10-Q 1 uso-20240331x10q.htm 10-Q
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-Q

Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2024.

or

Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the transition period from                      to                     .

Commission file number: 001-32834

United States Oil Fund, LP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

    

20-2830691

(State or other jurisdiction of

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

Identification No.)

1850 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Suite 640

Walnut Creek, California 94596

(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

(510) 522-9600

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

N/A

(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

Title of each class:

    

Trading Symbol(s)

    

Name of each exchange
on which registered:

Shares of United States Oil Fund, LP

USO

NYSE Arca, Inc.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes    No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes    No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large Accelerated Filer

Accelerated Filer

Non-Accelerated Filer

Smaller Reporting Company

Emerging Growth Company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided in Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.).  Yes    No

The registrant had 18,523,603 outstanding shares as of May 3, 2024.

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Financial Condition

At March 31, 2024 (Unaudited) and December 31, 2023

    

March 31, 2024

    

December 31, 2023

Assets

Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $909,064,898 and $952,408,574, respectively) (Notes 2 and 5)

$

909,064,898

$

952,408,574

Equity in trading accounts:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $359,674,710 and $511,287,941, respectively)

 

359,674,710

 

511,287,941

Unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts

56,477,810

3,051,930

Unrealized gain (loss) on open swap contracts

(2,088)

(1,906)

Receivable for shares sold

132,771,216

113,785,226

Dividends receivable

 

1,449,170

 

1,460,430

Interest receivable

 

4,129,547

 

4,646,281

Prepaid insurance

242,909

72,180

ETF transaction fees receivable

4,000

2,000

Total Assets

$

1,463,812,172

$

1,586,712,656

Liabilities and Partners’ Capital

 

 

Payable due to Broker

$

63,264

$

16,928,846

Payable for shares redeemed

39,464,986

General Partner management fees payable (Note 3)

519,097

574,149

Professional fees payable

 

942,990

 

1,629,830

Brokerage commissions payable

119,336

119,336

Directors’ fees payable

 

33,570

 

32,993

License fees payable

74,912

81,961

Total Liabilities

 

41,218,155

 

19,367,115

Commitments and Contingencies (Notes 3, 4 & 5)

 

 

Partners’ Capital

 

 

General Partners

 

 

Limited Partners

 

1,422,594,017

 

1,567,345,541

Total Partners’ Capital

 

1,422,594,017

 

1,567,345,541

Total Liabilities and Partners’ Capital

$

1,463,812,172

$

1,586,712,656

Limited Partners’ shares outstanding

18,023,603

23,423,603

Net asset value per share

$

78.93

$

66.91

Market value per share

$

78.73

$

66.65

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

2

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Schedule of Investments (Unaudited)

At March 31, 2024

Fair

Value/Unrealized

Gain (Loss) on

Number of

Open Commodity

% of Partners’

    

Notional Amount

    

Contracts

    

Contracts

    

Capital

Open Commodity Futures Contracts - Long

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL May 2024 contracts, expiring April 2024*

$

1,049,766,360

13,301

$

56,477,810

3.97

Shares/Principal

% of Partners’

    

Amount

    

Market Value

    

Capital

Cash Equivalents

 

  

 

  

 

  

United States Money Market Funds

 

  

 

  

 

  

Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds - Government Portfolio - Institutional Shares, 5.22%#

327,450,000

$

327,450,000

23.02

Total United States Money Market Funds

327,450,000

23.02

Open OTC Commodity Swap Contracts

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

Unrealized

Fair

Gain (Loss)

Value/Open

Upfront

on

Fund Receives

Commodity

Payments/

Commodity

from

Fund Pays

Payment

Expiration

Notional

Swap

(Premiums

Swap

Counterparty

Counterparty

Counterparty

Frequency

Date

Amount

Contracts

Received)

Contracts(a)

SOC GEN SGIXCWTI 12282023Index(b)

 

0.25

%

Societe Generale

 

monthly

 

06/28/2024

 

133,507,753

 

133,506,965

 

 

(788)

MACQUARIE MQCP361E 01182024Index(b)

 

0.26

 

Macquarie Bank Ltd.

 

monthly

 

07/19/2024

 

182,442,678

 

182,441,378

 

 

(1,300)

Total Open OTC Commodity Swap Contracts˄

 

315,950,431

 

315,948,343

 

 

(2,088)

(a)Reflects the value at reset date of March 28, 2024.

(b)Custom index comprised of a basket of underlying instruments.

#Reflects the 7 - day yield at March 31, 2024.

ÙCollateral amounted to $13,580,000 on open OTC commodity swap contracts.

*Collateral amounted to $346,094,710 on open commodity futures contracts.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

3

United States Oil Fund, LP

Schedule of Investments

At December 31, 2023

    

    

    

    

    

Fair

    

    

Value/

Unrealized Gain

(Loss) on Open

Notional

Number of

Commodity

% of Partners’

Amount

Contracts

Contracts

Capital

Open Commodity Futures Contracts - Long

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL February 2024 contracts, expiring January 2024

$

1,225,940,440

 

17,200

$

6,439,560

 

0.41

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL March 2024 contracts, expiring February 2024

 

68,259,150

 

903

 

(3,387,630)

 

(0.22)

Total Open Futures Contracts*

$

1,294,199,590

 

18,103

$

3,051,930

 

0.19

    

Shares/Principal

    

    

% of Partners’

Amount

Market Value

Capital

Cash Equivalents

 

  

 

  

 

  

United States Money Market Funds

 

  

 

  

 

  

Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds - Government Portfolio - Institutional Shares, 5.27%#

 

327,450,000

$

327,450,000

 

20.89

Total United States Money Market Funds

$

327,450,000

 

20.89

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

Unrealized

Fair

Gain (Loss)

Value/Open

on

Fund Receives

  

  

  

  

  

Commodity

Upfront

Commodity

from

Fund Pays

  

Payment

Expiration

Notional

Swap

Payments/(Premiums

Swap

Counterparty

Counterparty

Counterparty

Frequency

Date

Amount

Contracts

Received)

Contracts(a)

MACQUARIE MQCP361E 01192024Index(b)

 

0.26

%  

Macquarie Bank Ltd.

 

monthly

 

01/19/2024

$

156,190,238

$

156,189,126

 

$

(1,112)

SOC GEN SGIXCWTI 12292023Index(b)

 

0.25

%  

Societe Generale

 

monthly

 

06/28/2024

 

114,296,974

 

114,296,180

 

 

(794)

Total Open OTC Commodity Swap ContractsÙ

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

$

270,487,212

$

270,485,306

 

$

(1,906)

(a)Reflects the value at reset date of December 29, 2023.
(b)Custom index comprised of a basket of underlying instruments.

#Reflects the 7-day yield at December 31, 2023.

ÙCollateral amounted to $27,568,431 on open OTC commodity swap contracts.

*Collateral amounted to $483,719,510 on open commodity futures contracts.

See accompanying notes to financial statements.

4

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Operations (Unaudited)

For the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023

Three months ended

Three months ended

    

March 31, 2024

    

March 31, 2023

Income

 

  

 

  

Gain (loss) on trading of commodity futures and swap contracts:

 

  

 

  

Realized gain (loss) on closed commodity futures contracts

$

127,430,470

$

(29,687,453)

Realized gain (loss) on closed OTC commodity swap contracts

45,287,234

(17,423,934)

Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts

 

53,425,880

 

(36,340,617)

Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open OTC commodity swap contracts

(182)

2,194

Dividend income

 

4,225,433

 

5,094,474

Interest income

 

12,692,307

 

11,448,517

ETF transaction fees

108,000

71,000

Total Income (Loss)

$

243,169,142

$

(66,835,819)

Expenses

 

 

General Partner management fees (Note 3)

$

1,583,453

$

1,875,162

Professional fees

 

727,464

 

516,580

Brokerage commissions

 

394,046

 

175,146

Directors’ fees and insurance

 

116,227

 

194,237

License fees

 

52,781

 

62,505

Total Expenses

$

2,873,971

$

2,823,630

Net Income (Loss)

$

240,295,171

$

(69,659,449)

Net Income (Loss) per limited partner share

$

12.02

$

(3.58)

Net Income (Loss) per weighted average limited partner share

$

12.21

$

(2.76)

Weighted average limited partner shares outstanding

 

19,677,449

 

25,225,825

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

5

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Changes in Partners’ Capital (Unaudited)

For the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023

Limited Partners*

Three months ended

Three months ended

    

March 31, 2024

    

March 31, 2023

Balances at beginning of period

 

$

1,567,345,541

 

$

1,977,015,338

Addition of 33,400,000 and 13,300,000 partnership shares, respectively

2,396,976,031

861,028,987

Redemption of (38,800,000) and (17,000,000) partnership shares, respectively

(2,782,022,726)

(1,138,183,917)

Net income (loss)

240,295,171

(69,659,449)

Balances at end of period

 

$

1,422,594,017

 

$

1,630,200,959

*General Partners’ shares outstanding and capital for the periods presented were zero.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

6

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

For the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023

Three months ended

Three months ended

    

March 31, 2024

    

March 31, 2023

Cash Flows from Operating Activities:

 

  

 

  

Net income (loss)

$

240,295,171

$

(69,659,449)

Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:

 

 

Change in unrealized (gain) loss on open commodity futures contracts

 

(53,425,880)

 

36,340,617

Change in unrealized (gain) loss on open swap contracts

182

(2,194)

(Increase) decrease in dividends receivable

 

11,260

 

3,156,834

(Increase) decrease in interest receivable

 

516,734

 

(1,816,387)

(Increase) decrease in investment securities sold

(Increase) decrease in prepaid insurance

 

(170,729)

 

(355,089)

(Increase) decrease in ETF transaction fees receivable

(2,000)

Increase (decrease) payable due to custody

(1,012,851)

Increase (decrease) in payable due to Broker

(16,865,582)

3,309,888

Increase (decrease) in General Partner management fees payable

 

(55,052)

 

(254,263)

Increase (decrease) in professional fees payable

 

(686,840)

 

(1,049,376)

Increase (decrease) in brokerage commissions payable

 

 

2,151

Increase (decrease) in directors’ fees payable

 

577

 

(8,333)

Increase (decrease) in license fees payable

 

(7,049)

 

(19,534)

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

 

169,610,792

 

(31,367,986)

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:

 

 

Addition of partnership shares

 

2,377,990,041

 

861,028,987

Redemption of partnership shares

 

(2,742,557,740)

 

(1,138,183,917)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

(364,567,699)

 

(277,154,930)

Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

(194,956,907)

 

(308,522,916)

Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts, beginning of period

 

1,463,696,515

 

1,953,896,501

Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts, end of period

$

1,268,739,608

$

1,645,373,585

Components of Cash and Cash Equivalents, and Equity in Trading Account:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

909,064,898

$

563,367,949

Equity in Trading Accounts:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

359,674,710

 

1,082,005,636

Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts

$

1,268,739,608

$

1,645,373,585

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

7

United States Oil Fund, LP

Notes to Condensed Financial Statements (Unaudited)

For the period ended March 31, 2024

NOTE 1 — ORGANIZATION AND BUSINESS

The United States Oil Fund, LP (“USO”) was organized as a limited partnership under the laws of the state of Delaware on May 12, 2005. USO is a commodity pool that issues limited partnership interests (“shares”) that are traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “NYSE Arca”). Prior to November 25, 2008, USO’s shares traded on the American Stock Exchange (the “AMEX”). USO will continue in perpetuity, unless terminated sooner upon the occurrence of one or more events as described in its Seventh Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership dated as of December 15, 2017 (the “LP Agreement”), which grants full management control to its general partner, United States Commodity Funds LLC (“USCF”). The investment objective of USO is for the daily changes in percentage terms of its shares’ per share net asset value (“NAV”) to reflect the daily changes in percentage terms of the spot price of light, sweet crude oil delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma, as measured by the daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses. The Benchmark Oil Futures Contract is the futures contract for light, sweet crude oil as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (the “NYMEX”) that is the near month contract to expire and changes, over a ten-day period, into the NYMEX futures contract that is the next month to expire. The change from the near month contract to the next month contract occurs at the beginning of each month and will be approximately proportional, relative to total net assets, over each day of the ten-day roll period.

USO seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing so that the average daily percentage change in USO’s NAV for any period of 30 successive valuation days will be within plus/minus ten percent (10)% of the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract over the same period. As a result, investors should be aware that USO would meet its investment objective even if there are significant deviations between changes in its daily NAV and changes in the daily price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract provided that the average daily percentage change in USO’s NAV over 30 successive valuation days is within plus/minus ten percent (10%) of the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract over the same period.

