The Term Structure of Oil Futures Prices
In recent years, there has been a massive development of derivative financial products in oil markets. The main interest came from large energy end-users who found in them a welcome opportunity to lock in fixed or maximum prices for their supplies over a period of time. Oil companies and oil traders were able to provide tailor-made swaps or options for the specific needs of the end-users. It all started with refined petroleum product swaps traded only for short maturities. Soon after, a new interest in long-term swaps and options on crude oil emerged. At the same time, several financial institutions launched oil-linked bonds and option warrants. Most of these long-term instruments were based on the price of the West Texas Intermediate (wn) because of the liquidity of the futures and option contracts traded in the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).