10-Q 1 uso-20210930x10q.htm FORM 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 September 30, 2021.

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 49,423,603 outstanding shares as of October 20, 2021.

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Financial Condition

At September 30, 2021 (Unaudited) and December 31, 2020

    

September 30, 2021

    

December 31, 2020

Assets

Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $1,769,454,915 and $2,585,466,700, respectively) (Notes 2 and 5)

$

1,769,454,915

$

2,585,466,700

Equity in trading accounts:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $636,570,835 and $723,771,439, respectively)

 

636,570,835

 

723,771,439

Unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts

 

327,533,253

 

401,443,958

Dividends receivable

 

34,533

 

3,683

Interest receivable

 

60,318

 

160,957

Prepaid insurance*

309,040

38,452

Prepaid registration fees

 

 

1,260,041

ETF transaction fees receivable

 

 

2,000

Total Assets

$

2,733,962,894

$

3,712,147,230

Liabilities and Partners’ Capital

 

 

Payable due to Broker

$

91,750,633

$

23,667,355

Payable for shares redeemed

 

26,265,370

 

59,405,821

General Partner management fees payable (Note 3)

 

967,321

 

1,407,565

Professional fees payable

 

2,087,175

 

1,903,173

Brokerage commissions payable

 

237,911

 

323,858

Directors’ fees payable*

 

46,432

 

52,049

License fees payable

 

134,233

 

169,663

Total Liabilities

 

121,489,075

 

86,929,484

Commitments and Contingencies (Notes 3, 4 & 5)

 

 

Partners’ Capital

 

 

General Partners

 

 

Limited Partners

 

2,612,473,819

 

3,625,217,746

Total Partners’ Capital

 

2,612,473,819

 

3,625,217,746

Total Liabilities and Partners’ Capital

$

2,733,962,894

$

3,712,147,230

Limited Partners' shares outstanding

 

49,623,603

 

109,623,603

Net asset value per share

$

52.65

$

33.07

Market value per share

$

52.56

$

33.01

*

Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified for consistency with the current presentation.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

2

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Schedule of Investments (Unaudited)

At September 30, 2021

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 November 2021 contracts, expiring October 2021

$

467,422,170

6,964

$

55,086,750

2.11

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures December 2021 contracts, expiring November 2021

386,669,867

6,995

135,856,633

5.20

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures January 2022 contracts, expiring December 2021

359,041,170

5,282

32,830,410

1.26

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures February 2022 contracts, expiring January 2022

360,361,130

5,325

31,505,620

1.20

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures March 2022 contracts, expiring February 2022

239,550,230

3,579

21,680,980

0.83

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures April 2022 contracts, expiring March 2022

121,789,650

1,804

8,783,870

0.34

NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures June 2022 contracts, expiring May 2022

350,034,060

5,507

41,788,990

1.60

Total Open Futures Contracts*

$

2,284,868,277

 

35,456

$

327,533,253

 

12.54

Shares/Principal

Market

% of Partners'

    

Amount

    

Value

    

Capital

Cash Equivalents

 

  

 

  

 

  

United States Money Market Funds

 

  

 

  

 

  

Goldman Sachs Financial Square Government Fund - Institutional Shares, 0.03%#

 

108,002,000

$

108,002,000

4.13

Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds - Government Portfolio - Institutional Shares, 0.03%#

1,400,000,000

1,400,000,000

53.59

RBC U.S. Government Money Market Fund - Institutional Shares, 0.03%#

 

112,532,000

112,532,000

4.31

Total United States Money Market Funds

 

$

1,620,534,000

62.03

#Reflects the 7-day yield at September 30, 2021.

*Collateral amounted to $636,570,835 on open commodity futures contracts.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

3

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Operations (Unaudited)

For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

    

Three months ended

    

Three months ended

    

Nine months ended

    

Nine months ended

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

Income

 

  

 

  

  

 

  

Gain (loss) on trading of commodity futures contracts:

 

  

 

  

  

 

  

Realized gain (loss) on closed commodity futures contracts

$

288,200,922

$

1,138,807,507

$

1,601,968,924

$

(2,508,492,651)

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

 

(148,251,631)

 

(1,048,629,449)

 

(73,910,705)

 

59,173,693

Dividend income

 

113,383

 

383,360

 

322,330

 

1,930,681

Interest income*

 

195,291

 

1,020,740

 

701,254

 

8,026,317

ETF transaction fees

 

37,000

 

55,000

 

133,000

 

239,546

Total Income (Loss)

$

140,294,965

$

91,637,158

$

1,529,214,803

$

(2,439,122,414)

Expenses

 

 

 

 

General Partner management fees (Note 3)

$

3,142,605

$

4,893,531

$

10,408,092

$

11,185,461

Professional fees

 

1,919,476

 

1,045,976

 

5,393,074

 

1,868,951

Brokerage commissions

 

245,933

 

783,270

 

901,518

 

5,462,795

Directors' fees and insurance

 

215,809

 

101,486

 

532,153

 

295,690

License fees

 

104,753

 

163,118

 