USO seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing primarily in futures contracts for light, sweet crude oil and other types of crude oil, diesel-heating oil, gasoline, natural gas and other petroleum-based fuels that are traded on the NYMEX, ICE Futures or other U.S. and foreign exchanges (collectively, “Oil Futures Contracts”) and to a lesser extent, in order to comply with regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or in view of market conditions, and other oil-related investments such as cash-settled options on Oil Futures Contracts, forward contracts for oil, cleared swap contracts and over-the-counter (“OTC”) transactions that are based on the price of crude oil, diesel-heating oil, gasoline, natural gas and other petroleum-based fuels, Oil Futures Contracts and indices based on the foregoing (collectively, “Other Oil-Related Investments”). As of March 31, 2024, USO held 13,301 Oil Futures Contracts for light, sweet crude oil traded on the NYMEX and did not hold any Oil Futures Contracts for light, sweet crude oil traded on the ICE Futures Europe.

Following the significant market volatility that occurred in the Spring of 2020 and the market conditions, regulatory requirements and risk mitigation measures taken by USO and USO’s FCM that impacted USO as a result thereof, USO previously disclosed the parameters for making decisions regarding the permitted investments USO would hold, including the intended order of priority in selecting investments and the type of investments to be held in its portfolio. Beginning with the monthly roll in September 2023 and ending with the monthly roll in January 2024, USO began transitioning its investment portfolio so that it primarily invests in Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts, consistent with USO’s investment strategy prior to the Spring of 2020. However, USO has had, and will continue to have, the ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps, and USO may make such investments if market conditions, regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or other factors require USO to do so in order to meet its investment objective. USO may invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and/or Other Oil-Related Investments, as a result or in response to any of the foregoing factors.

Investors should be aware that USO’s investment objective is not for its NAV or market price of shares to equal, in dollar terms, the spot price of light, sweet crude oil or any particular futures contract based on light, sweet crude oil, nor is USO’s investment objective for the percentage change in its NAV to reflect the percentage change of the price of any particular futures contract as measured over a time period greater than one day. This is because natural market forces called contango and backwardation may impact and have

8

impacted the total return on an investment in USO’s shares relative to a hypothetical direct investment in crude oil and, in the future, it is likely that the relationship between the market price of USO’s shares and changes in the spot prices of light, sweet crude oil will continue to be impacted by contango and backwardation. While USO’s shares may be impacted by contango and backwardation, the potential costs associated with physically owning and storing crude oil, could be substantial. USCF believes that it is not practical to manage the portfolio to achieve the foregoing investment objective when investing in Oil Futures Contracts (as defined below) and Other Oil-Related Investments (as defined below).

USO commenced investment operations on April 10, 2006 and has a fiscal year ending on December 31. USCF is responsible for the management of USO. USCF is a member of the National Futures Association (the “NFA”) and became registered as a commodity pool operator with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) effective December 1, 2005 and a swaps firm on August 8, 2013.

USCF is also the general partner of the United States Natural Gas Fund, LP (“UNG”), the United States 12 Month Oil Fund, LP (“USL”), the United States Gasoline Fund, LP (“UGA”), the United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund, LP (“UNL”) and the United States Brent Oil Fund, LP (“BNO”).

USCF is also the sponsor of the United States Commodity Index Funds Trust (“USCIFT”), a Delaware statutory trust and each of its series: the United States Commodity Index Fund (“USCI”) and the United States Copper Index Fund (“CPER”).

UNG, UGA, UNL, USL, BNO, USCI and CPER are referred to collectively herein as the “Related Public Funds.”

USO issues shares to certain authorized purchasers (“Authorized Participants”) by offering baskets consisting of 100,000 shares (“Creation Baskets”) through ALPS Distributors, Inc., as the marketing agent (the “Marketing Agent”). The purchase price for a Creation Basket is based upon the NAV of a share calculated shortly after the close of the core trading session on the NYSE Arca on the day the order to create the basket is properly received.

Authorized Participants pay USO a transaction fee of $1,000 for each order they place to create one or more Creation Baskets or to redeem one or more baskets (“Redemption Baskets”), consisting of 100,000 shares. Shares may be purchased or sold on a nationally recognized securities exchange in smaller increments than a Creation Basket or Redemption Basket. Shares purchased or sold on a nationally recognized securities exchange are not purchased or sold at the per share NAV of USO but rather at market prices quoted on such exchange.

On April 28, 2020, after the close of trading on the NYSE Arca, USO effected a 1-for-8 reverse share split and post-split shares of USO began trading on April 29, 2020. As a result of the reverse share split, every eight pre-split shares of USO were automatically exchanged for one post-split share. Immediately prior to the reverse split, there were 1,482,900,000 shares of USO issued and outstanding, representing a per share NAV of $2.04. Immediately after the effect of the reverse share split, the number of issued and outstanding shares of USO decreased to 185,362,500, not accounting for fractional shares, and the per share NAV increased to $16.35. In connection with the reverse share split, the CUSIP number for USO’s shares changed to 91232N207. USO’s ticker symbol, “USO,” remains the same. The accompanying financial statements have been adjusted to reflect the effect of the reverse share split on a retroactive basis.

In April 2006, USO initially registered 17,000,000 shares on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). On April 10, 2006, USO listed its shares on the AMEX under the ticker symbol “USO” and switched to trading on the NYSE Arca under the same ticker symbol on November 25, 2008. On that day, USO established its initial per share NAV by setting the price at $67.39 and issued 200,000 shares in exchange for $13,479,000. USO also commenced investment operations on April 10, 2006, by purchasing Oil Futures Contracts traded on the NYMEX based on light, sweet crude oil. USO has an unlimited number of shares registered and available for issuance. On August 29, 2023, the SEC declared effective a registration statement filed by USO that registered an unlimited number of shares. As a result, USO has an unlimited number of shares that can be issued in the form of Creation Baskets.

The accompanying unaudited condensed financial statements have been prepared in accordance with Rule 10-01 of Regulation S-X promulgated by the SEC and, therefore, do not include all information and footnote disclosure required under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”). The financial information included herein is unaudited; however, such financial information reflects all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments, which are, in the opinion of USCF, necessary for the fair presentation of the condensed financial statements for the interim period.

9

NOTE 2 — SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Basis of Presentation

The condensed financial statements have been prepared in conformity with U.S. GAAP as detailed in the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification. USO is an investment company for accounting purposes and follows the accounting and reporting guidance in FASB Topic 946.

Revenue Recognition

Commodity futures contracts, swap and forward contracts, physical commodities and related options are recorded on the trade date. All such transactions are recorded on the identified cost basis and marked to market daily. Unrealized gains or losses on open contracts are reflected in the condensed statements of financial condition and represent the difference between the original contract amount and the market value (as determined by exchange settlement prices for futures contracts and related options and cash dealer prices at a predetermined time for swap and forward contracts, physical commodities, and their related options) as of the last business day of the year or as of the last date of the condensed financial statements. Changes in the unrealized gains or losses between periods are reflected in the condensed statements of operations. USO earns income on funds held at the custodian or futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) at prevailing market rates earned on such investments.

Brokerage Commissions

Brokerage commissions on all open commodity futures contracts are accrued on a full-turn basis.

Income Taxes

USO is not subject to federal income taxes; each partner reports his/her allocable share of income, gain, loss, deductions or credits on his/her own income tax return.

In accordance with U.S. GAAP, USO is required to determine whether a tax position is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by the applicable taxing authority, including resolution of any tax related appeals or litigation processes, based on the technical merits of the position. USO files an income tax return in the U.S. federal jurisdiction and may file income tax returns in various U.S. states. USO is not subject to income tax return examinations by major taxing authorities for years before 2019. The tax benefit recognized is measured as the largest amount of benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement. De-recognition of a tax benefit previously recognized results in USO recording a tax liability that reduces net assets. However, USO’s conclusions regarding this policy may be subject to review and adjustment at a later date based on factors including, but not limited to, on-going analysis of and changes to tax laws, regulations and interpretations thereof. USO recognizes interest accrued related to unrecognized tax benefits and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax fees payable, if assessed. No interest expense or penalties have been recognized as of and for the period ended March 31, 2024.

Creations and Redemptions

Authorized Participants may purchase Creation Baskets or redeem Redemption Baskets only in blocks of 100,000 shares at a price equal to the NAV of the shares calculated shortly after the close of the core trading session on the NYSE Arca on the day the order is placed.

USO receives or pays the proceeds from shares sold or redeemed within two business days after the trade date of the purchase or redemption. The amounts due from Authorized Participants are reflected in USO’s condensed statements of financial condition as receivable for shares sold and amounts payable to Authorized Participants upon redemption are reflected as payable for shares redeemed.

Authorized Participants pay USO a $1,000 transaction fee for each order placed to create one or more Creation Baskets or to redeem one or more Redemption Baskets.

10

Partnership Capital and Allocation of Partnership Income and Losses

Profit or loss shall be allocated among the partners of USO in proportion to the weighted-average number of shares each partner holds as of the close of each month. USCF may revise, alter or otherwise modify this method of allocation as described in the LP Agreement.

Calculation of Per Share NAV

USO’s per share NAV is calculated on each NYSE Arca trading day by taking the current market value of its total assets, subtracting any liabilities and dividing that amount by the total number of shares outstanding. USO uses the closing price for the contracts on the relevant exchange on that day to determine the value of contracts held on such exchange.

Net Income (Loss) Per Share

Net income (loss) per share is the difference between the per share NAV at the beginning of each period and at the end of each period. The weighted average number of shares outstanding was computed for purposes of disclosing net income (loss) per weighted average share. The weighted average shares are equal to the number of shares outstanding at the end of the period, adjusted proportionately for shares added and redeemed based on the amount of time the shares were outstanding during such period. There were no shares held by USCF at March 31, 2024.

Offering Costs

Offering costs incurred in connection with the registration of additional shares after the initial registration of shares are borne by USO. These costs include registration fees paid to regulatory agencies and all legal, accounting, printing and other expenses associated with such offerings. These costs are accounted for as a deferred charge and thereafter amortized to expense over twelve months on a straight-line basis or a shorter period if warranted.

Cash Equivalents

Cash equivalents include money market funds and overnight deposits or time deposits with original maturity dates of three months or less.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of condensed financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires USCF to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the condensed financial statements, and the reported amounts of the revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results may differ from those estimates and assumptions.

NOTE 3 — FEES PAID BY THE FUND AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

USCF Management Fee

Under the LP Agreement, USCF is responsible for investing the assets of USO in accordance with the objectives and policies of USO. In addition, USCF has arranged for one or more third parties to provide administrative, custody, accounting, transfer agency and other necessary services to USO. For these services, USO is contractually obligated to pay USCF a fee, which is paid monthly, equal to 0.45% per annum of average daily total net assets.

Ongoing Registration Fees and Other Offering Expenses

USO pays all costs and expenses associated with the ongoing registration of its shares subsequent to the initial offering. These costs include registration or other fees paid to regulatory agencies in connection with the offer and sale of shares, and all legal, accounting, printing and other expenses associated with such offer and sale. For the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023, USO did not incur registration fees and other offering expenses.

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Independent Directors’ and Officers’ Expenses

USO is responsible for paying its portion of the directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for USO and the Related Public Funds and the fees and expenses of the independent directors who also serve as audit committee members of USO and the Related Public Funds. USO shares the fees and expenses on a pro rata basis with each Related Public Fund, as described above, based on the relative assets of each Related Public Fund computed on a daily basis. These fees and expenses for the year ending December 31, 2024 are estimated to be a total of $441,000 for USO and, in the aggregate for USO and the Related Public Funds, $945,000.

Licensing Fees

As discussed in Note 4 below, USO entered into a licensing agreement with the NYMEX on December April 10, 2006, as amended on October 20, 2011. Pursuant to the agreement, USO and the Related Public Funds, other than BNO, USCI and CPER, pay a licensing fee that is equal to 0.015% on all net assets. During the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023, USO incurred $52,781 and $62,505, respectively under this arrangement.

Investor Tax Reporting Cost

The fees and expenses associated with USO’s audit expenses and tax accounting and reporting requirements are paid by USO. These costs are estimated to be $2,300,000 for the year ending December 31, 2024. Tax reporting costs fluctuate between years due to the number of shareholders during any given year.

Other Expenses and Fees

In addition to the fees described above, USO pays all brokerage fees and other expenses in connection with the operation of USO, excluding costs and expenses paid by USCF as outlined in Note 4 – Contracts and Agreements below.

