Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) - currently lists Brent Crude Futures Contracts priced in Euros, in a move to provide alternative, unique hedging strategies, which would benefit participants with Euro-related business considerations for example.
To-date SMX is the first global exchange for Brent Crude with Euro-denominated contracts, and is also the first Asian exchange to list futures contracts for both Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate Crude.
Heavy crude oil is typically defined as having a specific gravity greater than .933; however the distinction is often more functional than empirical, with any crude being labeled "heavy" that does not flow as well as its light counterpart.
What makes crude oil "sweet" is a low sulfur content (typically < 0.5%) which results in lower refinery costs and fewer impurities. While this is generally the crude oil refined into gasoline, some refining companies, notably Valero Energy (VLO), have developed refining processes that allow them to refine more challenging, but cheaper, higher-sulfur petroleum.