When Oil was $140 a Barrel in 2008

When Oil  was $140 a Barrel in 2008

Last week, Bernie Sanders released the data containing the positions of people in the oil futures markets in 2008 when oil was about to peak.  At the time, oil was 140 dollars on its way to an all time high of 145 dollars, which occurred just a few days later.  As a trader, I know that this data is not all encompassing.  It does not take into account the options markets or hedges that are actually occurring.  For example, many of the airlines are seen as net long in the futures markets, but they could simply be offsetting the rising costs of the actual fuel they have to buy.

Here is that list.  I have gone through and shortened the list by removing any position that has a disparity of less (long – short) than 1000 contracts.  I have also taken the time to divide the list up by industry.


Oil Futures Positions Tabulated


Here are some highlights:

The total positions in banks ended up being a net short of 139099 futures contracts.

Energy companies ended up being net long 48949 futures contracts.

Hedge funds were net short to the tune of 15541 futures contracts.

The largest net positions were:








The most active groups in the markets were:

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. Vitol SA (Energy Co)
  3. Morgan Stanley
  4. Barclays
  5. Deutsche Bank AG


BryanF- Again, I know that this list of positions does not tell the whole story but there are some interesting tidbits.  For instance, the banks held more outstanding futures positions than all of the other industries combined.  Also, there are some interesting institutions holding large positions.  For example, Yale University was short 2938 contracts while various Dutch pension funds were long 54,870 futures contracts.  Take a few minutes and peruse the list.  Can anyone come up with some interesting conclusions? If so, please feel free to post them in the comments below.