NOTE 4 — CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS

Marketing Agent Agreement

USO is party to a marketing agent agreement, dated as of March 13, 2006, as amended from time to time, with the Marketing Agent and USCF, whereby the Marketing Agent provides certain marketing services for USO as outlined in the agreement. The fees of the Marketing Agent through September 30, 2022, which were borne by USCF, included a marketing fee of $425,000 per annum plus the following incentive fee: 0.00% on USO’s assets from $0 – $500 million; 0.04% on USO’s assets from $500 million – $4 billion and 0.03% on USO’s assets in excess of $4 billion. The agreement with the Marketing Agent was amended and, commencing October 1, 2022, the fee of the Marketing Agent, which is calculated daily and payable monthly by USCF, is equal to 0.025% of USO’s total net assets. In no event may the aggregate compensation paid to the Marketing Agent and any affiliate of USCF for distribution-related services exceed 10% of the gross proceeds of USO’s offering.

The above fee does not include website construction and development, which are also borne by USCF.

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Custody, Transfer Agency and Fund Administration and Accounting Services Agreements

USCF engaged The Bank of New York Mellon, a New York corporation authorized to conduct a banking business (“BNY Mellon”), to provide USO and each of the Related Public Funds with certain custodial, administrative and accounting, and transfer agency services, pursuant to the following agreements with BNY Mellon dated as of March 20, 2020 (together, the “BNY Mellon Agreements”), which were effective as of April 1, 2020: (i) a Custody Agreement; (ii) a Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement; and (iii) a Transfer Agency and Service Agreement. USCF pays the fees of BNY Mellon for its services under the BNY Mellon Agreements and such fees are determined by the parties from time to time.

Brokerage and Futures Commission Merchant Agreements

USO entered into a brokerage agreement with RBC Capital Markets LLC (“RBC”) to serve as USO’s FCM effective October 10, 2013. USO has engaged each of Marex North America, LLC, formerly RCG Division of Marex Spectron (“MNA”), Marex Capital Markets Inc., formerly E D & F Man Capital Markets Inc. (“MCM”), Macquarie Futures USA LLC (“MFUSA”) and ADM Investor Services, Inc. (“ADMIS”) to serve as additional FCMs to USO effective on May 28, 2020, June 5, 2020, December 3, 2020 and August 8, 2023, respectively. The agreements with USO’s FCMs require the FCMs to provide services to USO in connection with the purchase and sale of Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments that may be purchased and sold by or through the applicable FCM for USO’s account. In accordance with the FCM agreements, USO pays each FCM commissions of approximately $7 to $8 per round-turn trade, including applicable exchange, clearing and NFA fees for Oil Futures Contracts and options on Oil Futures Contracts. Such fees include those incurred when purchasing Oil Futures Contracts and options on Oil Futures Contracts when USO issues shares as a result of a Creation Basket, as well as fees incurred when selling Oil Futures Contracts and options on Oil Futures Contracts when USO redeems shares as a result of a Redemption Basket. Such fees are also incurred when Oil Futures Contracts and options on Oil Futures Contracts are purchased or redeemed for the purpose of rebalancing the portfolio. USO also incurs commissions to brokers for the purchase and sale of Oil Futures Contracts, Other Oil-Related Investments or short-term obligations of the United States of two years or less (“Treasuries”).

    

Three months ended

Three months ended

  

    

March 31, 2024

    

March 31, 2023

Total commissions accrued to brokers

$

394,046

$

175,146

Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets

 

0.11

%  

 

0.04

%

The increase in total commissions accrued to brokers for the three months ended March 31, 2024, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2023, was due primarily to a higher number of crude oil futures contracts being held and traded.

For the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023, the monthly average volume of open futures contract notional value was $1,099,028,412 and $1,422,127,536, respectively.

Swap Dealer Agreements

USO entered into ISDA 2002 Master Agreements with each of Macquarie Bank Limited (the “Macquarie ISDA”) and Société Générale S.A. (“Société Générale ISDA”) on November 30, 2021 and June 13, 2022, respectively, pursuant to which each of Macquarie Bank Limited and Société Générale has agreed to serve as an over-the-counter (“OTC”) swap counterparty for USO. The Macquarie ISDA and the Société Générale ISDA each provide USO with the ability to invest in OTC swaps in furtherance of USO’s investment objective by providing it with investment flexibility in light of market conditions, liquidity, regulatory requirements, and risk diversification. USO may enter into OTC swap transactions under each of the Macquarie ISDA and Société Générale ISDA in light of the foregoing. Any OTC swap transactions of USO that are outstanding under the Macquarie ISDA and the Société Générale ISDA, along with USO’s other holdings, are posted on USO’s webpage, www.uscfinvestments.com. In accordance with each of the swap agreements described above, USO pays each swap dealer a flat fee in a range between 0.20% and 0.30% on the daily notional value of each OTC swap transaction.

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NYMEX Licensing Agreement

USO and the NYMEX entered into a licensing agreement on April 10, 2006, as amended on October 20, 2011, whereby USO was granted a non-exclusive license to use certain of the NYMEX’s settlement prices and service marks. Under the licensing agreement, USO and the Related Public Funds, other than BNO, USCI, and CPER, pay the NYMEX an asset-based fee for the license, the terms of which are described in Note 3. USO expressly disclaims any association with the NYMEX or endorsement of USO by the NYMEX and acknowledges that “NYMEX” and “New York Mercantile Exchange” are registered trademarks of the NYMEX.

NOTE 5 — FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS, OFF-BALANCE SHEET RISKS AND CONTINGENCIES

USO may engage in the trading of futures contracts, options on futures contracts, cleared swaps and OTC swaps (collectively, “derivatives”). USO is exposed to both market risk, which is the risk arising from changes in the market value of the contracts, and credit risk, which is the risk of failure by another party to perform according to the terms of a contract.

USO may enter into futures contracts, options on futures contracts, cleared swaps, and OTC swaps to gain exposure to changes in the value of an underlying commodity. A futures contract obligates the seller to deliver (and the purchaser to accept) the future delivery of a specified quantity and type of a commodity at a specified time and place. Some futures contracts may call for physical delivery of the asset, while others are settled in cash. The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller may generally be satisfied by taking or making physical delivery of the underlying commodity or by making an offsetting sale or purchase of an identical futures contract on the same or linked exchange before the designated date of delivery. Cleared swaps are agreements that are eligible to be cleared by a clearinghouse, e.g., ICE Clear Europe, and provide the efficiencies and benefits that centralized clearing on an exchange offers to traders of futures contracts, including credit risk intermediation and the ability to offset positions initiated with different counterparties. OTC swaps are entered into between two parties in private contracts. In an OTC swap, each party bears credit risk to the other party, i.e., the risk that the other party may not be able to perform its obligations under the OTC swap.

The purchase and sale of futures contracts, options on futures contracts and cleared swaps require margin deposits with an FCM. Additional deposits may be necessary for any loss on contract value. The Commodity Exchange Act requires FCMs to segregate all customer transactions and assets from the FCM’s proprietary transactions and assets. To reduce the credit risk that arises in connection with OTC swaps, USO will generally enter into an agreement with each counterparty based on the Master Agreement published by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc., which provides for the netting of its overall exposure to its counterparty. The Master Agreement is negotiated as between the parties and would address, among other things, the exchange of margin between the parties.

Futures contracts, options on futures contracts and cleared swaps involve, to varying degrees, elements of market risk (specifically commodity price risk) and exposure to loss in excess of the amount of variation margin. The face or contract amounts reflect the extent of the total exposure USO has in the particular classes of instruments. Additional risks associated with the use of futures contracts are an imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures contracts and the market value of the underlying securities and the possibility of an illiquid market for a futures contract. Buying and selling options on futures contracts exposes investors to the risks of purchasing or selling futures contracts.

As to OTC swaps, valuing OTC derivatives is less certain than valuing actively traded financial instruments such as exchange-traded futures contracts and securities or cleared swaps, because the price and terms on which such OTC derivatives are entered into or can be terminated are individually negotiated, and those prices and terms may not reflect the best price or terms available from other sources. In addition, while market makers and dealers generally quote indicative prices or terms for entering into or terminating OTC contracts, they typically are not contractually obligated to do so, particularly if they are not a party to the transaction. As a result, it may be difficult to obtain an independent value for an outstanding OTC derivatives transaction.

Significant market volatility has recently occurred in the crude oil markets and the crude oil futures markets. Such volatility is attributable in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, related supply chain disruptions, war, including the Russia-Ukraine war, attacks or threats of attack by terrorists, conflicts in the Middle East, and continuing disputes among oil-producing countries. These and other factors could cause continuing or increased volatility in the future, which may affect the value, pricing and liquidity of some investments or other assets, including those held by or invested in by USO and the impact of which could limit USO’s ability to have a substantial portion of its assets invested in the Futures Contracts and/or Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps.

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All of the futures contracts held by USO through March 31, 2024 were exchange-traded. The risks associated with exchange-traded contracts are generally perceived to be less than those associated with OTC swaps since, in OTC swaps, a party must rely solely on the credit of its respective individual counterparties. USO entered OTC swaps during the period ended March 31, 2022. These OTC swaps are subject to the credit risk associated with counterparty non-performance. The credit risk from counterparty non-performance associated with such instruments is the net unrealized gain, if any, on the transaction. USO also has credit risk to the sole counterparty to all domestic and foreign futures contracts, the clearinghouse for the exchange on which the relevant contracts are traded. In addition, USO bears the risk of financial failure by the clearing broker.

USO’s cash and other property, such as Treasuries, deposited with its FCMs are considered commingled with all other customer funds, subject to such FCM’s segregation requirements. In the event of an FCM’s insolvency, recovery may be limited to a pro rata share of segregated funds available. It is possible that the recovered amount could be less than the total of cash and other property deposited. The insolvency of an FCM could result in the complete loss of USO’s assets posted with that FCM; however, the majority of USO’s assets are held in investments in Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents with USO’s custodian and would not be impacted by the insolvency of an FCM. The failure or insolvency of USO’s custodian, however, could result in a substantial loss of USO’s assets.

USCF invests a portion of USO’s cash in money market funds that seek to maintain a stable per share NAV. USO is exposed to any risk of loss associated with an investment in such money market funds. As of March 31, 2024 and December 31, 2023, USO held investments in money market funds in the amounts of $327,450,000 and $327,450,000, respectively. USO also holds cash deposits with its custodian. As of March 31, 2024 and December 31, 2023, USO held cash deposits and investments in Treasuries in the amounts of $941,289,608 and $1,136,246,515 respectively, with the custodian and FCMs. Some or all of these amounts may be subject to loss should USO’s custodian and/or FCMs cease operations.

For derivatives, risks arise from changes in the market value of the contracts. Theoretically, USO is exposed to market risk equal to the value of futures contracts purchased and unlimited liability on such contracts sold short or that the value of the futures contract could fall below zero. As both a buyer and a seller of options, USO pays or receives a premium at the outset and then bears the risk of unfavorable changes in the price of the contract underlying the option.

USO’s policy is to continuously monitor its exposure to market and counterparty risk through the use of a variety of financial, position and credit exposure reporting controls and procedures. In addition, USO has a policy of requiring review of the credit standing of each broker or counterparty with which it conducts business.

The financial instruments held by USO are reported in its condensed statements of financial condition at market or fair value, or at carrying amounts that approximate fair value, because of their highly liquid nature and short-term maturity.

For the three months ended March 31, 2024, the monthly average volume of open future and swap contract notional value was $1,099,028,412 and $6,639,291, respectively. For the three months ended March 31, 2023, the monthly average volume of open future and swap contract notional values were $1,422,127,536 and $6,639,291, respectively.

Settlement of SEC and CFTC Investigations

On November 8, 2021, USCF and USO announced a resolution with each of the SEC and the CFTC relating to matters set forth in certain Wells Notices issued by the staffs of each of the SEC and CFTC as more fully described below.

On August 17, 2020, USCF, USO, and John Love received a “Wells Notice” from the staff of the SEC (the “SEC Wells Notice”). The SEC Wells Notice stated that the SEC staff made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against USCF, USO, and Mr. Love alleging violations of Sections 17(a)(1) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), and Section 10(b) of the 1934 Act, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.

Subsequently, on August 19, 2020, USCF, USO, and Mr. Love received a Wells Notice from the staff of the CFTC (the “CFTC Wells Notice”). The CFTC Wells Notice stated that the CFTC staff made a preliminary determination to recommend that the CFTC file an enforcement action against USCF, USO, and Mr. Love alleging violations of Sections 4o(1)(A) and (B) and 6(c)(1) of the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, as amended (the “CEA”), 7 U.S.C. §§ 6o(1)(A) and (B) and 9(1) (2018), and CFTC Regulations 4.26, 4.41, and 180.1(a), 17 C.F.R. §§ 4.26, 4.41, 180.1(a) (2019).