346,936

 

372,849

Registration fees

 

 

759,225

 

1,260,041

 

2,237,939

Total Expenses

$

5,628,576

$

7,746,606

$

18,841,814

$

21,423,685

Net Income (Loss)

$

134,666,389

$

83,890,552

$

1,510,372,989

$

(2,460,546,099)

Net Income (Loss) per limited partner share

$

2.78

$

0.47

$

19.58

$

(73.78)

Net Income (Loss) per weighted average limited partner share

$

2.39

$

0.57

$

21.27

$

(22.18)

Weighted average limited partner shares outstanding

 

56,448,603

 

147,624,690

 

71,016,643

 

110,925,391

*

Interest income does not exceed paid in kind of 5%.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

4

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statement of Changes in Partners’ Capital (Unaudited)

For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

Limited Partners*

Three months ended

Three months ended

Nine months ended

Nine months ended

    

September 30, 2021

    

September 30, 2020

    

September 30, 2021

    

September 30, 2020

Balances at beginning of period

 

$

3,073,382,310

 

$

4,671,150,865

$

3,625,217,746

$

1,170,976,258

Addition of 6,200,000, 15,100,000, 15,000,000 and 205,262,500 partnership shares, respectively

297,127,691

460,593,523

664,230,493

7,985,349,311

Redemption of (18,200,000), (39,600,000), (75,000,000) and (74,488,897) partnership shares, respectively

(892,702,571)

(1,164,087,876)

(3,187,347,409)

(2,644,232,406)

Net income (loss)

134,666,389

83,890,552

1,510,372,989

(2,460,546,099)

Balances at end of period

 

$

2,612,473,819

 

$

4,051,547,064

$

2,612,473,819

$

4,051,547,064

*

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

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

5

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

    

Nine months ended

    

Nine months ended

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

Cash Flows from Operating Activities:

 

  

 

  

Net income (loss)

$

1,510,372,989

$

(2,460,546,099)

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

 

73,910,705

 

(59,173,693)

(Increase) decrease in dividends receivable

 

(30,850)

 

(22,782)

(Increase) decrease in interest receivable

 

100,639

 

(117,062)

(Increase) decrease in prepaid insurance*

(270,588)

(38,498)

(Increase) decrease in prepaid registration fees

 

1,260,041

 

(2,148,443)

(Increase) decrease in ETF transaction fees receivable

 

2,000

 

(351)

Increase (decrease) in payable due to Broker

 

68,083,278

 

(8,820,649)

Increase (decrease) in General Partner management fees payable

 

(440,244)

 

1,067,587

Increase (decrease) in professional fees payable

 

184,002

 

(179,069)

Increase (decrease) in brokerage commissions payable

 

(85,947)

 

207,158

Increase (decrease) in directors' fees payable*

(5,617)

14,179

Increase (decrease) in license fees payable

 

(35,430)

 

152,917

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

 

1,653,044,978

 

(2,529,604,805)

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:

 

 

Addition of partnership shares

 

664,230,493

 

7,985,349,311

Redemption of partnership shares

 

(3,220,487,860)

 

(2,644,920,161)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

(2,556,257,367)

 

5,340,429,150

Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Cash Equivalents

 

(903,212,389)

 

2,810,824,345

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

 

3,309,238,139

 

1,176,245,411

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

$

2,406,025,750

$

3,987,069,756

Components of Cash and Cash Equivalents:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

1,769,454,915

$

2,123,627,473

Equity in Trading Accounts:

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

636,570,835

 

1,863,442,283

Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts

$

2,406,025,750

$

3,987,069,756

*

Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified for consistency with the current presentation.

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

6

United States Oil Fund, LP

Notes to Condensed Financial Statements (Unaudited)

For the period ended September 30, 2021

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 may be purchased and sold 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, except when the near month contract is within two weeks of expiration, in which case it will be measured by the futures contract that is the next month contract to expire. Specifically, 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. USO is currently unable to pursue its investment objective with the same high degree of success that it has in the past due to its limited ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and certain other Oil Futures Contracts, as defined below, to the same extent it was able to before the market conditions and regulatory limitations imposed on USO occurred in Spring of 2020, and risk mitigation measures taken by USO’s FCMs as a result, as described herein, arose. As a result of such market conditions, the regulatory conditions that were and could again be imposed and the risk mitigation measures imposed by its FCMs, there is still uncertainty as to whether USO will be able to achieve its investment objective within as narrow a percentage change difference in its NAV for any period of 30 successive valuation days and the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract as it typically had prior to the Spring of 2020 due to 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 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 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 so 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 accomplishes its objective through investments 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 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 September 30, 2021, USO held 35,456 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.

USO commenced investment operations on April 10, 2006 and has a fiscal year ending on December 31. 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.

