Please remember that when you trade, your capital is at risk. More than 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with most of the providers below. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money before moving forward.

How to Invest in Oil

Updated On: Feb 28, 2024
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How to Invest in Oil

Contents:

How to Invest in Oil in the UK

You can invest in oil directly by buying physical oil or indirectly by buying shares in oil companies such as BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil, investing in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), trading spot prices, futures or options, and investing in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs).

Here is a breakdown of how to invest in oil:

1. Invest in Oil Company Shares, ETFs, and Funds

You can gain exposure to the oil industry through a variety of investment vehicles. These options provide different levels of risk and return, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your investment goals.

  1. Investing in Oil Companies: One popular method of oil investing is buying the stocks of oil companies. By doing so, you can gain exposure to the oil industry and potentially profit from the company’s growth.

    Examples of oil companies you might invest in include industry giants like BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil. You can purchase oil company shares in the UK on investment platforms, such as XTB, eToro, and AJ Bell.

  1. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs are another avenue for investing in oil. By purchasing shares of an ETF that tracks the performance of oil-linked assets, you can gain broad exposure to the oil market with a single investment.

    Some oil ETFs track the underlying oil price, such as the WisdomTree Brent Crude Oil ETC (BRNG), while others track a group of oil companies’ shares, such as the iShares S&P 500 Energy Sector UCITS (IESU). You can buy oil ETFs in the UK from brokers, such as XTB, AJ Bell, and Interactive Investor.

  1. Mutual Funds: Similar to ETFs, mutual funds offer a diversified approach to investing in oil. These funds invest in a basket of oil and energy-related stocks, providing broad exposure to the sector.

    Examples of oil-focused mutual funds in the UK include the TB Guinness Global Energy Fund and the BGF World Energy Fund. You can buy oil mutual funds in the UK from stockbrokers, such as AJ Bell, Interactive Investor, and Saxo.

2. Trade Oil Spot Prices

Oil spot price trading offers the potential for short-term gains. This method of investing in oil is quite risky as it involves speculating on price fluctuations in the oil market.

  1. What Is a Spot Price? A spot price refers to the current market price of a commodity, such as oil, at which it can be bought or sold for immediate delivery. Spot prices are influenced by various factors, including supply and demand, geopolitical events, and economic indicators.

  2. How to Trade Oil Spot Prices in the UK: In the UK, you can trade oil spot prices through a broker that offers access to the commodities market, such as Pepperstone and XTB.

    To trade oil spot prices, you can use instruments such as Contracts for Difference (CFDs) or spread bets, which allow you to speculate on price fluctuations without owning the underlying asset. It is essential to understand the mechanics of these instruments and be aware of the risks associated with trading oil spot prices before diving in.

  1. Pros and Cons of Trading Oil Spot Prices: Trading oil spot prices can be an exhilarating way to gain exposure to the oil market and potentially profit from short-term price fluctuations.

    Some advantages of trading spot prices include the ability to trade on margin, the absence of expiry dates (compared to futures contracts), and the opportunity to profit from both rising and falling markets.

    However, it is important to note that trading oil spot prices carries risks, such as the potential for significant losses due to the use of leverage and the volatile nature of oil prices. Additionally, trading spot prices is typically more suited for short-term trading strategies and may not be ideal for long-term investments.

3. Trade Oil Futures and Options

Here, we explore the potential rewards of trading oil futures and options while highlighting the inherent complexities and risks.

  1. What Are Oil Futures and Options? Futures and options are financial instruments that allow you to speculate on the future price of oil.

    Oil futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell a specific amount of oil at a predetermined price on a future date.

    Options, on the other hand, give you the right (but not the obligation) to buy or sell oil at a specific price within a certain time frame.

    Options and futures are quite similar, with the key difference being that with options, there is no obligation to buy or sell the oil at the contract’s expiry date if you do not want to.

  1. How to Trade Oil Futures and Options in the UK: In the UK, you can trade oil futures and options through a broker that offers access to these markets, such as Saxo. Before diving in, ensure you have a solid understanding of the mechanics and risks involved in trading futures and options.

  2. Pros and Cons of Investing in Oil Futures and Options: Trading oil futures and options can be an exciting and potentially lucrative endeavour. However, it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with these instruments, such as significant loss of funds. Oil options and futures are also very complex instruments and may not be suitable for all investors.

4. Invest in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs)

Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) present unique investment opportunities by primarily investing in energy infrastructure assets. While these partnerships can generate stable cash flows and offer attractive yields, they also come with tax complexities.

  1. What are MLPs? Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) are publicly traded investment vehicles in the US that primarily invest in energy infrastructure assets such as pipelines, storage facilities, and refineries. These partnerships typically generate stable cash flows and offer attractive yields through regular distributions to their unit holders.

  2. How to Invest in MLPs from the UK:  Investing in MLPs from the UK is fairly straightforward, as most major trading platforms and brokers offer access to US-listed MLPs.

    To get started, open a trading account with a broker such as XTB, eToro, or Interactive Investor. Next, analyse potential MLP investments by reviewing financial statements, distribution history, and the underlying energy infrastructure assets. Popular MLPs include Enterprise Products Partners ($EPD), Magellan Midstream Partners ($MMP), and Energy Transfer ($ET).

    Once you’ve decided on the MLP you’d like to invest in, place a buy order through your broker’s trading platform.

  1. Pros and Cons of Investing in MLPs: Investing in MLPs offers attractive yields and tax benefits, making them an appealing option for income-focused investors. However, they also come with complexities due to unique tax implications and additional paperwork for UK investors.

    Additionally, MLPs are primarily focused on the energy sector, making them susceptible to fluctuations in oil and gas prices. It is crucial to carefully research and understand the specific MLPs you’re interested in before making a decision.

5. Invest in Physical Oil

For a more direct approach to the oil market, investors might consider investing in physical oil assets, such as oil wells or oil royalties. This method offers potential returns but also carries risks, including the uncertainty of oil exploration and production challenges. Let’s explore these options and how you can invest in them from the UK.

  1. How to Invest in Oil Wells in the UK: Investing in oil wells involves purchasing a working interest or a stake in an active oil well. This investment allows you to share in the profits generated by the well’s production.

    To invest in oil wells in the UK, you can either partner with existing oil exploration and production companies or join investment groups that pool resources to invest in oil wells.

    You can also invest in oil wells indirectly. For example, Premier Oil is a well-established independent British oil and gas company with a strong presence in the UK North Sea. The company is involved in various exploration, development, and production projects. By purchasing shares in a company like Premier Oil, you can indirectly invest in oil wells and participate in the potential profits from oil production.

    Please note that Premier Oil recently merged with Chrysaor Holdings to form Harbour Energy, which now trades under the ticker symbol “$HBR”.

    To indirectly invest in oil wells in the UK, you can buy shares from brokers such as eToro, AJ Bell, and Interactive Investor.

  1. How to Invest in Oil Royalties in the UK: Investing in oil royalties means purchasing the rights to a percentage of the revenues generated from oil production on a specific property. Oil royalties provide a passive income stream as you receive a share of the revenue without being directly involved in the operations of the oil well.

    In the UK, investing in oil royalties can be more challenging due to the limited opportunities compared to countries like the United States. However, you can explore global opportunities by investing in companies or investment trusts that focus on acquiring and managing oil royalties.