15

On November 8, 2021, acting pursuant to an offer of settlement submitted by USCF and USO, the SEC issued an order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings, making findings, and imposing a cease-and-desist order pursuant to Section 8A of the 1933 Act, directing USCF and USO to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations of Section 17(a)(3) of the 1933 Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(3) (the “SEC Order”). In the SEC Order, the SEC made findings that, from April 24, 2020 to May 21, 2020, USCF and USO violated Section 17(a)(3) of 1933 Act, which provides that it is “unlawful for any person in the offer or sale of any securities to engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon the purchaser.” USCF and USO consented to entry of the SEC Order without admitting or denying the findings contained therein, except as to jurisdiction.

Separately, on November 8, 2021, acting pursuant to an offer of settlement submitted by USCF, the CFTC issued an order instituting cease-and-desist proceedings, making findings, and imposing a cease-and-desist order pursuant to Section 6(c) and (d) of the CEA, directing USCF to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations of Section 4o(1)(B) of the CEA, 7 U.S.C. § 6o(1) (B), and CFTC Regulation 4.41(a)(2), 17 C.F.R. § 4.41(a)(2) (the “CFTC Order”). In the CFTC Order, the CFTC made findings that, from on or about April 22, 2020 to June 12, 2020, USCF violated Section 4o(1)(B) of the CEA and CFTC Regulation 4.41(a)(2), which make it unlawful for any commodity pool operator (“CPO”) to engage in “any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates as a fraud or deceit upon any client or participant or prospective client or participant” and prohibit a CPO from advertising in a manner which “operates as a fraud or deceit upon any client or participant or prospective client or participant,” respectively. USCF consented to entry of the CFTC Order without admitting or denying the findings contained therein, except as to jurisdiction.

Pursuant to the SEC Order and the CFTC Order, in addition to the command to cease and desist from committing or causing any violations of Section 17(a)(3) of the 1933 Act, Section 4o(1)(B) of the CEA, and CFTC Regulation 4.14(a)(2), civil monetary penalties totaling two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) in the aggregate were required to be paid to the SEC and CFTC, of which one million two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,250,000) was paid by USCF to each of the SEC and the CFTC, respectively, pursuant to the offsets permitted under the orders.

In re: United States Oil Fund, LP Securities Litigation

On June 19, 2020, USCF, USO, John P. Love, and Stuart P. Crumbaugh were named as defendants in a putative class action filed by purported shareholder Robert Lucas (the “Lucas Class Action”). The Court thereafter consolidated the Lucas Class Action with two related putative class actions filed on July 31, 2020 and August 13, 2020, and appointed a lead plaintiff. The consolidated class action is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York under the caption In re: United States Oil Fund, LP Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-04740.

On November 30, 2020, the lead plaintiff filed an amended complaint (the “Amended Lucas Class Complaint”). The Amended Lucas Class Complaint asserts claims under the 1933 Act, the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5. The Amended Lucas Class Complaint challenges statements in registration statements that became effective on February 25, 2020 and March 23, 2020 as well as subsequent public statements through April 2020 concerning certain extraordinary market conditions and the attendant risks that caused the demand for oil to fall precipitously, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war. The Amended Lucas Class Complaint purports to have been brought by an investor in USO on behalf of a class of similarly-situated shareholders who purchased USO securities between February 25, 2020 and April 28, 2020 and pursuant to the challenged registration statements. The Amended Lucas Class Complaint seeks to certify a class and to award the class compensatory damages at an amount to be determined at trial as well as costs and attorney’s fees. The Amended Lucas Class Complaint named as defendants USCF, USO, John P. Love, Stuart P. Crumbaugh, Nicholas D. Gerber, Andrew F Ngim, Robert L. Nguyen, Peter M. Robinson, Gordon L. Ellis, and Malcolm R. Fobes III, as well as the marketing agent, ALPS Distributors, Inc., and the Authorized Participants: ABN Amro, BNP Paribas Securities Corporation, Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman Sachs & Company, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corporation, Morgan Stanley & Company Inc., Nomura Securities International Inc., RBC Capital Markets LLC, SG Americas Securities LLC, UBS Securities LLC, and Virtu Financial BD LLC.

The lead plaintiff has filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of its claims against BNP Paribas Securities Corporation, Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Morgan Stanley & Company, Inc., Nomura Securities International, Inc., RBC Capital Markets, LLC, SG Americas Securities LLC, and UBS Securities LLC.

USCF, USO, and the individual defendants in In re: United States Oil Fund, LP Securities Litigation intend to vigorously contest such claims and have moved for their dismissal.

16

Wang Class Action

On July 10, 2020, purported shareholder Momo Wang filed a putative class action complaint, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, against defendants USO, USCF, John P. Love, Stuart P. Crumbaugh, Nicholas D. Gerber, Andrew F Ngim, Robert L. Nguyen, Peter M. Robinson, Gordon L. Ellis, Malcolm R. Fobes, III, ABN Amro, BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman Sachs & Company, JP Morgan Securities Inc., Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., Morgan Stanley & Company Inc., Nomura Securities International Inc., RBC Capital Markets LLC, SG Americas Securities LLC, UBS Securities LLC, and Virtu Financial BD LLC, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California as Civil Action No. 3:20-cv-4596 (the “Wang Class Action”).

The Wang Class Action asserted federal securities claims under the 1933 Act, challenging disclosures in a March 19, 2020 registration statement. It alleged that the defendants failed to disclose to investors in USO certain extraordinary market conditions and the attendant risks that caused the demand for oil to fall precipitously, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war. The Wang Class Action was voluntarily dismissed on August 4, 2020.

Mehan Action

On August 10, 2020, purported shareholder Darshan Mehan filed a derivative action on behalf of nominal defendant USO, against defendants USCF, John P. Love, Stuart P. Crumbaugh, Nicholas D. Gerber, Andrew F Ngim, Robert L. Nguyen, Peter M. Robinson, Gordon L. Ellis, and Malcolm R. Fobes, III (the “Mehan Action”). The action is pending in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda as Case No. RG20070732.

The Mehan Action alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to USO and failed to act in good faith in connection with a March 19, 2020 registration statement and offering and disclosures regarding certain extraordinary market conditions that caused demand for oil to fall precipitously, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war. The complaint seeks, on behalf of USO, compensatory damages, restitution, equitable relief, attorney’s fees, and costs. All proceedings in the Mehan Action are stayed pending disposition of the motion(s) to dismiss in In re: United States Oil Fund, LP Securities Litigation.

USCF, USO, and the other defendants intend to vigorously contest such claims.

In re United States Oil Fund, LP Derivative Litigation

On August 27, 2020, purported shareholders Michael Cantrell and AML Pharm. Inc. DBA Golden International filed two separate derivative actions on behalf of nominal defendant USO, against defendants USCF, John P. Love, Stuart P. Crumbaugh, Andrew F Ngim, Gordon L. Ellis, Malcolm R. Fobes, III, Nicholas D. Gerber, Robert L. Nguyen, and Peter M. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York at Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-06974 (the “Cantrell Action”) and Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-06981 (the “AML Action”), respectively.

The complaints in the Cantrell and AML Actions are nearly identical. They each allege violations of Sections 10(b), 20(a), and 21D of the Exchange Act, Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and common law claims of breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, abuse of control, gross mismanagement, and waste of corporate assets. These allegations stem from USO’s disclosures and defendants’ alleged actions in light of the extraordinary market conditions in 2020 that caused demand for oil to fall precipitously, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war. The complaints seek, on behalf of USO, compensatory damages, restitution, equitable relief, attorney’s fees, and costs. The plaintiffs in the Cantrell and AML Actions have marked their actions as related to the Lucas Class Action.

The Court consolidated the Cantrell and AML Actions under the caption In re United States Oil Fund, LP Derivative Litigation, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-06974 and appointed co-lead counsel. All proceedings in In re United States Oil Fund, LP Derivative Litigation are stayed pending disposition of the motion(s) to dismiss in In re: United States Oil Fund, LP Securities Litigation.

USCF, USO, and the other defendants intend to vigorously contest the claims in In re United States Oil Fund, LP Derivative Litigation.

17

Optimum Strategies Action

On April 6, 2022, USO and USCF were named as defendants in an action filed by Optimum Strategies Fund I, LP, a purported investor in call option contracts on USO (the “Optimum Strategies Action”). The action was in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut at Civil Action No. 3:22-cv-00511.

The Optimum Strategies Action asserted claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”), Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and the Connecticut Uniform Securities Act (“CUSA”). It purported to challenge statements in registration statements that became effective in February 2020, March 2020, and on April 20, 2020, as well as public statements between February 2020 and May 2020, in connection with certain extraordinary market conditions and the attendant risks that caused the demand for oil to fall precipitously, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war. The complaint was seeking damages, interest, costs, attorney’s fees, and equitable relief.

On March 15, 2023, the court granted the USO defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint. In its ruling, the court granted the USO defendants’ motion to dismiss, with prejudice, the plaintiff’s claims under Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and a claim for control person liability under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. Having dismissed all claims over which the court had original jurisdiction, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s state law claim under CUSA and dismissed the claim without prejudice. No notice of appeal was filed.

NOTE 6 — FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The following table presents per share performance data and other supplemental financial data for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 for the shareholders. This information has been derived from information presented in the condensed financial statements.

    

Three months ended

    

Three months ended

  

March 31, 2024

March 31, 2023

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

Per Share Operating Performance:

 

  

 

  

 

Net asset value, beginning of period

$

66.91

$

70.05

Total income (loss)

 

12.17

 

(3.47)

Total expenses

 

(0.15)

 

(0.11)

Net increase (decrease) in net asset value

 

12.02

 

(3.58)

Net asset value, end of period

$

78.93

$

66.47

Total Return

 

17.96

%  

 

(5.11)

%

Ratios to Average Net Assets

 

 

Total income (loss)

 

17.15

%  

 

(3.95)

%

Management fees#

 

0.45

%  

 

0.45

%

Total expenses excluding management fees#

 

0.37

%  

 

0.23

%

Net income (loss)

 

16.95

%  

 

(4.12)

%

#Annualized.

Total returns are calculated based on the change in value during the period. An individual shareholder’s total return and ratio may vary from the above total returns and ratios based on the timing of contributions to and withdrawals from USO. Additionally, only Authorized Participants purchase and redeem shares from the Fund at the NAV per share. Most shareholders will purchase and sell shares in the secondary market at market prices, which may differ from the NAV per share and result in a higher or lower total return.

18

NOTE 7 — FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

USO values its investments in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification 820 – Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (“ASC 820”). ASC 820 defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value in generally accepted accounting principles, and expands disclosures about fair value measurement. The changes to past practice resulting from the application of ASC 820 relate to the definition of fair value, the methods used to measure fair value, and the expanded disclosures about fair value measurement. ASC 820 establishes a fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between: (1) market participant assumptions developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of USO (observable inputs) and (2) USO’s own assumptions about market participant assumptions developed based on the best information available under the circumstances (unobservable inputs). The three levels defined by the ASC 820 hierarchy are as follows:

Level I – Quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the reporting entity has the ability to access at the measurement date.

Level II – Inputs other than quoted prices included within Level I that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly.

Level II assets include the following: quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, inputs other than quoted prices that are observable for the asset or liability, and inputs that are derived principally from or corroborated by observable market data by correlation or other means (market-corroborated inputs).

Level III – Unobservable pricing input at the measurement date for the asset or liability. Unobservable inputs shall be used to measure fair value to the extent that observable inputs are not available.

In some instances, the inputs used to measure fair value might fall within different levels of the fair value hierarchy. The level in the fair value hierarchy within which the fair value measurement in its entirety falls shall be determined based on the lowest input level that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety.

The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at March 31, 2024 using the fair value hierarchy:

At March 31, 2024

    

Total

    

Level I

    

Level II

    

Level III

Short-Term Investments

$

327,450,000

$

327,450,000

$

$

Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts

 

 

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

56,477,810

 

56,477,810

 

 

OTC Commodity Swap Contracts

 

(2,088)

 

 

(2,088)

 

The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at December 31, 2023 using the fair value hierarchy:

At December 31, 2023

    

Total

    

Level I

    

Level II

    

Level III

Short-Term Investments

$

327,450,000

$

327,450,000

$

$

Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts

 

 

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

3,051,930

 

3,051,930

 

 

OTC Commodity Swap Contracts

(1,906)

(1,906)

Effective January 1, 2009, USO adopted the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification 815 — Derivatives and Hedging, which require presentation of qualitative disclosures about objectives and strategies for using derivatives, quantitative disclosures about fair value amounts and gains and losses on derivatives.

