Today, the price of Brent crude oil is at $87.81 per barrel, and the price of WTI crude oil is at $85.43 per barrel.
See the historical price charts and analysis below.
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Today’s Brent crude oil spot price is at $87.81 per barrel, up by 1.46% from one week ago at $86.55 per barrel.
Brent crude oil opened the year of 2021 amidst an uptrend that began in November, 2020 from $38.84 per barrel and continued the rally to $68.72 per barrel until early March, 2021.
In comparison to the end price of 2021’s opening rally, today’s Brent crude oil prices are up 27.78%.
Today’s WTI crude oil spot price of $85.43 per barrel is up 1.29% compared to one week ago at $84.34 per barrel.
WTI crude oil also opened 2021 with an uptrend at $48.27 per barrel. WTI crude had a series of rallies and tumbles to reach a year-high price of $84.06 per barrel in late October, 2021.
WTI crude is currently up 76.98% compared to its 2021 year opening price.
This guide explains exactly what the oil spot price represents and what factors determine the constantly moving live price.
We also explain what oil blends are (like Brent and WTI), and ways you can speculate on live crude oil spot prices without having to buy physical barrels.
Read on to learn more about the live crude oil price you see historically, or on active trading days.
Brent vs. WTI Crude Oil Prices Compared
Here’s a performance summary of recent Brent and WTI spot crude oil prices:
What Is The Brent Crude Oil Spot Price?
A simple way to understand oil spot prices is by breaking down the meaning of a complex term like ‘Brent crude oil spot price’:
- Brent — the type of oil blend, as opposed to another oil blend like West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
- Crude oil — the physical asset being brought or sold, in this case, crude oil with minimal processing
- Spot price — the present price indicator at which an asset can be purchased or sold on the market
So, when you see a price tag named ‘Brent crude oil spot price’, it refers to the current market price of Brent blend crude oil. The spot price indicates the cost at which Brent crude oil can be brought or sold.
Oil prices are typically quoted per barrel — this is the same for the Brent crude oil spot price.
How Are Crude Oil Spot Prices Determined?
Crude oil is extracted from underground oil reserves. In Brent crude oil’s instance, these reserves are under the seafloor, while WTI crude oil is extracted from reserves located under dry land. That’s the first component of oil prices — the extraction process and machinery required.
Extracting crude oil from below the seafloor requires different machines than digging up oil on dry land. That cost will determine how much the extracting parties sell or refine the oil further before the commodity enters the market.
The location and quality of crude oil then impact the sophistication of refining required. In turn, the technology and resources needed to purify the blend are also factored in and influence a profitable market value for oil extractors and processors.
Aside from the physical groundwork of gathering and processing oil, market regulations are the true price-determinants of crude oil spot prices. Crude oil market regulations control supply and dynamics, thus price, based on factors like:
- Politics: Oil availability and the necessary means to access that oil may result in political conflict between domestic and international jurisdictions.
- Social & Environmental: Increasing awareness of human behavior’s influence on the environment, resulting in stricter benchmarks to justify the use of long-life-cycle fossil fuels like crude oil. OPEC is an example of an influential organization in the crude oil space.
- Economical: Depending on the influence of powerful individuals behind oil supply chains, market regulations may be subject to seemingly unwarranted change, causing violent price swings.
Technological developments and changes in resource distributions along the oil supply chain will also impact crude oil spot prices. The increased focus on renewable energy is already accelerating such changes.
How To Set Up Google Alerts For Oil Price News
An easy way to get breaking news about the crude oil market is to create a Google Alert which will email you top news stories about oil as they occur.
- Go to Google Alerts.
- Type “crude oil” in the search box.
- Choose how often you’d like to receive alert emails:
- As it happens
- once a day
- once a week.
- Choose the sources you want Google to search — eg, Blogs, Finance, or News.
- Choose the language of the content you want to search through.
- Choose the country of the content’s origin.
- Choose how many results to have delivered:
- All results
- Only the best results, based on Google’s algorithms
- Enter the email address where you want to receive your alerts.
An Overview Of Oil Prices
In financial terms, oil is a “fungible” commodity, which means that specific grades of oil are identical for oil trading purposes, regardless of where they were produced.
For example, a contract for 1,000 barrels of WTI crude will be the same product whether the oil was extracted in Texas or North Dakota.
See today’s live Brent crude and WTI crude oil prices in our Oil Price Guide. You can also use complex technical analysis tools and oscillators to aid your trading.
Supply and Demand
As with all commodities, oil prices are driven by supply and demand. However, the global pool of oil and the ease with which oil moves around the world levels some of these price pressures.
The global oil monopoly somewhat limits the influence of any one particular oil producer to completely dominate the world market.
From time to time new oil resources come online — like Canadian oil sands or US shale oil — these add to the global supply. New sources can exert a downward force on oil prices, even in times of heavy demand.
Extraction costs are typically higher for new resources, meaning these oils are only competitive in lower-supply, high-price environments.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted increasing global demand for crude oil back in 2019, due to:
- An increasing world population
- Increased energy consumption in developing countries
- Growth in transportation, petrochemical, and aviation industries.
Even though Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries are reducing their road transportation oil consumption on a per-vehicle basis, the growing automobile fleet in developing countries far outpaces such reductions.
Many unforeseen events can also impact the price of crude oil, driving it up for down. For example:
- After the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s, the price of oil rose sharply.
- The 2020 outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic saw crude oil plummet to a negative price per barrel. The IEA expects crude oil consumption to be much lower in 2020.
Further Reading On Crude Oil
Want to learn more about crude oil? See these guides:
- Crude oil as a commodity — detailed guide on extraction, processing, and the consumer market
- Crude oil trading — how and where to speculate on crude oil spot prices
- Largest oil pruducing US states — statistics on total annual oil production, oil reserves, refineries, and more
Did you know that natural gas and crude oil share much in common in terms of molecular make-up? You can learn more in our natural gas commodity guide.
Oil Price FAQs
What is the unit of oil price?
Oil prices are quoted per barrel (bbl). The abbreviation ‘bbl’ indicates one barrel of crude oil, but you may see Gbbl (one billion barrels), as well as Mbbl or Kbbl for one thousand barrels. For example, you can see that Brent crude oil spot prices are quoted by the barrel (bbl), as are West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices on global futures exchanges like NYMEX.
What is today’s Brent crude oil price?
Today’s live Brent crude oil spot price is at $87.81 per barrel. That’s up 1.46% from last week’s price of $86.55 per barrel. Brent crude oil trades six days a week, so based on which day you’re looking at crude oil spot prices, you may be getting the last recorded live price. At local time on Sundays for your chosen exchange, you’ll almost certainly get the last Brent crude oil spot price that the market closed with.
What is today’s WTI crude oil price?
Today’s live Brent crude oil spot price is at $85.43 per barrel. That’s up by 1.29% from the price of $84.34 per barrel one week ago. WTI crude oil trades from Sunday through to Friday, 5 PM to 4PM CT. If you check live prices on Saturdays, you will always see the last recorded WTI crude price from the previous Friday.
What was the price of oil one month ago?
Exactly one month ago, Brent crude oil’s spot price was at $76.62 per barrel. Compared to today’s price of $87.81 per barrel, the price is up 14.6%.
WTI crude oil’s spot price was at $73.97 per barrel one month ago. Compared to today’s price of $85.43 per barrel, the price is up by 15.49%.
What was the highest ever oil price?
The highest ever historical WTI crude oil price was at $141.63 per barrel. Compared to today’s spot price that’s down 39.68%. Other significant recent historical highs include $77.74 per barrel in Jul, 2006 and $109.50 per barrel in Aug, 2013.