    One example of such an investment trust is the Dorchester Minerals Limited Partnership ($DMLP), a US-based trust that holds oil and gas royalty interests. By purchasing shares in this trust, UK investors can gain exposure to oil royalties and receive a share of the income generated from these assets.

    Other examples include the North European Oil Royalty Trust ($NRT) and the BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (LON: 0S10).

    To invest in an oil royalty trust from the UK, you can buy shares from brokers such as eToro, AJ Bell, and Interactive Investor.

  1. Pros and Cons of Investing in Physical Oil: Investing in physical oil can offer the potential for attractive returns, especially if oil prices rise. However, this method also carries risks, such as the uncertainty of oil exploration, production challenges, and the need for substantial initial capital outlay.

Where to Invest in Oil in the UK

We’ve compiled a list of the best brokerages to invest in oil in the UK. These are our top oil trading apps for buying and selling oil company shares, mutual funds, ETFs, spot prices, futures, and options.

Please keep in mind that when you trade, your capital is at risk. The fees below are not exhaustive–other fees apply. ISA, pension, and tax rules also apply.

Here are the best brokerages for oil investing in the UK:


XTB - Oil Shares, ETFs, CFDs, and Spot Prices

XTB logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Fee
£0
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
5,600+
Stocks, ETFs, Stock CFDs, Index CFDs, ETF CFDs, Forex, and Commodities.

Earn up to 4.9% annual interest on uninvested cash

XTB is a user-friendly, fully-customisable European trading platform renowned for its extensive CFD and forex trading offerings. XTB provides traders instant access to hundreds of global markets and over 5,600 instruments, including UK and overseas stocks and shares, ETFs, forex, indices, commodities, stock CFDs, and ETF CFDs.

XTB is good for beginners and even better for experts. Beginners can take advantage of XTB’s Passive Investment Plan designed for long-term investing. This plan allows you to build a portfolio of ETFs, set up recurring deposits so you invest regularly while taking advantage of pound-cost averaging, and invest fractionally so you can afford even the most expensive ETFs with as little as £15. Expert or advanced traders and investors have two choices of software when trading with XTB. You can access the in-house trading software, xStation, and MetaTrader 4 (MT4). xStation by XTB is a powerful trading software available on iOS, Android, and desktop devices suitable for beginners and advanced traders. The xStation trading software provides comprehensive charting and risk management tools. With the inbuilt trading calculator, you can easily estimate costs, profits or losses before opening a position, modify stop loss and take profit orders directly on the chart or close all positions with a click of a button. XTB also provides an extensive library of educational materials, including videos, webinars, and courses suitable for beginners and experienced traders. When you sign up, you will have access to a dedicated account officer who will work with you to help you better understand your needs and how XTB operates.

It is free to open a trading account with XTB, and all users have access to a free demo account with £100,000 of virtual funds that you can use to practise trading and investing until you become confident enough to use real money. Deposits in GBP and EUR are free of charge, but withdrawals below £60 have a £12 processing fee. Real stock trading is commission-free for monthly turnover up to €100,000 (£85,000). Transactions above this limit will attract a commission of 0.2% (minimum €10 (£8.50). If you invest in foreign stocks and ETFs, a 0.5% currency conversion fee may apply. Stock and ETF CFD trading are also commission-free. Other fees apply. XTB does not offer an ISA or SIPP.

Please note: Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are leveraged products and carry a significant risk of loss to your capital, as prices may move rapidly against you, and you may be required to make further payments to keep any trades open. Between 74 and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. These products are not suitable for all clients. Therefore, please ensure you fully understand the risks and seek independent advice.

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Pepperstone - Oil Share CFDs, ETF CFDs, and Spot Prices

Pepperstone logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Fee
From 0.10% (UK Stock CFDs)
From 0.6 pips (Forex)
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
1,200+
Stock CFDs, Index CFDs, ETF CFDs, Forex, and Commodities.

Pepperstone is a CFD and forex broker that allows you to trade a wide variety of instruments, including forex, indices, stocks, ETFs, commodities and other assets via contracts for difference (CFDs). The Pepperstone platform boasts low-cost spreads, fast execution speeds and access to over 1,200 trading instruments. The Pepperstone CFD trading accounts allow a minimum trading size of 0.01 lots and a maximum of 100 lots. Retail traders can access leverage up to 30:1 and over 60 currency pairs.

Pepperstone also allows scalping, expert advisors, hedging, and news trading. With Pepperstone, you can trade and enjoy the seamless creation of advanced trading strategies via some of the most popular and powerful trading software in the world, including TradingView, MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), CTrader, DupliTrade (for social and copy trading), and Capitalise AI (for code-free trading automation). The Pepperstone platform is suitable for both beginners and advanced traders. It is especially suitable for professional traders who want to take advantage of higher leverage. Pepperstone also has a suite of educational materials to help traders at every level.

It is entirely free to open an account with Pepperstone, and all registered users gain access to a free demo account, which you can use to practise CFD trading until you become confident. On Pepperstone, the spreads, which function as trading fees for CFD brokers, start at 0.6 pips for forex CFDs, 0.4 for index CFDs, 0.05 for commodity CFDs, and 0.10% per side for UK share CFDs. Pepperstone also charges a swap rate (overnight fee) for holding CFD positions overnight. Other fees apply. Pepperstone does not offer an ISA or SIPP.

Please note: When you invest, your capital is at risk. Between 74 and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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CMC Markets - Oil Share CFDs, ETF CFDs, Spot Prices, and Spread Bets

CMC Markets Logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Fee
£0
Regular Investor Fee
N/A
Instruments
12,000+
Stock CFDs, Index CFDs, ETF CFDs, Forex, Commodities, Treasuries, and Spread Bets.

CMC Markets is a CFD, forex, and spread betting platform that gives you access to over 12,000 instruments across a wide range of global financial markets, including forex, indices, commodities, shares, ETFs, and treasuries. The platform offers more forex pairs than any other broker listed here. It also offers an enhanced charting experience, allowing users to choose from more than 115 technical indicators and drawing tools, over 70 patterns, and 12 in-built chart types.

Experienced traders and beginners alike will find the platform useful, given its range of tools and resources, including a pattern recognition scanner, advanced order execution, and comprehensive news and analysis from Reuters. These tools are designed to offer quick execution, precise charting, and accurate insights. CMC Markets also offers a premium membership, CMC Alpha, delivering benefits like savings of up to 28% on spreads, a complimentary Financial Times subscription, and interest on uninvested cash. For active traders, a specialised account offering spreads starting from 0.0 pips and fixed low commissions is available.

Opening a live spread betting or CFD account with CMC Markets is completely free, and you can also access numerous tools such as charts, Reuters news, or Morningstar quantitative equity reports at no cost. All registered users receive a demo account with £10,000 of virtual funds, which can be used to practise trading until you are confident to trade with real money. With CMC Markets, the spreads, which function as trading fees for CFD brokers, start as low as 0.7 pips for forex CFDs, 1 point for stock and ETF CFDs (commission fees apply), 0.3 points for commodity CFDs and 0.5 for index CFDs. Holding costs (for trades held overnight, which is essentially a fee for the funds you borrow to cover the leveraged portion of the trade) also apply based on the value and duration of your trade. CMC Markets does not offer an ISA or SIPP.