Fair Value of Derivative Instruments

Fair Value at

Fair Value at

Derivatives not Accounted for as Hedging Instruments

Condensed Statements of Financial Condition Location

March 31, 2024

December 31, 2023

Futures - Commodity Contracts

 

Unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts

$

56,477,810

$

3,051,930

Swap - Commodity Contracts

Unrealized gain (loss) on open OTC commodity swap contracts

$

(2,088)

$

(1,906)

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The volume of open OTC swap positions relative to the net assets of USO at the date of this report is generally representative of open positions throughout the reporting period.

The Effect of Derivative Instruments on the Condensed Statements of Operations

For the three months ended

For the three months ended

March 31, 2024

March 31, 2023

Change in

Change in

Location of Gain

Realized Gain

Unrealized Gain

Realized Gain

Unrealized Gain

Derivatives not

(Loss) on

(Loss) on

(Loss) on

(Loss) in

(Loss) on

Accounted for as

Derivatives

Derivatives

Derivatives

Derivatives

Derivatives

Hedging

Recognized in

Recognized in

Recognized in

Recognized in

Recognized in

Instruments

    

Income

    

Income

    

Income

    

Income

    

Income

Futures - Commodity Contracts

 

Realized gain (loss) on closed commodity futures contracts

$

127,430,470

$

(29,687,453)

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts

 

  

$

53,425,880

 

  

$

(36,340,617)

OTC Swap - Commodity Contracts

Realized gain (loss) on closed OTC commodity swap contracts

$

45,287,234

$

(17,423,934)

Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open OTC commodity swap contracts

$

(182)

$

2,194

NOTE 8 — SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

USO has performed an evaluation of subsequent events through the date the condensed financial statements were issued. This evaluation did not result in any subsequent events that necessitated disclosures and/or adjustments.

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Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the condensed financial statements and the notes thereto of the United States Oil Fund, LP (“USO”) included elsewhere in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

Forward-Looking Information

This quarterly report on Form 10-Q, including this “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” contains forward-looking statements regarding the plans and objectives of management for future operations. This information may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause USO’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements. USO believes these factors include, but are not limited to, the following: changes in inflation in the United States, movements in U.S. and foreign currencies, market volatility in the crude oil markets and futures markets in part attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, the Russia-Ukraine war and conflicts in the Middle East. Forward-looking statements, which involve assumptions and describe USO’s future plans, strategies and expectations, are generally identifiable by use of the words “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “intend” or “project,” the negative of these words, other variations on these words or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions that may be incorrect, and USO cannot assure investors that the projections included in these forward-looking statements will come to pass. USO’s actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.

USO has based the forward-looking statements included in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q on information available to it on the date of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q, and USO assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Although USO undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, investors are advised to consult any additional disclosures that USO may make directly to them or through reports that USO files in the future with the SEC, including annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.

Introduction

USO, a Delaware limited partnership, is a commodity pool that issues shares that may be purchased and sold on the NYSE Arca. The investment objective of USO is for the daily changes in percentage terms of its shares’ per share NAV to reflect the daily changes in percentage terms of the spot price of light, sweet crude oil delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma, as measured by the daily changes in the price of the futures contract for light, sweet crude oil traded on the NYMEX that is the near month contract to expire and changes, over a ten-day period, into the NYMEX futures contract that is the next month to expire (the “Benchmark Oil Futures Contract”), plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses. The change from the near month contract to the next month contract occurs at the beginning of each month and will be approximately proportional, relative to total net assets, over each day of the ten-day roll period. “Near month contract” means the next contract traded on the NYMEX due to expire. “Next month contract” means the first contract traded on the NYMEX due to expire after the near month contract. USO seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing so that the average daily percentage change in USO’s NAV for any period of 30 successive valuation days will be within plus/minus ten percent (10%) of the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract over the same period. As a result, investors should be aware that USO would meet its investment objective even if there are significant deviations between changes in its daily NAV and changes in the daily price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract provided that the average daily percentage change in USO’s NAV over 30 successive valuation days is within plus/minus ten percent (10%) of the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract over the same period.

USO invests primarily in futures contracts for light, sweet crude oil, other types of crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, natural gas and other petroleum-based fuels that are traded on the NYMEX, ICE Futures or other U.S. and foreign exchanges (collectively, “Oil Futures Contracts”) and to a lesser extent, in order to comply with regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or in view of market conditions, other oil-related investments such as cash-settled options on Oil Futures Contracts, forward contracts for oil, cleared swap contracts and OTC swaps that are based on the price of oil, other petroleum-based fuels, Oil Futures Contracts and indices based on the foregoing (collectively, “Other Oil-Related Investments”). For convenience and unless otherwise specified, Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments collectively are referred to as “Oil Interests” in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

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USO’s investment objective is not for its NAV or market price of shares to equal, in dollar terms, the spot price of light, sweet crude oil or any particular futures contract based on light, sweet crude oil, nor is USO’s investment objective for the percentage change in its NAV to reflect the percentage change of the price of any particular futures contract as measured over a time period greater than one day. The general partner of USO, United States Commodity Funds, LLC (“USCF”), believes that it is not practical to manage the portfolio to achieve such an investment goal when investing in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments.

USCF believes that market arbitrage opportunities will cause daily changes in USO’s share price on the NYSE Arca on a percentage basis to closely track daily changes in USO’s per share NAV. USCF further believes that the daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract have historically closely tracked the daily changes in spot prices of light, sweet crude oil. USCF believes that the net effect of these relationships will be that the daily changes in the price of USO’s shares on the NYSE Arca on a percentage basis will closely track the daily changes in the spot price of a barrel of light, sweet crude oil on a percentage basis, plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses.

The following chart shows, for the period ending March 31, 2024, the rolling 30-day average difference between USO’s NAV and the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. This is measured by subtracting the return of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract from the return on USO’s NAV for each of the last thirty business days, and then averaging those thirty differences. The calculation is repeated daily.

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Graphic

Prior to the Spring of 2020, USO achieved its investment objective by primarily investing in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Oil Futures Contracts for light, sweet crude oil traded on NYMEX and ICE Futures with the same maturity month as the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. In the Spring of 2020, significant market volatility occurred in the crude oil markets and the oil futures markets. Such volatility was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, related supply chain disruptions and disputes among oil-producing countries over the potential limits on the production of crude oil, and a corresponding collapse in demand for crude oil and a lack of on-land storage for crude oil. Certain circumstances, including the market conditions, regulatory requirements, and risk mitigation measures imposed by its FCMs, resulting from such volatility caused, as discussed below, USO to invest in Oil Futures Contracts other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and to invest in Other Oil-Related Investments, such as swap transactions based on the price of oil.

These conditions severely limited USO’s ability to have a substantial portion of its assets invested in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and certain other Oil Futures Contracts of the same month, such as cash-settled, but substantially similar, oil futures contracts traded on ICE Futures (the “ICE WTI Contract”).

22

Accordingly, USO invested in other permitted Oil Futures Contracts with expirations in later months than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. USO also invested in other permitted investments, including Other Oil-Related Investments, including OTC swaps. In addition, during the Spring of 2020, USO had to rebalance and adjust the types of holdings in its portfolio more frequently than it had in the past.

Beginning with the monthly roll in September 2023 and ending with the monthly roll in January 2024, USO transitioned its investment portfolio and now primarily invests in Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts, consistent with USO’s investment strategy prior to the Spring of 2020. However, USO has had, and will continue to have, the ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps, and USO may make such investments if market conditions, regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or other factors require USO to do so in order to meet its investment objective. USO may invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and/or Other Oil-Related Investments, as a result or in response to any of the foregoing factors. In addition, USO may need to hold significant portions of its portfolio in cash beyond what it has historically held for reasons including (but not limited to) the need to address the changes in market conditions, regulatory requirements or risk mitigation measures or the need to satisfy potential margin requirements.

Investments in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Other Oil-Related Investments could result in wider deviations between the performance of USO’s investments and the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract than if USO’s investments primarily consisted of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and changes in USO’s share price may not be able to track changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract within as narrow a percentage change difference for any period of 30 successive valuation days as it would if USO’s investments primarily consisted of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

Although permitted to do so under its LP Agreement, USO has not leveraged, and does not intend to leverage, its assets through borrowings or otherwise, and makes its investments accordingly. Consistent with the foregoing, USO’s investments will take into account the need for USO to maintain adequate liquidity to meet its margin and collateral requirements and to avoid, to the extent reasonably possible, USO becoming leveraged. If market conditions require it, these risk reduction procedures, including changes to USO’s investments, may occur on short notice.

Regulatory Disclosure

The regulation of commodity interest trading in the United States and other countries is an evolving area of the law. Below are certain key regulatory requirements that are, or may be, relevant to USO. The various statements made in this summary are subject to modification by legislative action and changes in the rules and regulations of the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), CFTC, NFA, the futures exchanges, clearing organizations and other regulatory bodies. Pending final resolution of all applicable regulatory requirements, some examples of how new rules and regulations could impact USO are discussed in “Item 1. Business” in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

Exchange Accountability Levels, Position Limits and Price Fluctuation Limits. Designated contract markets (“DCMs”), such as the NYMEX and ICE Futures, have established accountability levels and position limits on the maximum net long or net short futures contracts in commodity interests that any person or group of persons under common trading control (other than as a hedge, which an investment by USO is not) may hold, own or control. These levels and position limits apply to the futures contracts that USO invests in to meet its investment objective. In addition to accountability levels and position limits, the NYMEX and ICE Futures may also set daily price fluctuation limits on futures contracts. The daily price fluctuation limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price. Once the daily price fluctuation limit has been reached in a particular futures contract, no trades may be made at a price beyond that limit.

The accountability levels for the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and other Oil Futures Contracts traded on U.S.-based futures exchanges, such as the NYMEX, are not a fixed ceiling, but rather a threshold above which the NYMEX may exercise greater scrutiny and control over an investor’s positions. The current accountability level for investments for any one month in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract is 10,000 contracts. In addition, the NYMEX imposes an accountability level for all months of 20,000 net futures contracts for light, sweet crude oil. In addition, the ICE Futures maintains the same accountability levels, position limits and monitoring authority for its futures contracts for light, sweet crude oil contract as the NYMEX. If USO and the Related Public Funds exceed these accountability levels for investments in the futures contracts for light, sweet crude oil, the NYMEX and ICE Futures will monitor such exposure and may ask for further information on their activities including the total size of all positions, investment and trading strategy, and the extent of liquidity resources of USO and the Related Public Funds. If deemed necessary by the NYMEX and/or ICE Futures, USO could be ordered to reduce its Crude Oil Futures CL contracts to below the 10,000 single month and/or 20,000 all month

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accountability level. As of March 31, 2024, USO held 13,301 NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL contracts and did not hold any ICE WTI Crude Oil Futures contracts. USO exceeded accountability levels of the NYMEX during the three months ended March 31, 2024, including when it held a maximum of 18,287 Crude Oil Futures CL contracts on the NYMEX, exceeding the “any” month limit. No action was taken by the NYMEX and USO did not have to reduce the number of positions held.

Position limits differ from accountability levels in that they represent fixed limits on the maximum number of futures contracts that any person may hold and cannot allow such limits to be exceeded without express CFTC authority to do so. In addition to accountability levels and position limits that may apply at any time, the NYMEX and ICE Futures impose position limits on contracts held in the last few days of trading in the near month contract to expire. Investors should note that the foregoing accountability levels and position limits are subject to change, which in turn could change the amount and type of permitted investments in which USO invests. For the three months ended March 31, 2024, USO did not exceed any position limits imposed by the NYMEX and ICE Futures. The foregoing accountability levels and position limits are subject to change. Due to evolving market conditions, remaining within relevant accountability levels and position limits, and, any additional or different risk mitigation measures taken by USO’s FCMs in the future with respect to USO acquiring additional Oil Futures contracts, USO has invested and intends to invest in other permitted investments, beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

Federal Position Limits

Part 150 of the CFTC’s regulations (the “Position Limits Rule”) establishes federal position limits for 25 core referenced futures contracts (comprised of agricultural, energy and metals futures contracts), futures and options linked to the core referenced futures contracts, and swaps that are economically equivalent to the core referenced futures contracts that all market participants must comply with, with certain exemptions. The Benchmark Futures Contract is subject to position limits under the Position Limits Rule, and USO’s trading does not qualify for an exemption therefrom. Accordingly, the Position Limits Rule could inhibit USO’s ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and thereby could negatively impact the ability of USO to meet its investment objective.

