The history of oil trading can be traced back to commodity trading where goods such as gold, oil, coffee, and orange juice are dynamically traded. In a commodity market, the good must be standardized, raw, and unprocessed. They should also have an adequate shelf life for delivery. Finally, there must be price fluctuation and uncertainty for the goods. These three characteristics make the trading of commodities such as oil possible and profitable.
Commodity trading is something that is not a recent economic phenomenon, although the old forms of it are very much different from what it looks today. Civilizations as old as ancient Sumeria have engaged in commodity trading in order to have a system of delivery of goods and make commerce more efficient and well-organized.