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The History of Oil Trading: From Spices to Black Gold

By KWS Adams May11,2023
Oil trading

The history of oil trading is a fascinating journey that began centuries ago with the trade of spices and eventually led to the discovery and exploration of black gold. Oil has become a vital resource for the global economy, and its trading has played a crucial role in shaping the modern world. In this article, we will explore the history of oil trading from its early days to the present and how it has impacted the world as we know it.You can check use of blockchain in oil trading

The Early Days of Oil Trading

Oil trading has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t always a vital commodity. In the early days, oil was primarily used for lighting and as a lubricant for machinery. The first recorded oil trade occurred in the 7th century when Chinese and Japanese merchants traded oil from Southeast Asia.

During the Middle Ages, oil was traded along the Silk Road, which was a network of trade routes that connected the East and the West. Oil was primarily traded for its medicinal properties and was used in perfumes, ointments, and as a fuel for lamps.

The Birth of the Oil Industry

The modern oil industry began in the mid-19th century when the first commercial oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania. This discovery sparked a rush to find oil, and soon, oil was discovered in other parts of the United States and in other countries, including Russia and the Middle East.

As the demand for oil grew, so did the need for a way to transport it. The invention of the steam engine led to the development of the first oil tankers, which were used to transport oil from one place to another.

The Rise of Oil Trading

Oil trading as we know it today began in the early 20th century when the first oil futures contract was created. Futures contracts allow traders to buy or sell a commodity at a specific price and date in the future. This allowed oil producers to lock in prices for their oil and gave investors a way to speculate on the price of oil.

The establishment of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960 marked a significant shift in the oil industry. OPEC is a group of 13 countries that produce the majority of the world’s oil. By controlling the supply of oil, OPEC has significant influence over the price of oil.

The Impact of Oil Trading on the World

Oil trading has had a significant impact on the world economy and on geopolitics. The discovery and exploitation of oil reserves in the Middle East have led to the development of wealthy nations, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

The oil industry has also played a significant role in shaping world politics. The 1973 oil crisis, for example, occurred when OPEC countries imposed an oil embargo on countries that supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The embargo led to a significant increase in oil prices and caused a recession in many countries, including the United States.

The Future of Oil Trading

The future of oil trading is uncertain. While oil will likely remain a significant commodity for years to come, there is growing concern over the impact of oil on the environment. The development of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, is reducing the demand for oil.


The history of oil trading is a fascinating journey that has shaped the modern world. From its early days as a commodity traded along the Silk Road to its present-day status as a vital resource for the global economy, oil trading has had a significant impact on the world. While the future of oil trading is uncertain, it will continue to play a significant role in shaping the world for years to come.

By KWS Adams

My name is KWS Adams . (Call me Kateregga). I am an IT addict who loves playing around with computers and internet. Computers help me try out different things while turning them into reality, while the internet powers me stay live online. Besides computers, I am a project planning and management professional with an Award obtained from MUK, one of the oldest and best Universities in Africa. Find me on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp. Find more on how to contact me using the contact me page.

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