USO has not limited the size of its offering and intends to utilize substantially all of its proceeds to purchase Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments to the extent possible. If USO encounters accountability levels, position limits (including those set by the Position Limits Rule), or price fluctuation limits for Oil Futures Contracts on the NYMEX or ICE Futures, it may then, if permitted under applicable regulatory requirements, purchase Oil Futures Contracts on other exchanges that trade listed crude oil futures or enter into swaps or other permitted investments to meet its investment objective. In addition, if USO exceeds accountability levels on either the NYMEX or ICE Futures and is required by such exchanges to reduce its holdings, such reduction could potentially cause a tracking error between the price of USO’s shares and the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

Margin for OTC Swaps

Rules put in place by U.S. federal banking regulators, the CFTC and the SEC require the daily exchange of variation margin and initial margin for swaps between swap dealers, major swap participants, security-based swap dealers, and major security-based swap participants (“Swap Entities”) and swaps between Swap Entities and their counterparties that are “financial end-users” (such rules, the “Margin Rules”). The Margin Rules require Swap Entities to exchange variation margin with all of their counterparties who are financial end-users. The minimum variation margin amount is the daily mark-to-market change in the value of the swap, taking into account the amount of variation margin previously posted or collected. Swap Entities are required to exchange initial margin with their financial end-users who have “material swaps exposure” (i.e., an average daily aggregate notional of $8 billion or more in non-cleared swaps calculated in accordance with the Margin Rules). The Margin Rules specify the types of collateral that may be posted or collected as initial margin or variation margin (generally cash, certain government, government-sponsored enterprise securities, certain liquid debt, certain equity securities, certain eligible publicly traded debt, and gold) and sets forth haircuts for certain collateral asset classes.

USO is not a Swap Entity under the Margin Rules, but it is a financial end-user. Accordingly, USO will be subject to the variation margin requirements of the Margin Rules for any swaps that it enters into. However, USO does not have material swaps exposure under the Margin Rules and, accordingly, USO will not be subject to the initial margin requirements of the Margin Rules.

Mandatory Trading and Clearing of Swaps

CFTC regulations require that certain swap transactions be executed on organized exchanges or “swap execution facilities” and cleared through regulated clearing organizations (“derivative clearing organizations” (“DCOs”)), if the CFTC mandates the central clearing of a particular class of swap and such swap is “made available to trade” on a swap execution facility. Currently, swap dealers, major swap participants, commodity pools, certain private funds and entities predominantly engaged in activities that are financial in nature are

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required to execute on a swap execution facility, and clear, certain interest rate swaps and index-based credit default swaps. As a result, if USO enters into an interest rate or index-based credit default swap that is subject to these requirements, such swap will be required to be executed on a swap execution facility and centrally cleared. Mandatory clearing and “made available to trade” determinations with respect to additional types of swaps may be issued in the future, and, when finalized, could require USO to electronically execute and centrally clear certain OTC instruments presently entered into and settled on a bi-lateral basis. If a swap is required to be cleared, initial and variation margin requirements are set by the relevant clearing organization, subject to certain regulatory requirements and guidelines. Additional margin may be required and held by USO’s FCMs.

Other Requirements for Swaps

In addition to the margin requirements described above, swaps that are not required to be cleared and executed on a SEF but that are executed bilaterally are also subject to various requirements pursuant to CFTC regulations, including, among other things, reporting and recordkeeping requirements and, depending on the status of the counterparties, trading documentation requirements and dispute resolution requirements.

Derivatives Regulations in Non-U.S. Jurisdictions

In addition to U.S. laws and regulations, USO may be subject to non-U.S. derivatives laws and regulations if it engages in futures and/or swap transactions with non-U.S. persons. For example, USO may be impacted by European laws and regulations to the extent that it engages in futures transactions on European exchanges or derivatives transactions with European entities. Other jurisdictions impose requirements applicable to futures and derivatives that are similar to those imposed by the U.S., including position limits, margin, clearing and trade execution requirements.

The CFTC is generally prohibited by statute from regulating trading on non-U.S. futures exchanges and markets. The CFTC, however, has adopted regulations relating to the marketing of non-U.S. futures contracts in the United States. These regulations permit certain contracts on non-U.S. exchanges to be offered and sold in the United States.

Infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19 could negatively affect USO and the valuation and performance of USO’s investments.

Infectious disease outbreaks like the COVID-19 pandemic may arise in the future and could adversely affect USO and, more generally, individual issuers and capital markets, in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. For example, COVID-19 resulted in numerous deaths, travel restrictions, closed international borders, enhanced health screenings at ports of entry and elsewhere, disruption of and delays in healthcare service preparation and delivery, prolonged quarantines and the imposition of both local and more widespread “work from home” measures, cancellations, loss of employment, supply chain disruptions, and lower consumer and institutional demand for goods and services, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic that occurred in 2020 had a material adverse impact on local economies in the affected jurisdictions and also on the global economy, as cross border commercial activity and market sentiment were impacted by the outbreak and government and other measures seeking to contain COVID-19’s spread.  COVID-19 also had a material adverse impact on the oil markets and oil futures markets because economic activity and the use of oil were curtailed, which in turn had a significant adverse effect on the prices of Oil Futures Contracts, including the Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts, and Other Oil-Related Investments.

An infectious disease outbreak may arise in the future and could have the same or similar effects as the COVID-19 pandemic, or different effects that cannot be foreseen. Moreover, as was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, actions taken by government and quasi-governmental authorities and regulators throughout the world in response to an infectious disease outbreak, including the potential for significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, may affect the value, volatility, pricing and liquidity of some investments or other assets, including those held by or invested in by USO. Public health crises caused by infectious disease outbreaks may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally and their duration cannot be determined with certainty.

In a rising rate environment, USO may not be able to fully invest at prevailing rates until any current investments in Treasury Bills mature in order to avoid selling those investments at a loss.

When interest rates rise, the value of fixed income securities typically falls. In a rising interest rate environment, USO may not be able to fully invest at prevailing rates until any current investments in Treasury Bills mature in order to avoid selling those investments at a loss. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term investments and higher for longer term investments. The risk to USO of rising interest rates may be greater in the future due to the end of a long period of historically low rates, the effect of potential monetary policy

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initiatives, including actions taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other foreign equivalents to curb inflation, and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. When interest rates fall, USO may be required to reinvest the proceeds from the sale, redemption or early prepayment of a Treasury Bill or money market security at a lower interest rate.

USO may potentially lose money by investing in government money market funds.

USO invests in government money market funds. Although such government money market funds seek to preserve the value of an investment at $1.00 per share, there is no guarantee that they will be able to do so and USO may lose money by investing in a government money market fund. An investment in a government money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”), or any other government agency. The share price of a government money market fund can fall below the $1.00 share price. USO cannot rely on or expect a government money market fund’s adviser or its affiliates to enter into support agreements or take other actions to maintain the government money market fund’s $1.00 share price. The credit quality of a government money market fund’s holdings can change rapidly in certain markets, and the default of a single holding could have an adverse impact on the government money market fund’s share price. Due to fluctuations in interest rates, the market value of securities held by a government money market fund may vary. A government money market fund’s share price can also be negatively affected during periods of high redemption pressures and/or illiquid markets.

Price Movements

Crude oil futures prices were volatile during the three months ended March 31, 2024. The price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract started the period at $71.65 per barrel. The high of the period was on March 28, 2024 when the price reached $83.17 per barrel. The low of the period was on January 2, 2024 when the price dropped to $70.38 per barrel. The period ended with the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract at $83.17 per barrel, an increase of approximately 16.08% over the period. USO’s per share NAV began the period at $66.91 and ended the period at $78.93 on March 31, 2024, an increase of approximately 17.96% over the period. The Benchmark Oil Futures Contract prices listed above began with the $71.65 February 2024 contracts and ended with the May 2024 contracts. The increase of approximately 16.08% on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract listed above is a hypothetical return only and would not actually be realized by an investor holding Oil Futures Contracts. An investment in Oil Futures Contracts would need to be rolled forward during the time period described in order to simulate such a result. Furthermore, the change in the nominal price of these differing Oil Futures Contracts, measured from the start of the year to the end of the year, does not represent the actual benchmark results that USO seeks to track, which are more fully described below in the section titled “Tracking USO’s Benchmark.”

During the three months ended March 31, 2024, the crude oil futures market experienced states of both contango and backwardation. On days when the market was in contango the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract was lower than the price of the next month crude Oil Futures Contract, or contracts further away from expiration. On days when the market was in backwardation, the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract was higher than the price of the next month crude Oil Futures Contract or contracts further away from expiration. For a discussion of the impact of backwardation and contango on total returns, see “Term Structure of Crude Oil Prices and the Impact on Total Returns” below.

Valuation of Oil Futures Contracts and the Computation of the Per Share NAV

The per share NAV of USO’s shares is calculated once each NYSE Arca trading day. The per share NAV for a particular trading day is released after 4:00 p.m. New York time. Trading during the core trading session on the NYSE Arca typically closes at 4:00 p.m. New York time. USO’s Administrator uses the settlement price determined by NYMEX at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time for the Oil Futures Contracts held on the NYMEX and the settlement price determined by ICE Futures at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time for the Oil Futures Contracts held on ICE Futures, but calculates or determines the value of all other USO investments, other futures contracts, as of the earlier of the close of the NYSE Arca or 4:00 p.m. New York time.

Results of Operations and the Crude Oil Market

Results of Operations.

As of March 31, 2024, USO had 18,023,603 shares outstanding. On August 29, 2023, the SEC declared effective a registration statement filed by USO that registered an unlimited number of shares. As a result, USO has an unlimited number of shares that can be issued in the form of Creation Baskets. More shares may have been issued by USO than are outstanding due to the redemption of shares.

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On April 28, 2020, after the close of trading on the NYSE Arca, USO effected a 1-for-8 reverse share split and post-split shares of USO began trading on April 29, 2020. As a result of the reverse share split, every eight pre-split shares of USO were automatically exchanged for one post-split share. Immediately prior to the reverse split, there were 1,482,900,000 shares of USO issued and outstanding, representing a per share NAV of $2.04. Immediately after the effect of the reverse share split, the number of issued and outstanding shares of USO decreased to 185,362,500, not accounting for fractional shares, and the per share NAV increased to $16.35. In connection with the reverse share split, the CUSIP number for USO’s shares changed to 91232N207. USO’s ticker symbol, “USO,” remained the same. The accompanying unaudited financial statements have been adjusted to reflect the effect of the reverse share split on a retroactive basis.

As of March 31, 2024, USO had the following Authorized Participants: ABN AMRO Clearing USA LLC, BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Goldman Sachs & Company, JP Morgan Securities LLC, Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., Morgan Stanley & Company Inc., RBC Capital Markets LLC, SG Americas Securities LLC, UBS Securities LLC and Virtu Americas LLC.

For the Three Months Ended March 31, 2024 Compared to the Three Months Ended March 31, 2023

    

Three months

    

Three months

    

ended

ended

March 31, 2024

March 31, 2023

Average daily total net assets

$

1,418,071,175

$

1,689,960,375

Dividend and interest income earned on Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents

$

16,921,740

$

16,542,991

Annualized yield based on average daily total net assets

 

4.80

%

 

3.97

%

Management fee

$

1,583,453

$

1,875,162

Total fees and other expenses excluding management fees

$

1,290,518

$

948,468

Total commissions accrued to brokers

$

394,046

$

175,146

Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets

0.11

%

0.04

%

Portfolio Expenses. USO’s expenses consist of investment management fees, brokerage fees and commissions, certain offering costs, licensing fees, registration fees, the fees and expenses of the independent directors of USCF and expenses relating to tax accounting and reporting requirements. The management fee that USO pays to USCF is calculated as a percentage of the total net assets of USO. The fee is accrued daily and paid monthly.

Average interest rates earned on short-term investments held by USO, including cash, cash equivalents and Treasuries, were higher during the three months ended March 31, 2024, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2023. As a result, the amount of income earned by USO as a percentage of average daily total net assets was higher during the three months ended March 31, 2024, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2023. To the degree that the aggregate yield is higher, the net expense ratio, inclusive of income, will be lower.

The increase in total fees and other expenses excluding management fees for the three months ended March 31, 2024, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2023, was due primarily to an increase in professional fees and Brokerage commissions.

The increase in total commissions accrued to brokers for the three months ended March 31, 2024, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2023, was due primarily to a higher number of Oil Futures Contracts being held and traded.

