How Are Different Types of Crude Oil Classified?

Have you ever wondered why crude oil is called as sweet crude, light crude, sour crude, light sweet crude, etc. ? Crude oil is classified based on two factors: API Gravity and Sweetness.

1.API Gravity:

1.API Gravity is oil’s density to water and ranges from “light” to “heavy”. The market’s preferred type is the “light” variety.


Sweetness measures the sulphur content of the oil. If oil contains less than 0.5% sulphur then it is considered “sweet”. Oil with more than 0.5% sulphur is considered “sour”. The market prefers the “sweet” variety. Oil extracted in Northern Europe and Central U.S. are sweet crude while oil pumped in the Middle East is “sour”. “Sweet” crude is better because it requires less processing to remove impurities.

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Source: Market Index


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