Please note: Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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eToro - Oil Shares, ETFs, and CFDs

eToro Logo
Annual Platform Fee
N/A
Dealing Fee
N/A
Regular Investor Fee
N/A
Instruments
4,500+
Stocks, Stock CFDs, Index CFDs, ETF CFDs, Forex, and Commodities.

Earn up to 5.3% annual interest on uninvested cash

eToro is a multi-asset trading platform that offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs. With eToro, UK traders have real-time access to thousands of stocks, ETFs, indices, commodities, forex, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs from top exchanges worldwide. Catering to beginners and expert traders, eToro provides an impressive range of fundamental and technical analysis tools, including market news, economic data, social media trends, news sentiment trends, and advanced charting tools. ProCharts, a professional-grade technical analysis tool available on eToro, allows users to compare charts from different financial instruments and time frames. eToro also offers risk management tools, such as Stop Loss, Take Profit, and Trailing Stop Loss, to help you better manage your positions and protect your investments. Stop Loss and Take Profit are not guaranteed.

For customers who prefer ready-made investment portfolios, eToro has over 40 fully allocated, balanced investment portfolios, focusing on market segments you can understand and relate to. Some of the portfolios include MetaverseLife, BigTech, GoldWorldWide, Vaccine-Med, BitcoinWorldWide, Diabetes-Med, Driverless, and GigEconomy. These portfolios are a grouping of several assets, such as stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and even people, bundled together based on a predetermined theme or strategy. eToro also offers Copy Trading, a unique feature that allows everyday investors to copy the trades or investments of top-performing traders on the eToro platform. Anyone can copy trades on eToro; likewise, anyone can give others access to copy their trades. If you are an expert trader approved to participate in eToro’s Popular Investor Program, where others copy your trades, you will be eligible to receive monthly earnings.

It is entirely free to open an account with eToro, and all registered users receive a US$100,000 demo account for free, which you can use to practise trading until you become confident. Trading on eToro occurs in USD, so a currency conversion fee will apply if you deposit or withdraw in a currency other than USD. Withdrawals incur a fee of US$5 (£4), and the minimum withdrawal amount is US$30 (£24). For UK customers, eToro offers an eToro Money app that allows you to convert your GBP to USD free of charge, thereby reducing your foreign exchange costs. eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP.

Please note: Your capital is at risk. 80 - 90% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Additionally, cryptoassets are high-risk investments, and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Tax on profits may apply. Copy Trading does not amount to investment advice. Other fees apply. For more information, visit eToro.

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Saxo - Oil Shares, ETFs, CFDs, Spot Prices, Futures, and Options

Saxo logo
Annual Platform Fee
0.12% - 0.08%
(min €120 (~ £108))
Dealing Fee
0.08% (min. £3) UK Stocks
US$0.015 (min. U$1) US Stocks
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
71,000+
Stocks, Bonds, Funds, ETFs, Investment Trusts, CFDs, Forex, Commodities, Futures, and Options.

Earn up to 3.91% annual interest on uninvested cash

Saxo is the UK division of Saxo Bank, a large European bank that allows you to invest in 71,000+ financial products from stock markets worldwide. With Saxo, you can invest in UK and overseas stocks and shares, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, forex, CFDs, futures, commodities, and options.

Saxo allows you to invest in one of two ways depending on your investment knowledge: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made portfolio can select from one of the managed portfolios on offer, where Saxo experts navigate the markets and manage your investments on your behalf. The average cost of this managed portfolio is 0.95% per year (including fund costs). Advanced or more confident investors can choose from the range of financial products on offer and build their portfolios themselves. Saxo traders benefit from extensive charting with 50+ technical indicators, integrated trade signals, news feeds and risk-management features via the SaxoTraderGO platform. Advanced traders can access even more sophisticated trading features on SaxoTraderPRO, Saxo Bank’s desktop-only advanced trading platform.

Saxo has different transaction fees grouped into trading tiers. If you plan to trade high volumes, you can upgrade your tier to get lower transaction fees. The Classic tier, which attracts the highest trading fees, costs 0.08% (min. £3) per deal for UK Stocks and US$0.015 (min. US$1) per deal for US Stocks. Other fees apply. Saxo’s suite of products includes a Trading Account, Stocks and Shares ISA and SIPP.

Please note: Capital at risk. 64% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

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Interactive Investor - Oil Shares and ETFs

Interactive Investor
Annual Platform Fee
£60 - £240
(£4.99 - £19.99/month)
Dealing Fee
£3.99
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
40,000+
Stocks, Bonds, Funds, ETFs, and Investment Trusts.

Earn up to 4.85% annual interest on uninvested cash

Interactive Investor is a subsidiary of wealth management giant Abrdn and the second-largest investment platform in the country. Also well known for its fixed monthly subscription fees (as opposed to annual percentage-based fees like most other investment platforms), Interactive Investor has been providing investment services and financial information to UK customers since 1995.

If you choose to invest with Interactive Investor, you will gain access to over 40,000 investment options, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. This is the second-widest choice of UK and international investments offered by an investment platform in the UK. Interactive Investor allows you to build your portfolio in multiple ways depending on your investment goals, attitude to risk and personal preferences. Beginner investors or those who prefer ready-made investments can build their portfolios using Interactive Investor’s Quick-Start Funds, an easy way to start investing where you choose from six low-cost funds prepared by the team of experts at Interactive Investor. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds and shares and build their portfolios themselves. Interactive Investor gives you access to 17 global stock exchanges, including exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. These include markets such as the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE All-Share, S&P 500, NASDAQ, NYSE, Dow Jones and more. In addition to the above, Interactive Investor offers Japanese, Indian and Chinese shares in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).

Interactive Investor gives you a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. After that, trades usually cost £3.99. For those investing £50,000 or less, you can sign up for the cheapest plan (Investor Essentials), which costs only £4.99 a month but does not come with the monthly free trade. The platform also offers a free regular investing service that allows you to deposit as little as £25 a month towards your investments without paying a trading fee each time, irrespective of the plan you choose. Interactive Investor also has lots of expert ideas, research and insights, which can be helpful when selecting investments. Interactive Investor’s suite of products includes a Trading Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, SIPP and Junior ISA.

Capital at risk.

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AJ Bell - Oil Shares and ETFs

AJ Bell Logo
Annual Platform Fee
0.25%
(max £3.50 per month)
Dealing Fee (Online)
£5 - £3.50
Regular Investor Fee (Online)
£1.50 per deal
Instruments
15,000+
Stocks, Bonds, Funds, ETFs, Investment Trusts, and Warrants.

AJ Bell is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and its mission is to make investing as easy as possible for anyone. The platform offers thousands of investment options for the DIY investor, including shares, funds, bonds, investment trusts, ETFs, ETCs, and warrants.

There are multiple ways to get started with AJ Bell, depending on your risk tolerance and investing savviness. Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. Investment ideas are diversified ready-made baskets of investments that you can select based on your personal preference and attitude to risk. There are eight total investment ideas, each built by a specialist team, and you can pick the right one for you depending on whether you are seeking to simply grow your money over time or receive an income whilst still growing your money. Expert investors can take advantage of the stock and fund screeners and complex instruments available on AJ Bell and build their portfolios themselves.

