Prices of OPEC Reference Basket oils 2002-2018

From 2002 to 2018, prices of OPEC Reference Basket oils fluctuated dramatically. For example, Saharan Blend from Algeria stood at some 25 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2002. Ten years later, this figure had increased to more than 111 U.S. dollars, before decreasing to 72.11 U.S. dollars in 2018.

Falling prices and recovery

Prices soared during the 2008 global financial crisis and reached a peak in 2012 before a major downturn. In 2014, the average annual OPEC crude oil price dropped by nearly half in part due to global surplus. Since then, recovery has been gradual, but OPEC prices are not projected (#282785) to reach the levels of the early 2010s in the next two decades.

Shale oil overproduction

The 2010s oil glut was caused in part by escalating production of domestic shale and tight oil in the United States after the development of hydraulic fracturing as an extraction method in the wake of the global recession. Though nearly 80 percent of global oil reserves can be found in OPEC countries, the United States has become the largest producer of oil worldwide in the last ten years.

Prices of OPEC Reference Basket oils from 2002 to 2018

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

2002 to 2018

Supplementary notes

OPEC Reference Basket (ORB): Up to May 2005, ORB was calculated according to the old methodology. As of June 16, 2005, the new Basket methodology was implemented (for details, please refer to OPEC Basket definition under ‘General Notes’). Basrah Light: up to 2001, delivery ex–Yanbu. As of 2002, quotations for US market and as of June 16, 2005, Market Weighted Average. Up to 2005, prices are averages of weekly fob quotations. As of 2006, based on daily quotations.
* Qatar left OPEC in January 2019. Prices have been left in this statistic for posterity reasons.
** Prior to 2009, price of BCF–17 which was the component of the OPEC Basket and was replaced by Merey in 2009.
*** Data not available.

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