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Tracking USO’s Benchmark

USCF seeks to manage USO’s portfolio such that changes in its average daily per share NAV, on a percentage basis, closely track the daily changes in the average price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, also on a percentage basis. Specifically, USCF seeks to manage the portfolio such that over any rolling period of 30-valuation days, the average daily change in USO’s per share NAV is within a range of 90% to 110% (0.9 to 1.1) of the average daily change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. As an example, if the average daily movement of the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract for a particular 30-valuation day time period was 0.50% per day, USCF would attempt to manage the portfolio such that the average daily movement of the per share NAV during that same time period fell between 0.45% and 0.55% (i.e., between 0.9 and 1.1 of the benchmark’s results). USO’s portfolio management goals do not include trying to make the nominal price of USO’s per share NAV equal to the nominal price of the current Benchmark Oil Futures Contract or the spot price for light, sweet crude oil. USCF believes that it is not practical to manage the portfolio to achieve such an investment goal when investing in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments.

For the 30-valuation days ended March 31, 2024, the average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was 0.319%, while the average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was 0.335%. The average daily difference was 0.016%% (or 1.6 basis points, where 1 basis point equals 1/100 of 1%), meaning that over this time period USO’s NAV performed within the plus or minus 10% range established as its benchmark tracking goal.

Since the commencement of the offering of USO’s shares to the public on April 10, 2006 to March 31, 2024, the average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was 0.004%, while the average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was (0.010)%. The average daily difference was (0.014)% (or (1.4) basis points, where 1 basis point equals 1/100 of 1%), meaning that over this time period USO’s NAV performed within the plus or minus 10% range established as its benchmark tracking goal.

The following two charts demonstrate the correlation between the changes in USO’s NAV and the changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. The first chart below shows the daily movement of USO’s per share NAV versus the daily movement of the Benchmark Oil

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Futures Contract for the 30 valuation day period ended March 31, 2024. The second chart below shows the monthly total returns of USO as compared to the monthly value of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract for the five years ended March 31, 2024.

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Graphic

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Graphic

An alternative tracking measurement of the return performance of USO versus the return of its Benchmark Oil Futures Contract can be calculated by comparing the actual return of USO, measured by changes in its per share NAV, versus the expected changes in its per share NAV under the assumption that USO’s returns had been exactly the same as the daily changes in its Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

For the three months ended March 31, 2024, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was 17.96%. This is based on an initial per share NAV of $66.91 as of December 31, 2023 and an ending per share NAV as of March 31, 2024 of $78.93. During this time period, USO made no distributions to its shareholders. However, if USO’s daily changes in its per share NAV had instead exactly tracked the changes in the daily total return of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, USO would have had an estimated per share NAV of $78.17 as of March 31, 2024, for a total return over the relevant time period of 16.81%. The difference

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between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of 17.96% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of 16.81% was a difference over the time period of 1.15%, which is to say that USO’s actual total return outperformed its benchmark by that percentage. USO incurs expenses primarily composed of the management fee, brokerage commissions for the buying and selling of futures contracts, and other expenses. The impact of these expenses, offset by interest and dividend income, and net of positive or negative execution, and net the difference in returns between USO’s current holdings and the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract tended to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly higher than daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

By comparison, for the three months ended March 31, 2023, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was (5.11)%. This is based on an initial per share NAV of $70.05 as of December 31, 2022 and an ending per share NAV as of March 31, 2023 of $66.47. During this time period, USO made no distributions to its shareholders. However, if USO’s daily changes in its per share NAV had instead exactly tracked the changes in the daily total return of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, USO would have had an estimated per share NAV of $65.49 as of March 31, 2023, for a total return over the relevant time period of (6.51)%. The difference between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of (5.11)% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of (6.51)% was a difference over the time period of 1.40%, which is to say that USO’s actual total return outperformed its benchmark by that percentage. USO incurs expenses primarily composed of the management fee, brokerage commissions for the buying and selling of futures contracts, and other expenses. The impact of these expenses, offset by interest and dividend income, and net of positive or negative execution, and net the difference in returns between USO’s current holdings and the Benchmark Futures contract tended to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly higher than daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

As a result of market conditions and the regulatory response that occurred in March 2020 and thereafter, large numbers of USO shares that were purchased during a short period of time, and regulatory accountability levels and position limits on oil futures contracts that were imposed on USO, and risk mitigation measures imposed by its FCMs, USO invested in Oil Futures Contracts in months other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

Beginning with the monthly roll in September 2023 and ending with the monthly roll in January 2024, USO began transitioning its investment portfolio so that primarily invests in Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts, consistent with USO’s investment strategy prior to the Spring of 2020. However, USO has had, and will continue to have, the ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps, and USO may make such investments if market conditions, regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or other factors require USO to do so in order to meet its investment objective. USO may invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and/or Other Oil-Related Investments, as a result or in response to any of the foregoing factors.

During the first quarter of 2024 the rolling 30 day average daily difference between the return of USO’s NAV and the Benchmark Futures Contract was 0.017% or 1.7 basis points).

There are three factors that typically have impacted or are most likely to impact USO’s ability to accurately its track Benchmark Oil Futures Contract in addition to the foregoing.

First, USO may buy or sell its holdings in the then current Benchmark Oil Futures Contract at a price other than the settlement price of that contract on the day during which USO executes the trade. In that case, USO may pay a price that is higher, or lower, than the closing settlement price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, which could cause the changes in the daily per share NAV of USO to either be too high or too low relative to the daily changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. During the three months ended March 31, 2024, USCF attempted to minimize the effect of these transactions by seeking to execute its purchase or sale of Oil Futures Contracts at, or as close as possible to, the end of the day settlement price. However, it may not always be possible for USO to obtain the settlement price and there is no assurance that failure to obtain the closing settlement price in the future will not adversely impact USO’s attempt to track the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

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Second, USO incurs expenses primarily composed of the management fee, brokerage commissions for the buying and selling of futures contracts, and other expenses. The impact of these expenses tends to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly lower than daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. At the same time, USO earns dividend and interest income on its cash, cash equivalents and Treasuries. USO is not required to distribute any portion of its income to its shareholders and did not make any distributions to shareholders during the three months ended March 31, 2024. Interest payments, and any other income, were retained within the portfolio and added to USO’s NAV. When this income exceeds the level of USO’s expenses for its management fee, brokerage commissions and other expenses (including ongoing registration fees, licensing fees and the fees and expenses of the independent directors of USCF), USO will realize a net yield that will tend to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly higher than daily changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. If short-term interest rates rise above these levels, the level of deviation created by the yield would increase. Conversely, if short-term interest rates were to decline, the amount of error created by the yield would decrease. When short-term yields drop to a level lower than the combined expenses of the management fee and the brokerage commissions, then the tracking error becomes a negative number and would tend to cause the daily returns of the per share NAV to underperform the daily returns of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. USCF anticipates that interest rates may continue to stagnate over the near future. It is anticipated that fees and expenses paid by USO may continue to be lower than interest earned by USO. As such, USCF anticipates that USO could possibly outperform its benchmark so long as interest earned is greater than the fees and expenses paid by USO.

Third, USO may hold Other Oil-Related Investments in its portfolio that may fail to closely track the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract’s total return movements. In that case, the error in tracking the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract could result in daily changes in the per share NAV of USO that are either too high, or too low, relative to the daily changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. During the three months ended March 31, 2024, USO held OTC swaps, which are considered Other Oil-Related Investments. If USO increases in size, and due to its obligations to comply with market conditions, regulatory limits, and risk mitigation measures imposed by its FCMs, USO may invest in additional Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps, which may have the effect of increasing transaction related expenses and may result in increased tracking error. OTC swaps increase transaction-related expenses due to the fact that USO must pay to the swap counterparty certain fees that USO does not have to pay for transactions executed on an exchange.

Term Structure of Crude Oil Futures Prices and the Impact on Total Returns. Several factors determine the total return from investing in futures contracts. One factor arises from “rolling” futures contracts that will expire at the end of the current month (the “near” or “front” month contract) forward each month prior to expiration. For a strategy that entails holding the near month contract, the price relationship between that futures contract and the next month futures contract will impact returns. For example, if the price of the near month futures contract is higher than the next futures month contract (a situation referred to as “backwardation”), then absent any other change, the price of a next month futures contract tends to rise in value as it becomes the near month futures contract and approaches expiration. Conversely, if the price of a near month futures contract is lower than the next month futures contract (a situation referred to as “contango”), then absent any other change, the price of a next month futures contract tends to decline in value as it becomes the near month futures contract and approaches expiration.

As an example, assume that the price of crude oil for immediate delivery, is $50 per barrel, and the value of a position in the near month futures contract is also $50. Over time, the price of crude oil will fluctuate based on a number of market factors, including demand for oil relative to supply. The value of the near month futures contract will likewise fluctuate in reaction to a number of market factors. If an investor seeks to maintain a position in a near month futures contract and not take delivery of physical barrels of crude oil, the investor must sell the current near month futures contract as it approaches expiration and invest in the next month futures contract. In order to continue holding a position in the current near month futures contract, this “roll” forward of the futures contract must be executed every month.

Contango and backwardation are natural market forces that have impacted the total return on an investment in USO’s shares during the past year relative to a hypothetical direct investment in crude oil. In the future, it is likely that the relationship between the market price of USO’s shares and changes in the spot prices of light, sweet crude oil will continue to be impacted by contango and backwardation. It is important to note that this comparison ignores the potential costs associated with physically owning and storing crude oil, which could be substantial.

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If the futures market is in backwardation, e.g., when the price of the near month futures contract is higher than the price of the next month futures contract, the investor would buy a next month futures contract for a lower price than the current near month futures contract. Assuming the price of the next month futures contract was $49 per barrel, or 2% cheaper than the $50 near month futures contract, then, hypothetically, and assuming no other changes (e.g., to either prevailing crude oil prices or the price relationship between the spot price, the near month contract and the next month contract, and, ignoring the impact of commission costs and the income earned on cash and/or cash equivalents), the value of the $49 next month futures contract would rise to $50 as it approaches expiration. In this example, the value of an investment in the next month futures contract would tend to outperform the spot price of crude oil. As a result, it would be possible for the new near month futures contract to rise 12% while the spot price of crude oil may have risen a lower amount, e.g., only 10%. Similarly, the spot price of crude oil could have fallen 10% while the value of an investment in the futures contract might have fallen another amount, e.g., only 8%. Over time, if backwardation remained constant, this difference between the spot price and the futures contract price would continue to increase.

If the futures market is in contango, an investor would be buying a next month futures contract for a higher price than the current near month futures contract. Again, assuming the near month futures contract is $50 per barrel, the price of the next month futures contract might be $51 per barrel, or 2% more expensive than the front month futures contract. Hypothetically, and assuming no other changes, the value of the $51 next month futures contract would fall to $50 as it approaches expiration. In this example, the value of an investment in the second month would tend to underperform the spot price of crude oil. As a result, it would be possible for the new near month futures contract to rise only 10% while the spot price of crude oil may have risen a higher amount, e.g., 12%. Similarly, the spot price of crude oil could have fallen 10% while the value of an investment in the second month futures contract might have fallen another amount, e.g., 12%. Over time, if contango remained constant, this difference between the spot price and the futures contract price would continue to increase.

The chart below compares the daily price of the near month crude oil futures contract to the price of the 13th month crude oil futures contract (i.e., a contract one year forward) over the last 10 years. When the price of the near month futures contract is higher than the price of the 13th month futures contract, the market would be described as being in backwardation. When the price of the near month futures contract is lower than the 13th month futures contract, the market would be described as being in contango. Although the price of the near month futures contract and the price of the 13th month futures contract tend to move together, it can be seen that at times the near month futures contract prices are higher than the 13th month futures contract prices (backwardation) and, at other times, the near month futures contract prices are lower than the 13th month futures contract prices (contango).

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*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Graphic

An alternative way to view the same data is to subtract the dollar price of the 13th month crude oil futures contract from the dollar price of the near month crude oil futures contract, as shown in the chart below. When the difference is positive, the market is in backwardation. When the difference is negative, the market is in contango. The crude oil market spent time in both backwardation and contango during the last ten years.

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*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Graphic

An investment in a portfolio that owned only the near month crude oil futures contract would likely produce a different result than an investment in a portfolio that owned an equal number of each of the near 12 months of crude oil futures contracts. Generally speaking, when the crude oil futures market is in backwardation, a portfolio of only the near month crude oil futures contract may tend to have a higher total return than a portfolio of 12 months of the crude oil futures contract. Conversely, if the crude oil futures market was in contango, the portfolio containing only 12 months of crude oil futures contracts may tend to outperform the portfolio holding only the near month crude oil futures contract.