AJ Bell charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.25% to 0%, depending on the size of your portfolio. Dealing fees for buying and selling investments online are £1.50 for funds and £5 for shares (reducing to £3.50 if there were 10 or more online share deals in the previous month). AJ Bell’s products include a Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP and Junior SIPP.

Capital at risk.

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Freetrade - Oil Shares and ETFs

Freetrade
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Fee
£0
(+0.99% FX fee on US stocks)
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
6,500+
Stocks, ETFs, and Investment Trusts.

Freetrade is a mobile trading app that gives you access to thousands of UK and overseas stocks, ETFs, REITs, and investment trusts covering different sectors and markets worldwide. The Freetrade app can be accessed on iOS, Android and desktop devices and offers a slick and easy-to-use user interface and experience. The app is a great choice for both beginners and experienced investors.

With Freetrade, you can invest in fractional shares of even the most expensive US shares with as little as £2. Depositing, trading and withdrawing on Freetrade are commission-free (other charges may apply). FX rates apply to US stocks at the spot rate + 0.99%. To get the most out of Freetrade, you can choose from three subscription plans. The Basic Plan costs £0.00 per month and allows you to open a General Investment Account (GIA) and trade commission-free. The Standard Plan costs £5.99 per month and allows you to open a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. With the Plus Plan at £11.99 a month, you get a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. Dealing on Freetrade is commission-free, irrespective of the subscription plan you choose. Freetrade’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account (GIA) and SIPP.

Special offer: Get a free share worth £10 when you join Freetrade and fund your account with at least £50.

Please note: When you invest, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. ISA rules apply. SIPP eligibility and tax rules apply. Free share terms and conditions apply.

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InvestEngine - Oil ETFs

InvestEngine Logo
Annual Platform Fee
0% - 0.25%
Dealing Fee
£0
Regular Investor Fee
£0
Instruments
500+
ETFs.

InvestEngine is a low-cost ETF investment platform that provides a choice of managed portfolios tailored to you and commission-free DIY investing to help you build long-term wealth. Users can invest in over 500 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from leading global asset managers.

With InvestEngine, you can invest in two ways depending on your tolerance for risk and savviness as an investor: beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made investment portfolio can select from one of the managed portfolios on offer, where the team of experts at InvestEngine will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. These portfolios are a selection of ETFs based on your preferences and risk tolerance. Once you’ve selected one, you do not have to do anything else besides monitor the performance of your investments. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from 500+ commission-free ETFs and build their portfolios themselves. InvestEngine also offers fractional investing, which allows you to buy bits and pieces of an ETF with as little as £1. This enhances your ability to build a diversified portfolio even if you have a small amount of money to invest. With the DIY Portfolio, there are no platform fees. However, the managed portfolios attract a fee of 0.25% per year. All InvestEngine portfolios are free of set-up fees, dealing fees, ISA subscription fees or withdrawal fees.

InvestEngine stands out amongst its competitors as one of the cheapest trading platforms in the UK because it charges no platform or management fees on its DIY Portfolio and just 0.25% a year on its managed portfolio. You can also start investing with as little as £100. InvestEngine’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Personal Account and Business Account.

Capital at risk.

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Hargreaves Lansdown - Oil Shares and ETFs

Hargreaves Lansdown
Annual Platform Fee
£0
‍‍(Fund & Share Account)
Dealing Fee (Online)
£11.95 - £5.95
Regular Investor Fee
£1.50 per deal
Instruments
15,000+
Stocks, Bonds, Funds, ETFs, and Investment Trusts.

Hargreaves Lansdown, a FTSE 100 company and the UK’s largest investment platform, is one of the best share dealing accounts in the UK. Although not the cheapest, it compensates with unrivalled stock research and trading tools, prioritising long-term client relationships and financial security. There is almost no stock, fund or investment trust you cannot find on Hargreaves Lansdown, along with detailed information on fund composition, performance data and advanced charting. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can access over 15,000 instruments, encompassing over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, bonds, ETFs, ETCs, investment trusts and more.

With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your investment portfolio in three ways. You can pick your own investments to match your values and goals, select ready-made portfolios, or pay a financial adviser to choose investments for you. The ready-made portfolios can be used as all-in-one investments. Pick one from the different risk levels, and you are good to go. You will still have to monitor your portfolio as with any other investment. If you pay for financial advice, the specialist investment adviser will recommend a suitable portfolio of investments for your goals and ensure that your portfolio is cost-effective, well-balanced, diversified, and ideal for your stage in life. Advanced or more confident investors who want to pick their own investments can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their portfolios themselves.

Hargreaves Lansdown does not charge a platform fee on its Fund and Share Account but charges 0.45% (capped at £45) a year on its ISA and 0.45% (capped at £200) a year on its SIPP. It offers most products, including a Fund and Share Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP. These services are intended for investors who are happy making their own decisions.

Please note: Your capital is at risk. The fees quoted here are not exhaustive. Other charges apply.

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Brief History of the Oil Industry

A Fascinating Journey Through the Rise of a Global Powerhouse

If you’ve recently dipped your toes into the realm of investing, it’s only natural that you’d come across the oil industry – an economic powerhouse that has shaped nations, driven innovation, and created countless fortunes.

In this section, we’ll take a jaunt through the annals of oil history, meet the key players, and discover the importance of oil as an investment. Buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of black gold!

The Birth of an Industry: From Whale Oil to Crude Oil

Before crude oil took centre stage, whale oil was the primary source of lighting and lubrication in the 19th century. However, as whales dwindled and the demand for oil surged, an alternative was needed. Enter Edwin L. Drake, an American businessman who struck oil in 1859 in Pennsylvania, paving the way for the modern oil industry.

As oil production gained momentum, the likes of John D. Rockefeller seized the opportunity, founding the Standard Oil Company in the United States in 1870. With aggressive expansion tactics, Standard Oil came to dominate the industry and inspired the creation of competitors like Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum here in the United Kingdom.

Key Players: The Magnificent Seven

The global oil industry is a tightly-knit circle controlled primarily by seven multinational companies, affectionately dubbed the “Seven Sisters.” These are:

  1. ExxonMobil (formerly Standard Oil)
  2. BP (British Petroleum)
  3. Chevron
  4. Shell (Royal Dutch Shell)
  5. Total (now TotalEnergies)
  6. Eni (formerly AGIP)
  7. ConocoPhillips

These giants wield enormous power, influencing production, supply, and pricing. As an investor, keeping a watchful eye on their activities can provide valuable insights into the oil market’s trajectory.

The Gatekeepers of Global Oil Supply: OPEC and OPEC+

Few entities hold more sway in the oil market than OPEC and OPEC+. These powerful alliances not only shape oil prices but also influence the very fabric of the global economy. As an investor, understanding the motivations and dynamics of these groups is essential for navigating the oil market.

