Measure for measure

Claims that the WTI price benchmark has become ineffective have led some in the oil industry to call for a new US marker for sour crude. Roderick Bruce measures industry reaction and the potential for a global sour crude benchmark

Simmering discontent with the traditional pricing mechanism for North American light sweet crude oil exploded earlier this year following an intense, record-breaking dislocation of West Texas Intermediate prices from other global grades between late December 2008 and March 2009. Many in the industry now claim WTI is an ineffective gauge of the US oil market, and therefore wholly inaccurate as a benchmark on which to base the valuation of other domestic and foreign oil grades.

The price of West

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