Historically, the crude oil futures markets have experienced periods of contango and backwardation, with backwardation being in place somewhat less often than contango since oil futures trading started in 1983. Following the global financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2008, the crude oil market moved into contango and remained primarily in contango until 2013. In 2014, global crude oil inventories grew rapidly after OPEC voted to defend its market share against U.S. shale-oil producers, resulting in another period during which the crude oil market remained primarily in contango. This period of contango continued through December 31, 2017. Declining global crude oil inventories caused the market to flip into backwardation at the beginning of 2018 through late October 2018, at which point ongoing supply growth in the U.S., combined with increased OPEC production, once again led market participants to fear another global glut of crude oil. The crude oil market was primarily in contango the first half of 2019 and in backwardation during the second half of 2019. Crude oil flipped back into contango in January 2020 and remained predominantly in contango throughout 2020.

In March 2020, contango dramatically increased and reached historic levels during the economic crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, related supply chain disruptions and ongoing disputes among oil producing countries. This level of contango was due to significant market volatility that occurred in crude oil markets as well as oil futures markets. Crude oil prices collapsed in the wake of the COVID-19 demand shock, which reduced global petroleum consumption, and the price war launched by Saudi Arabia at the beginning of March 2020 in response to Russia’s unwillingness to participate in extending previously agreed upon supply cuts. An estimated twenty million barrels a day of crude demand evaporated as a result of quarantines and massive drops in industrial and manufacturing activity. Eventually, the United States, OPEC, Russia, and other oil producers around the world agreed to a historic 9.7 million barrel per day cut to crude supply. The supply cut along with the partial reopening of economies during the third quarter of 2020 reduced some of the unprecedented volatility that oil markets experienced in the Spring of 2020.

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During the twelve months ended December 31, 2020, the crude oil futures market spent time in both a state of contango and backwardation as measured by the difference between the front month and the second month contract, whereas during the twelve months ended December 31, 2021, the crude oil futures market was primarily in a state of backwardation as measured by the difference between the front month and the second month contract. During the year ended December 31, 2022, the crude oil futures market experienced states of both contango and backwardation as measured by the difference between the front month and the second month contract, and during the three-month period ended March 31, 2024, the crude oil futures market also experienced states of both contango. and backwardation.

As a result of market and regulatory conditions, including significant market volatility, large numbers of USO shares purchased during a short period of time, applicable regulatory accountability levels and position limits on oil futures contracts and risk mitigation measures that were taken by USO and USO’s FCM in 2020, USO invested in, and continues to invest in, Oil Futures Contracts with expiration dates for months later than that of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. Holdings in later month contracts will typically cause USO to experience lesser effects from contango and backwardation than would be the case if USO’s holdings were primarily in oil futures contracts in the first month or second month. Beginning with the monthly roll in September 2023 and ending with the monthly roll in January 2024, USO’s intention is to begin transitioning its investment portfolio so that it will primarily invest in Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts, consistent with USO’s investment strategy prior to 2020. However, USO has had, and will continue to have, the ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC swaps, and USO may make such investments if market conditions, regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures (including those that may be taken by USO, USO’s FCMs, counterparties or other market participants), liquidity requirements, or other factors require USO to do so in order to meet its investment objective. USO may invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and/or Other Oil-Related Investments, as a result or in response to any of the foregoing factors.

Crude Oil Market. During the three months ended March 31, 2024, the price of the front month WTI crude oil futures contract traded in a range between $70.38 to $83.47. Prices increased from December 31, 2023 through March 31, 2024, finishing the quarter at $83.17.

The simultaneous demand and supply shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and Saudi-Russia price war precipitated unparalleled risk and volatility in crude oil markets during the first half of 2020. Global demand for crude oil plummeted by as much as 30% in the spring of 2020 as workers around the world stopped driving, airlines cut flight schedules, and companies suspended operations. Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil supply reached 13 million barrels per day (mbd), capping a period of almost continuous growth since 2016. To offset the seemingly unstoppable U.S. production juggernaut, OPEC+ (a loose coalition between OPEC and non-member nations such as Russia and Mexico) had maintained an uneasy series of agreements to curtail their crude oil output in order to support crude oil prices. However, in early March of 2020, Russia refused Saudi Arabia’s proposal to extend cuts in response to the COVID-19 demand shock. The kingdom retaliated with a massive production increase, launching an all-out price war in the middle of a pandemic. Although the members of OPEC+ reached a record-shattering agreement in mid-April of 2020, the implementation of new supply cuts came too late to prevent crude oil prices from plummeting to historic lows, culminating in a drop into negative territory for the May WTI crude oil futures contract on April 20, 2020.

During the second quarter of 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that crude oil demand fell an average of 16.4 mbd while global crude oil supply declined by an average of 13.7 mbd. Demand evaporated as a result of quarantines and massive drops in industrial and manufacturing activity. Supply declined largely due to the historic agreement in April of 2020 between the United States, OPEC, Russia, and other oil producers. The bulk of the supply decline came from voluntary OPEC+ cuts while 2.8 mbd resulted from market driven cuts in the United States. As of June 30, 2020, U.S. production had dropped over 15%, rapidly falling back to 11 mbd. Oil producing rigs in the United States fell to 180 from over 670 at the start of the year, a massive decline that will likely see U.S. supply fall further. Finally, in late June of 2020 storage in the U.S. spiked to 541 million barrels while global storage reached 3.351 billion barrels.

The unprecedented twin crises described above caused unparalleled effects on oil futures markets during 2020.

First, front month WTI Oil Futures Contract prices dipped below $20 for the first time since 2002 and hit an all-time closing low of $(37.63). Multiple record-breaking returns occurred between March and May of 2020. The price of the front month WTI Oil Futures Contract averaged $28 during the second quarter of 2020 compared to $46 during the first quarter of 2020 and $57 during calendar year 2019.

Second, crude oil price volatility went off-the-charts. For example, the 30-day annualized volatility of front month WTI crude oil futures prices reached 984% in May 2020 after averaging 35% in 2019 and 25% in the first two months of 2020. (If May crude oil futures had not gone negative on April 20, 2020, volatility would “only” have reached 416%.)

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Third, futures curves, which can exhibit conditions known as “contango” and “backwardation” as discussed above, moved into a condition that some market experts referred to as “super contango.” This was a result of extreme bearishness at the front of the futures curve due to rapidly filling storage facilities in the U.S. and around the world. Specifically, the price of the front month WTI Oil Futures Contract detached from the rest of the futures curve and fell to an extreme position relative to futures contracts with expiration dates in later months. On a percentage basis, the difference in price between the front month WTI Oil Futures Contract and the second month WTI Oil Futures Contract was more than double the previous record. This divergence caused the price of WTI Oil Futures Contracts with different expiration dates to move in different directions. For example, the price of the front month WTI Oil Futures Contract and second month WTI Oil Futures Contract typically move together (i.e., increase or decrease) about 99% of the time. However, in late April of 2020, the correlation of the price of the front and second month WTI Oil Futures Contracts was (24)%, meaning that these contracts were moving in opposite directions.

Fourth, USO, among other market participants, diversified its portfolio away from the front of the futures curve in favor of deferred contract months, as discussed in this Form 10-Q. The move by USO and other market participants to deferred contract months caused a historic change during 2020 to relative levels of open interest among the different futures contracts. For example, open interest in the front month futures contract fell an average of 40% during April, May, and June of 2020 compared to the average level of open interest during those same calendar months during the previous five years.

As economies reopened and OPEC+ supply cuts were absorbed by the market, WTI crude oil prices rose from all-time lows in the spring of 2020 to an average of $68.00 per barrel during calendar year 2021. WTI crude oil inventories in the United States fell from a modern record of 541 mb in June 2020 to 418 mb by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021. Crude oil production in the United States fell below 10 mbd twice in 2020 and once in early 2021 after peaking at 13.1 mbd in March of 2020. U.S. production rose to 11.8 mbd by December 31, 2021. Similarly, OPEC production declined from over 30 mbd pre-COVID-19 to a pandemic low of 22.5 mbd before gradually recovering to 28.1 mbd by December 31, 2021. While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have decreased, elevated risk from the pandemic remains in the oil markets until the current and future COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures have fully subsided.

Bullish fundamentals for crude oil prices were in place when Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, causing the United States and other countries and certain international organizations to impose broad-ranging economic sanctions on Russia and certain Russian individuals, banking entities and corporations as a response. The war in Ukraine, sanctions and the corresponding disruption in the supply of Russian oil, resulted in significant volatility in the oil markets, particularly in early March when WTI crude oil briefly rose to over $123.70 per barrel on March 8, 2022 then fell back to $95.04 per barrel on March 16, 2022, before rising and the falling again to end the first quarter of 2022 at $100.28 per barrel. A bullish trend for crude oil emerged from mid-April through early June 2022 when WTI crude oil again topped $120 per barrel before, once again, giving up gains to end the fourth quarter of 2022 at $80.26.

Crude oil prices struggled to find direction during the first half of 2023 with seventeen notable price reversals, most of which exceeded $5. Prices rose dramatically in the third quarter, from approximately $70 to over $90. This strong bull market completely reversed in the fourth quarter and by December crude had plunged back to the $70 to $75 range. U.S. crude oil production growth accelerated in late July and rose until the end of the year, finally surpassing pre-pandemic levels and reaching a record of 13.3 mbd in December.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, global crude oil demand was roughly in-line with supply during January and March of 2024 and exceeded supply by over one million barrels per day (mbd) in February of 2024.  U.S. crude oil production was volatile in the winter months, dropping to as low as 12.3 mbd before recovering to match 2023’s record 13.3 mbd in February.  Production declined again in March 2024 to end the quarter at 13.1 mbd.  OPEC crude production has mostly declined since late 2022 and fell again in the first quarter of 2024 to 26.85 mbd.  Russia and OPEC have still not returned to pre-pandemic production levels, while the U.S. has become the world’s largest crude oil producing nation. OPEC has fiercely supported prices with voluntary cuts by and production quotas on member nations over the last several years. In November 2023 and April 2024, OPEC and cooperating countries agreed to extension of voluntary cuts and expansion of collective curbs that amounted to 2.2 mbd until at least the end of June 2024. Looking ahead, if OPEC's strategic focus shifts from price support to market share defense, prices could come under pressure. Conversely, demand for crude oil has increased since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, crude oil consumption reached an all-time high at the end of 2023 and is expected to continue increasing through 2025 at least. However, growth forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have declined from more optimistic projections earlier in 2023. Nevertheless, ongoing demand growth during a time when OPEC continues to restrain supply could lead to stable or higher prices over time. Supply constraints, worker shortages, infrastructure and manufacturing energy usage, the Russia-Ukraine war, the terror attacks by Hamas on Israel, the Israel/Iran conflict, and other conflict in the Middle East, and other geopolitical tensions, political unrest, and attacks or threats of attack by terrorists, are other factors that could contribute to future increases in crude oil prices. Conversely, changes in OPEC policy, further non-OPEC production growth, and any sluggishness in the global economy could weigh on prices.

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Geopolitical risk remains particularly high in 2024. The Russia-Ukraine war and Middle East conflict have the potential to create further supply disruptions and sanctions, which could lead to further volatility. However, if a resolution to the conflicts were to occur, volatility could decrease and prices could decline somewhat in a short period of time. Even short-term changes in perceived geopolitical risk can cause the market to change swiftly.  Crude oil prices may also be highly reactive to developments as global buyers and sellers of crude reposition their relationships.

Crude Oil Price Movements in Comparison to Other Energy Commodities and Investment Categories. USCF believes that investors frequently measure the degree to which prices or total returns of one investment or asset class move up or down in value in concert with another investment or asset class. Statistically, such a measure is usually done by measuring the correlation of the price movements of the two different investments or asset classes over some period of time. The correlation is scaled between 1 and -1, where 1 indicates that the two investment options move up or down in price or value together, known as “positive correlation,” and -1 indicates that they move in completely opposite directions, known as “negative correlation.” A correlation of 0 would mean that the movements of the two are neither positively nor negatively correlated, known as “non-correlation.” That is, the investment options sometimes move up and down together and other times move in opposite directions.

For the ten-year time period between March 31, 2014 and March 31, 2024, the table below compares the monthly movements of crude oil prices versus the monthly movements of the prices of several other energy commodities, such as natural gas, diesel-heating oil, and unleaded gasoline, as well as several major non-commodity investment asset classes, such as large cap U.S. equities, U.S. government bonds and global equities.

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Crude Oil - 10 Years