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is an influential collective that strives to stabilise oil prices and coordinate production among its members. Founded in 1960, OPEC has grown into a formidable force, with 13 oil-rich countries under its banner:

  1. Algeria
  2. Angola
  3. Congo
  4. Equatorial Guinea
  5. Gabon
  6. Iran
  7. Iraq
  8. Kuwait
  9. Libya
  10. Nigeria
  11. Saudi Arabia
  12. United Arab Emirates
  13. Venezuela

Recognising the potential for even greater market control, OPEC joined forces with ten non-OPEC countries in 2016, giving birth to the mighty OPEC+. This alliance includes heavyweight producers such as Russia and Kazakhstan, and their combined efforts have further solidified their grip on the oil market. Here are the OPEC+ members:

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Bahrain
  3. Brunei
  4. Kazakhstan
  5. Malaysia
  6. Mexico
  7. Oman
  8. Russia
  9. South Sudan
  10. Sudan

Oil as an Investment: A Slippery Slope?

Crude oil is an essential component of the global economy, powering everything from transportation to manufacturing. Investing in oil can be a lucrative endeavour, as its price fluctuations offer ample opportunities for traders and investors to profit. However, as with any investment, there are risks and rewards to consider.

Rewards:

  1. Diversification: Investing in oil can help diversify your portfolio, hedging against market fluctuations.
  2. Inflation protection: Oil prices often rise with inflation, making it an attractive long-term investment.
  3. High returns: The oil market is notoriously volatile, providing opportunities for savvy investors to reap significant profits.

Risks:

  1. Volatility: Oil prices are influenced by myriad factors, such as geopolitical events, natural disasters, and economic developments, making them highly unpredictable.
  2. Environmental concerns: As the world shifts towards greener energy sources, the long-term future of the oil industry remains uncertain.
  3. Regulatory risks: Changes in governmental policies and regulations can have significant impacts on oil prices and production.

Understanding the Oil Market

As a trader and stock market investor, it is important to understand the dynamics of the oil market, which is one of the most critical components of the global economy. In this section, we will delve into the three most important oil price benchmarks: WTI, North Sea Brent Crude, and Dubai Crude.

We will compare and contrast these benchmarks in terms of prices, types, origin, location, reserves, market trends, recent developments, and government regulations.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI)

WTI is a benchmark crude oil primarily traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). It is a light and sweet crude oil with a low sulphur content, making it easy to refine into gasoline and diesel fuel.

The origin of WTI is West Texas, home to the Permian Basin, the largest oil-producing region in the United States. It is traded and delivered in Cushing, Oklahoma, where it is stored in large tanks before being transported to refineries.

WTI is the most actively traded crude oil benchmark in the world, and its price is closely watched by traders and investors. In recent years, WTI prices have been influenced by a variety of factors, including the production levels of shale oil in the United States, OPEC production cuts, and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

In 2020, WTI prices experienced a historic drop, with prices falling into negative territory for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on demand.

North Sea Brent Crude

North Sea Brent Crude is a benchmark crude oil primarily traded on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London. It is also a light and sweet crude oil, although it has a slightly higher sulphur content than WTI.

The origin of Brent is the North Sea, which is situated between the United Kingdom and Norway. Brent crude oil is produced from four oil fields: Brent, Forties, Oseberg, and Ekofisk.

Brent is the second most actively traded crude oil benchmark in the world, after WTI. It is a crucial benchmark for the pricing of oil in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In recent years, Brent prices have been influenced by a variety of factors, including OPEC production cuts, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand.

In 2020, Brent prices also experienced a historic drop, falling to their lowest level in two decades due to the pandemic’s impact on demand.

Dubai Crude

Dubai Crude is a benchmark crude oil primarily traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). It is a heavier and sour crude oil, which means it has a higher sulphur content and is more difficult to refine.

The origin of Dubai crude is the United Arab Emirates, specifically the Dubai and Fateh oil fields. Dubai crude oil is an important benchmark for pricing oil in Asia and the Middle East.

Dubai crude oil is less actively traded than WTI and Brent, but it is still an important benchmark for the pricing of oil in Asia and the Middle East.

In recent years, Dubai crude prices have been influenced by a variety of factors, including OPEC production cuts, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand.

Other Oil Price Benchmarks

In addition to WTI, Brent, and Dubai, there are several other oil price benchmarks that are used to price oil in different regions of the world. These include the OPEC Reference Basket, Tapis Crude, Bonny Light, and Urals Crude, among others.

The OPEC Reference Basket is a weighted average of the prices of various crude oils produced by OPEC countries. Tapis Crude is a benchmark crude oil primarily traded in Singapore and is a light and sweet crude oil, while Bonny Light is a benchmark crude oil produced in Nigeria and is also a light and sweet crude oil. Urals Crude is a heavy and sour crude oil produced in Russia.

History of Oil Prices

Navigating the Twists and Turns of Oil’s Eventful Journey

As a stock market investor, understanding the dynamics of oil prices is crucial for making informed decisions. Over the past 63 years, oil prices have experienced numerous peaks and troughs, with each era shaped by a unique set of events.

In this section, we’ll explore key moments in the history of oil prices, focusing on the last six decades and delving into the lessons traders can learn from them. So, settle in, and let’s embark on this thrilling voyage through the turbulent world of oil markets!

Pre-OPEC: The Calm Before the Storm (Late 1950s)

In the years leading up to the formation of OPEC, oil prices remained relatively stable. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price hovered around $2.50 per barrel. However, this period of tranquillity would soon be disrupted by the emergence of a powerful alliance.

Formation of OPEC: Uniting the Oil Producers (1960)

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was established in 1960 to coordinate and unify petroleum policies among its members. In the decade following its formation, the price of WTI crude oil began to rise gradually, reaching around $3.50 per barrel by 1970.

The Arab Oil Embargo: Crisis Unleashed (1973-1974)

The Arab oil embargo of 1973-1974 was a watershed moment for oil prices. OPEC’s Middle Eastern members imposed an embargo in response to Western support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. This supply disruption sent oil prices soaring, with WTI crude oil prices rocketing from $3.60 per barrel in 1972 to a staggering $12 per barrel in 1974.

The Iranian Revolution: A Time of Turmoil (1978-1979)

The Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979 had a profound impact on oil prices. Amidst the chaos, Iran’s oil production fell dramatically, leading to a tightening of global oil supply. The price of WTI crude oil surged once more, reaching a peak of around $39 per barrel in 1980.

Reagan’s Deregulation: A New Dawn for US Oil (1980s)

Throughout the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan pursued a policy of deregulation in the oil industry. This move aimed to increase domestic production and reduce dependence on foreign oil. As a result, oil prices experienced a period of decline, with WTI crude oil prices falling to around $20 per barrel by the late 1980s.

The First Gulf War: Conflict and Consequences (1990-1991)

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 triggered the First Gulf War, sending shockwaves through the oil market. Fears of supply disruptions caused oil prices to spike, with WTI crude oil prices briefly reaching around $41 per barrel in October 1990. However, the conflict’s resolution and subsequent increase in production led to a sharp decline in prices.

The Events of 2008: Financial Crisis and Oil Price Bubble

The global financial crisis in 2008 brought with it a surge in oil prices, driven by speculative trading and a weakening US dollar. At its peak, WTI crude oil prices reached an all-time high of $147 per barrel in July 2008. The bubble, however, soon burst, and prices plummeted as the world grappled with economic turmoil, dropping to around $30 per barrel by the end of the year.

The Shale Oil Revolution: Transforming the Market (2010s)

In the last decade, the shale oil revolution has transformed the global oil market. Technological advances have made it possible to extract oil from shale, leading to a surge in US oil production. This has had a significant impact on oil prices, with the price of WTI falling from over $100 per barrel in 2014 to below $30 per barrel in early 2016.

