Is an oil barrel worth more than the oil it holds?

Just out of curiosity, is the barrel itself now worth more than the oil inside? I don’t think the containers sell for less than the $30ish that oil currently trades for.

Oil is measured in barrels, but not usually stored or shipped in such small containers. Tanker ships, train cars and pipelines are more usual.

Empty barrels go for around $95.

I can get a used steel barrel suitable for holding oil for about $50, so to you answer your question, if you needed to transport a barrel of crude oil from point A to point B in the back of your pickup truck, the oil in the barrel is likely cheaper than the barrel itself. Does the $27 spot price for a barrel of crude oil assume a minimum purchase?

Wholesale price is probably under $30, but it is near the cross over point. It’s not that unusual for containers to cost more than their contents, a plastic soda bottle may be worth more than the soda inside, and that doesn’t even get reused. As mentioned above, very little of the world’s oil is kept in barrels, and there are a lot of different sizes of barrels for different industries, but the manufacturers must make millions of steel barrels annually and most of them will have commodity level pricing.

Yep, Steel drums go for around $99or so. But as **Crotalus **says, oil is virtually never shipped in them.

New or reconditioned?

A barrel of oil is generally considered to be 42 gallons (for historical wooden barrel sizing) but there aren’t really 42 gallon steel drums or barrels. The standard drum or barrel is 55 gallons. If you want to buy just one, it run your around $60-70. You can lower your price if you are willing to accept reconditioned drums and buy in volume.

As Crotalus mentioned most oil is transported in tankers and or via pipeline, and never sees the inside of a barrel.

And either way, for most barrels the amount of oil carried in them during their useful life is much more valuable than the container, as they are repeatedly reused.

Not only is there very little crude oil in barrels, there may be none in 42 gallon barrels that crude oil is measured in according to Slate.

Yes. This is why most OPEC nations now require you to leave a deposit if you use their barrel.

Do they at least give you a tap? or do you have to rent/buy one separately?

And also why you see folks with giant shopping carts scrounging around oil refineries, picking up empty barrels - they can do quite well turning these in to claim the deposits.

It’s a lot better than the old days when the highways were littered with oil barrels.

…and oil barrel pull-tops.

This is one of the main reasons my disbelief keeps getting suspended while playing Fallout 4. I’ve never seen a barrel on a highway but the fucking things were everywhere in alternate 2177.

Economists predict the world will reach peak barrel in 2130.

I have to admit I didn’t know oil wasn’t usually shipped in barrels. I used to work in a factory, and we had 55 gallon drums of motor oil delivered on a regular basis.

Oil *products *are sometimes shipped in barrells. Crude is not.

The largest ULCC tankers carry nearly 4 million barrels of oil each.

At the local auto shop level most oil is distributed in 55 gallon barrels (in the US anyway), or smaller containers for retail. Obviously the most amount of oil is delivered in much larger containers from tanker trucks to tanker railroad cars, to oil tanker ships. Probably all of those are superseded by the amount moved from one location to another by pipeline.