Prices are based on historical free market (stripper) oil prices of Illinois Crude as presented by Illinois Oil and Gas Association and Plains All American Oil. Typically Illinois Crude is a couple of dollars cheaper per barrel than West Texas Intermediate (WTI) because it requires a bit more refining. A world oil price in the range of $55 to $60 per barrel is less than the cost of Russian Arctic oil production, European and Brazilian biofuel production, US and Canadian shale and tight oil production, and Brazilian presalt oil production. Sustained price levels below the cost of production can deter exploration and production and shift production potential for years to come. The obvious answer, you might be thinking, is 42-gallons of gooey, black crude. And that's technically correct. However, there is so much more potential in that barrel of oil than fossil fuel alone. One barrel = 42 US gallons = 159 litres = an abundance of possibilities. What is crude oil? First, we'll start with the basics: what is crude oil?