The shale oil revolution has also led to a shift in the global balance of power. The United States has become a major oil producer, reducing its dependence on foreign oil. This has had geopolitical implications, with the US becoming less reliant on Middle Eastern oil.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Profound Impact (2020 - present)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global economy, and the oil industry has been no exception. As countries around the world implemented lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus, demand for oil plummeted, leading to a major oversupply of oil and a sharp drop in prices. In April 2020, the price of WTI fell to negative territory for the first time in history, reaching a low of -$37.63 per barrel. This was a stark contrast to the price of WTI in January 2020, which was over $60 per barrel.

As the global economy has begun to recover, demand for oil has started to increase, and prices have rebounded somewhat. However, the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the global oil market and the need for greater resilience in the face of shocks.

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Another Disruption (2022 - present)

In 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, causing global uproar. Western nations slapped Russia with sanctions, leading to uncertainty in oil markets. As a result, WTI crude oil prices skyrocketed. For example, on February 24, 2022, WTI crude surged from $90 to over $100 per barrel. This turmoil affected investors, making it essential to keep an eye on geopolitical events.

In short, the Russian-Ukraine conflict taught us that global politics can have a significant impact on oil prices, and understanding this relationship is crucial for budding investors in the energy sector.

Factors That Affect Oil Prices

As a trader and stock market investor, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the factors that influence oil prices. This knowledge will not only help you make informed decisions but also provide you with a solid foundation for investing in the oil markets.

In this section, we’ll discuss eight key factors that affect the price of oil, using the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) as a benchmark. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Supply and Demand

The basic economic principle of supply and demand is the most significant factor that drives oil prices. When demand for oil exceeds supply, prices tend to rise, and when supply outstrips demand, prices usually fall.

For example, during periods of economic growth or in colder months when people consume more energy, demand for oil typically increases, pushing prices higher.

2. Geopolitical Tensions

Geopolitical tensions in oil-producing regions can have a significant impact on oil prices. Conflicts, political instability, or even the threat of war can disrupt the production and transportation of oil, thereby affecting the global supply.

In 2019, for instance, a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure caused a brief but noticeable spike in WTI prices.

3. Natural Disasters

Extreme weather events and natural disasters can also significantly affect oil prices. For example, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico can disrupt the region’s oil production, refining, and transportation.

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused considerable damage to the oil infrastructure in Texas, leading to a temporary surge in WTI prices.

4. OPEC and OPEC+ Decisions

As we’ve previously discussed, OPEC and OPEC+ play a crucial role in shaping oil prices. By adjusting production quotas and export restrictions, these powerful alliances can manipulate supply and, consequently, prices.

For instance, in April 2020, OPEC and its allies agreed to cut oil production in response to falling demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision contributed to the recovery of WTI prices in the following months.

5. Inventory Levels

Inventory levels can also impact the price of oil. High inventory levels indicate a surplus of supply, which can push prices down, while low inventory levels indicate potential supply shortages and can lead to price spikes.

As previously mentioned, in April 2020, the price of WTI fell to negative territory for the first time in history, reaching a low of -$37.63 per barrel. This was due to oversupply caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the demand for oil.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases weekly inventory data that traders and investors monitor closely.

6. Currency Fluctuations

Fluctuations in currency exchange rates can also affect oil prices. As oil is primarily traded in US dollars, a weaker dollar can make oil cheaper for countries using other currencies, potentially boosting demand and driving up prices. Conversely, a stronger dollar can have the opposite effect.

During the events of 2008, the weakening US dollar was one factor that contributed to the surge in WTI prices to an all-time high of $147 per barrel.

7. Speculation and Market Sentiment

Speculation and market sentiment can also impact oil prices. Traders and investors may buy or sell oil futures contracts based on their expectations of future prices. Additionally, broader market sentiment, such as concerns about global economic growth or geopolitical tensions, can impact oil prices.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about reduced demand for oil due to lockdowns and travel restrictions led to a sharp decline in oil prices.

8. Technological Advances

Finally, technological innovations can also influence oil prices, particularly when they lead to increased production efficiency or the discovery of new reserves. The shale oil revolution in the United States is a perfect example, as advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling unlocked vast reserves of previously inaccessible oil.

This surge in production contributed to a significant decline in oil prices, with WTI prices falling from around $100 per barrel in 2014 to $26 per barrel in early 2016.

How to Pick Oil Stocks

Deciding which oil shares to buy can be daunting for the first-time investor or trader, but it need not be. Below, we have summarised our top ten oil stock-picking methods for would-be traders.

Follow the steps below to learn how to pick oil stocks:

  1. Set Your Goals
  2. Find Sources for Technical and Fundamental Analysis
  3. Understand Market Drivers
  4. Learn How to Read Charts
  5. ‍Study Economic Cycles
  6. Become Comfortable Predicting the Future 
  7. Look for Leading Oil Companies With Healthy Financials
  8. Do not Obsess Over Analyst Recommendations or Predictions
  9. Build a Diversified Portfolio
  10. Avoid Emotions and Stick to Your Rules

1. Set Your Goals

The initial step to picking oil stocks is to determine and establish clear goals for your portfolio. You need to ask yourself why you are trading oil stocks and state explicitly what you hope to achieve.

There are three key goals to consider, and you can focus on just one, two or a combination of all three. When picking oil stocks, you need to ask yourself if you are in it to:

  1. Generate a regular income,
  2. Preserve existing wealth, or
  3. Amass wealth.

Your goal determines your eventual investment strategy. For example, if your trading goal is to generate a regular income, you might be interested in oil stocks with high dividend yields. You might also consider bonds and real estate investment trusts (REITs) within the energy sector.

A trader whose goal is wealth preservation is naturally risk-averse and might prefer to invest in stable blue-chip oil company stocks. These include stocks on indices such as the Dow 30, S&P 500 or the FTSE 100.

Similarly, traders looking to grow wealth might focus on small to mid-cap oil stocks in their early growth years with promising financials and technicals. These types of stocks are usually riskier than their large-cap counterparts as they tend to be less liquid.

2. Find Sources for Technical and Fundamental Analysis

To become an excellent trader or investor, you must constantly research the markets and keep on top of the technicals and fundamentals of each oil stock you are trading.

The best places to find charts for technical analysis are on charting and trading websites such as TradingView, Investors Business Daily’s MarketSmith, Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange.

The best places to find data for fundamental analysis, macroeconomic updates, earnings releases and analyst commentary include news sites such as CNBC, The Financial Times, and Investors Business Daily.

Twitter accounts and popular trading blogs such as @WatcherGuru, @unusual_whales, and @MarketWatch are also very helpful. 

Additionally, email newsletters such as the daily one by Stocktwits are simply excellent.

Finally, at Koody, we recommend reading William J. O’Neil’s How to Make Money in Stocks before trading or investing in individual stocks.

3. Understand Market Drivers

Once an oil company completes its IPO, the share price will be determined by factors such as supply and demand. There are a variety of factors that affect the supply and demand for an oil company’s stock over time, including:

  1. Macroeconomic Data: The global economy and the economy where an oil company operates can affect its growth. Data releases such as gross domestic product (GDP), interest rates, inflation data, jobs reports, and currency fluctuations can all affect an oil company’s performance and, subsequently, its share price.

    Oil prices, geopolitical events, and global energy policy can also influence the value of oil stocks. Positive macroeconomic data can cause the share price to rise, while negative or weak data can cause it to drop. You can find these kinds of data on government-owned statistics websites or financial news websites.

  1. Company-Specific Data: Quarterly and yearly earnings reports, news on leadership changes, new project announcements, corporate press releases and investor presentations can all affect the price of an oil company’s share.

    Reports and investor presentations typically contain forward-looking information on the expected direction of the company and its industry, which can affect the company’s share price. You can find this kind of information on the company’s website.

  1. Market Sentiment: How the public feels about the company’s projects, policies, and general direction can also affect the company’s share price.

  1. Institutional Sponsorship: This refers to the number of big funds and institutional investors buying the company’s stock. Oil stocks with large institutional sponsorship tend to be more liquid than those without substantial institutional support.

  1. Market Direction: A bull or bear market will affect oil share prices and general market direction. During a bull run, oil stocks tend to perform well. The opposite is the case in a bear market.

4. Learn How to Read Charts

When you study oil stock price-volume charts, you discover patterns that help you predict price movements. According to William J. O’Neil, “It is the unique combination of finding stocks with big increases in sales, earnings and return on equity plus strong chart patterns revealing institutional buying that together will materially improve your stock selection and timing. The best professionals use charts.”

When reading charts, you want to focus on the daily, weekly, and yearly price-volume actions. There is a wide range of technical indicators and oscillators you can use when working with oil stock charts, including moving averages, stochastic oscillators, moving average convergence divergence (MACD), standard deviation, Bollinger bands, relative strength index (RSI), Fibonacci retracement, among others.

5. Study Economic Cycles

The global economy will grow and shrink over time. When the economy is growing, most sectors tend to do well. But when the economy is shrinking and things are not as rosy, only certain sectors continue to do well.

Industries that are more resistant to economic downturns, such as oil, tend to fare better during recessions. Understanding these cycles can help you decide what oil shares to buy and when.

6. Become Comfortable Predicting the Future

If you can predict how the world will change in the next 10 to 20 years and what industries and companies are poised to benefit from this change, you can begin to invest in oil stocks accordingly.

For example, how will the global energy landscape evolve over the next 10 to 20 years? What changes do you anticipate in the oil industry as a result of climate change, technological advancements, and geopolitical shifts? Which oil companies stand to benefit most from these changes?

This type of analysis should form the basis behind every oil stock you choose to invest in. A thoughtful investor has a “story” that explains every decision behind a stock pick.

7. Look for Leading Oil Companies With Healthy Financials

When picking oil stocks, it is crucial to look for leading companies with solid financials. Leading companies are not necessarily popular brands or household names but companies that are number one in their industry or sector from a fundamental and technical analysis standpoint.

Leading oil companies are the best-performing stocks according to the highest quarterly and annual earnings growth, highest return on equity, widest profit margins, strongest sales growth, and excellent price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios.

To identify oil companies with healthy financials, you might need a stock screener to filter based on specific criteria such as earnings per share (EPS) growth, revenue growth, market capitalisation, P/E ratio, sector, dividend yield, and other metrics. The best oil trading platforms in the UK will offer stock screeners as part of their in-house trading software or allow you to connect to advanced third-party trading software with stock screeners, such as TradingView.

8. Do not Obsess Over Analyst Recommendations or Predictions

When you start researching the oil markets, you will quickly come to see how much analyst forecasts and recommendations affect short-term share price movements.

While it is important to pay attention to analyst forecasts and commentary, you should not obsess over them; instead, try to form your own opinions.

Spend time reading macroeconomic and microeconomic news, company-specific news, trading blogs, and opinion pieces to better understand the oil markets. This, in addition to fundamental and technical analysis of an oil stock, should help you form your own opinion, create your “story”, and make a sensible purchase.

9. Build a Diversified Portfolio

When picking oil shares, it is risky to invest in just one company. If the company gets into difficulty, you could lose all you invested. It is better to build a diversified portfolio.

Building a diversified portfolio means you should consider investing in multiple oil companies, across different industry segments and in various geographies. A combination of blue-chip oil stocks, high-growth companies, and dividend oil stocks across a variety of industry sectors and geographies provide the ultimate diversification for an oil stock portfolio.

A simple and easy way to diversify your oil portfolio is to invest in oil-focused mutual funds and ETFs. Mutual funds and ETFs save you the trouble of buying shares in multiple oil companies or worrying about building a diversified portfolio. They are also safer and cheaper than buying individual oil stocks since you share the risks and costs with other investors. Most people, including experienced investors, use funds when investing.

10. Avoid Emotions and Stick to Your Rules

Once you’ve done all of the above and have your strategy in place, the key is to stick to it. Investing can be highly emotional at the best of times, and this is particularly true with an intense, high-paced approach such as margin trading.

It is important to review the success or failures of the strategy being implemented, but this should be done outside of trading hours when emotions can be somewhat removed from the process.

In conclusion, picking oil stocks can be a rewarding venture if you approach it with a clear strategy and focus on research, diversification, and discipline. By following these steps, even novice investors can build a successful oil stock portfolio and work towards their financial goals.

How to Trade Oil Stocks

To trade oil stocks in the UK, you’ll need to open a trading account and buy and sell oil company shares with brokers, such as XTB, eToro, and Interactive Investor.

Trading oil stocks can yield either profitable or unrewarding results, depending on your level of trading knowledge and aptitude as an investor. Thus, it is essential that you comprehend the inner workings of this particular market, including the potential risks and rewards, before venturing into it.

Follow the steps below to learn how to trade oil stocks:

  1. Learn Oil Trading Terminology: Trading oil stocks in the UK requires specialised knowledge of the terms used and an understanding of how the oil market operates.

    To thrive as a trader, one must grasp trading terminologies such as ask and bid prices, leverage ratios, price-volume action, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, bear and bull markets, lot sizes, margins, spots, forwards and futures markets, day trading, swing trading, scalping, going short, going long, and more – all with a focus on the oil sector.

  1. Decide on Your Trading Strategies: Numerous strategies can be employed when trading oil stocks. Some will concentrate purely on technical analysis, basing investment decisions on the movement of the stock price on a chart.

    Others will focus more on fundamental analysis, monitoring the oil company’s website, social media, and news cycles to capitalise on news and announcements that could affect an oil stock price. Most traders utilise a combination of both strategies, while some rely on alternative methods like AI-based algorithmic trading.

  1. Create a Trading Plan: Crafting a trading plan before diving into the market can prove advantageous. An effective trading plan outlines your ideal trade, desired profit, acceptable loss, and risk management strategies, all tailored to the oil sector.

  1. Consider Trading Fees Carefully: Trading oil stocks in the UK involves various costs. The main ones are the annual platform fee, dealing fee (or brokerage commission), foreign exchange fee, stamp duty, spread, overnight fee, transfer-out fee, and inactivity fee. The specific fee you incur will depend on the trading platform you choose.

  2. Choose a Tax Wrapper: A tax wrapper reduces the taxes you pay on the gains from your savings and investments. Examples of tax wrappers in the UK are individual savings accounts (ISAs) and pensions.

    If you prefer not to use a tax wrapper, perhaps because you have already exhausted your ISA allowance for the tax year, you can opt for a general investment account (GIA), which also offers some tax benefits. We delve into taxes and tax allowances in greater detail below.

  1. Open a Trading Account: Once you have devised a trading plan, honed a strategy, and learnt essential terminologies, it is time to open a trading account. This is the straightforward part.

    Visit any of the trading platforms mentioned above, provide a few personal details, verify your personal information, add a payment method, and fund your account. Always ensure that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the oil trading platform you register with. All trading platforms listed on Koody are FCA-regulated.

  1. Choose Your Trading Software: There is a wide range of trading software to choose from. Many of the best oil trading platforms in the UK offer their proprietary software, which can be highly effective and cater to all your trading needs. Examples include xStation 5 by XTB and SaxoTraderGO by Saxo.

    Others, such as Pepperstone, allow you to choose from a range of popular third-party trading software depending on your trading needs and skills. Examples of such trading software include MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), CTrader, TradingView, DupliTrade (for social and copy trading), and Capitalise AI (for code-free trading automation). The trading software you select will be connected to your trading account.

  1. Choose Your Market: There are several markets to trade in, including oil stocks, ETFs, bonds, indices, futures, options, and more. You can focus solely on oil stocks or diversify across multiple markets.

  1. Open a Position: If you think the price of an oil stock will rise, you can open a buy position, called “going long”. Conversely, if you believe the price of an oil stock will decline, you can open a sell position, called “going short”.

  1. Monitor Your Trades and Close Your Position: Trading oil stocks differs from long-term investing in an index fund or a ready-made portfolio. You must continually monitor your trades and implement relevant risk management strategies to help limit your losses. When satisfied with your profits, close your position to minimise losses and avoid fees such as overnight fees or stop loss premiums.

  1. Stay Informed About the Oil Market: The oil market is highly sensitive to geopolitical events, economic factors, and global supply and demand. As an oil stock trader, it is crucial to stay informed about these factors and how they affect oil prices.

    Keep an eye on industry news, OPEC decisions, and major developments in the energy sector. This knowledge will enable you to make informed trading decisions and anticipate market movements.

  1. Diversify Your Portfolio: While focusing on oil stocks can be lucrative, it is wise to diversify your portfolio to mitigate risks. Consider investing in other sectors, such as technology, healthcare, and renewable energy, to create a balanced investment portfolio.

The Future of Oil Investments

This exciting new age of investing offers a wealth of opportunities, as well as challenges, for those looking to balance profits with social responsibility.

In this section, we’ll discuss environmental concerns, socially responsible investing, and emerging opportunities in the energy sector.

1. Environmental Concerns and the Shift Towards Renewable Energy

The oil industry has long been associated with significant environmental concerns, from greenhouse gas emissions to the devastating effects of oil spills. As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, governments and consumers are pushing for a shift towards renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.

As an investor, it’s crucial to stay ahead of this trend and consider the long-term viability of oil stocks. For example, BP, a major oil and gas company, has been investing in renewable energy projects to reduce its carbon footprint and diversify its energy portfolio.

By keeping an eye on such initiatives, you can make informed decisions about which oil stocks are most likely to adapt and thrive in a changing energy landscape.

2. Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing (SRI) involves selecting investments based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Many investors are increasingly prioritising SRI, seeking to align their portfolios with their values and contribute to a more sustainable future.

As a savvy investor, you may want to explore SRI funds or ETFs that focus on clean energy or companies with strong ESG performance. For example, the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (INRG) invests in a diversified portfolio of clean energy companies, providing exposure to this growing sector while adhering to ethical considerations.

3. Emerging Opportunities in the Energy Sector

The energy sector is evolving rapidly, offering new opportunities for forward-thinking investors. Companies developing innovative technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells, electric vehicles, and battery storage, present potential investment options as the world moves towards cleaner energy solutions.

One such example is Tesla ($TSLA), the electric vehicle manufacturer that has made significant strides in battery technology and renewable energy solutions. By investing in companies like Tesla, you can not only support the transition to a more sustainable energy future but also potentially benefit from the growth in this emerging sector.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it a good idea to invest in oil?

Investing in oil can be profitable due to its high demand and its role as a global energy source. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as market volatility, geopolitical events, and environmental concerns when deciding to invest in oil. Diversification is key, so consider allocating a portion of your portfolio to oil investments rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.

2. How do I invest in oil in the UK?

In the UK, you can invest in oil through various methods, such as purchasing shares of oil companies, investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), trading oil futures and options, or even investing in physical oil assets like oil wells and royalties. Each method has its own set of risks and potential rewards, so it’s crucial to choose the one that best aligns with your investment goals and risk tolerance.

3. How do I start trading in oil?

To start trading oil, you’ll need to open an account with a broker that offers access to oil markets, such as XTB, AJ Bell, or Pepperstone. Familiarise yourself with the different types of oil instruments, like spot prices, futures, and options, and ensure you understand the mechanics and risks involved before diving in.

4. Is oil a risky investment?

Oil can be a risky investment due to its price volatility, which can be influenced by factors such as geopolitical events, natural disasters, and changes in supply and demand. To mitigate risks, consider diversifying your investments and using proper risk management strategies, such as stop-loss orders and position sizing.

5. How do I invest in oil with little money?

You can invest in oil with little money by purchasing shares of oil companies or investing in oil ETFs. Some brokers, such as eToro and InvestEngine, offer fractional shares and ETFs, which allow you to invest in a portion of a share rather than the full share price. This can make investing in oil more accessible to those with limited funds.

6. How do I trade crude oil in the UK?

In the UK, you can trade crude oil through financial instruments like spot prices, futures, options, CFDs, and spread bets. Choose a broker that provides access to some of these markets, such as Pepperstone, XTB, or CMC Markets, and ensure you understand the mechanics and risks involved before trading.

7. Is oil trading profitable?

Oil trading can be profitable, but it also carries risks due to the volatile nature of oil prices. Proper risk management, discipline, and a well-thought-out trading strategy are essential for success in oil trading.

8. What are the best oil trading platforms in the UK?

Here are the best oil trading platforms in the UK:

  1. XTB - Oil Share CFDs, ETF CFDs, and Spot Prices
  2. Pepperstone - Oil Share CFDs, ETF CFDs, and Spot Prices
  3. CMC Markets - Oil Share CFDs, ETF CFDs, Spot Prices, and Spread Bets
  4. eToro - Oil Shares, ETFs, and CFDs
  5. Saxo - Oil Shares, ETFs, CFDs, Spot Prices, Futures, and Options
  6. Interactive Investor - Oil Shares and ETFs
  7. AJ Bell - Oil Shares and ETFs
  8. Freetrade - Oil Shares and ETFs

9. What type of oil should I invest in?

The most common types of oil to invest in are Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude. Both are widely traded and have significant price influence in the global oil market. Another common type of oil to invest in is the Dubai/Oman crude, produced in the Middle East and a key reference for oil prices in Asia.

10. Is UK oil and gas a good investment?

UK oil and gas investments can be profitable, but it is essential to consider factors such as market volatility, geopolitical events, and environmental concerns when deciding to invest. Perform thorough research on the specific companies and projects you’re considering and assess their potential for growth and profitability.

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