7

USCF is also the general partner of the United States Natural Gas Fund, LP (“UNG”), the United States 12 Month Oil Fund, LP (“USL”) and the United States Gasoline Fund, LP (“UGA”), which listed their limited partnership shares on the AMEX under the ticker symbols “UNG” on April 18, 2007, “USL” on December 6, 2007 and “UGA” on February 26, 2008, respectively. As a result of the acquisition of the AMEX by NYSE Euronext, each of UNG’s, USL’s and UGA’s shares commenced trading on the NYSE Arca on November 25, 2008. USCF is also the general partner of the United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund, LP (“UNL”) and the United States Brent Oil Fund, LP (“BNO”), which listed their limited partnership shares on the NYSE Arca under the ticker symbols “UNL” on November 18, 2009 and “BNO” on June 2, 2010, respectively.

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”), the United States Copper Index Fund (“CPER”) and the USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund (“XBET”). USCI and CPER listed their shares on the NYSE Arca under the ticker symbols “USCI” on August 10, 2010 and “CPER” on November 15, 2011, respectively. A registration statement that had been previously filed for XBET was withdrawn on June 25, 2020.

USO, 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 placed 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. As of September 30, 2021, USO had registered a total of 5,627,000,000 shares.

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.

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.

8

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 2018. 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 September 30, 2021.

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.

Partnership Capital and Allocation of Partnership Income and Losses

Profit or loss shall be allocated among the partners of USO in proportion to the 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.

9

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 September 30, 2021.

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 six months or less.

Reclassification

Certain amounts in the accompanying condensed financial statements were reclassified to conform to the current presentation.

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 nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, USO incurred $1,260,041 and $2,237,939, respectively, in registration fees and other offering expenses.

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, 2021 are estimated to be a total of $726,000 for USO and, in the aggregate for USO and the Related Public Funds, $1,061,000.

10

Licensing Fees

As discussed in Note 4 below, USO entered into a licensing agreement with the NYMEX on 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 nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, USO incurred $346,936 and $372,849, 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 $5,000,000 for the year ending December 31, 2021. 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, which are borne by USCF, include 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. 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.

Custody, Transfer Agency and Fund Administration and Accounting Services Agreements

USCF engaged The Bank of New York Mellon, a New York corporation authorized to do 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.

Brown Brothers Harriman and Co. (“BBH&Co.”) previously served as the Administrator, Custodian, Transfer Agent and Fund Accounting Agent for USO and the Related Public Funds prior to BNY Mellon commencing such services on April 1, 2020. Certain fund accounting and fund administration services rendered by BBH&Co. to USO and the Related Public Funds terminated on May 31, 2020 to allow for the transition to BNY Mellon.

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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 RCG Division of Marex Spectron (“RCG”), E D & F Man Capital Markets Inc. (“MCM”) and Macquarie Futures USA LLC (“MFUSA”) to serve as an additional FCM to USO effective on May 28, 2020, June 5, 2020, and December 3, 2020, 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”).

    

Nine months ended

Nine months ended

    

    

September 30, 2021

    

September 30, 2020

Total commissions accrued to brokers

$

901,518

$

5,462,795

Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets

 

0.04

%

 

0.22

%

Commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

$

700,707

$

4,508,991

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

 

77.73

%

 

82.54

%

Commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

$

200,811

$

953,804

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

 

22.27

%

 

17.46

%

The decrease in total commissions accrued to brokers for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2020, was due primarily to a lower number of crude oil futures contracts being held and traded.

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.

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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.

A novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The situation is evolving with various cities and countries around the world responding in different ways to address the outbreak. There are direct and indirect economic effects developing for various industries and individual companies throughout the world. Management will continue to monitor the impact COVID-19 has on USO and reflect the consequences as appropriate in USO’s accounting and financial reporting. The pandemic spread of the novel coronavirus and related geopolitical events could lead to increased market volatility, disruption to U.S. and world economies and markets and may have significant adverse effects on USO and its investments.

All of the futures contracts held by USO through September 30, 2021 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. However, in the future, if USO were to enter into non-exchange traded contracts, it would be 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 has credit risk under its futures contracts since the sole counterparty to all domestic and foreign futures contracts is 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 September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, USO held investments in money market funds in the amounts of $1,620,534,000 and $418,534,000, respectively. USO also holds cash deposits with its custodian. As of September 30, 2021 and December 31, 2020, USO held cash deposits and investments in Treasuries in the amounts of $785,491,750 and $2,890,704,139 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.

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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.

SEC and CFTC Wells Notices

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 relates to USO’s disclosures in late April and early May regarding constraints imposed on USO’s ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts. The SEC Wells Notice states that the SEC staff has 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934, amended as (the “1934 Act”), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, in each case with respect to its disclosures and USO’s actions.

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 states that the CFTC staff has 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 CEA, 7 U.S.C. §§ 6o(1)(A), (B), 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), in each case with respect to its disclosures and USO’s actions.

A Wells Notice is neither a formal charge of wrongdoing nor a final determination that the recipient has violated any law. USCF, USO, and Mr. Love maintain that USO’s disclosures and their actions were appropriate. They intend to vigorously contest the allegations made by the SEC staff in the SEC Wells Notice and the CFTC staff in the CFTC Wells Notice.

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 1934 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.

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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.

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 1934 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.

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NOTE 6 — FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The following table presents per share performance data and other supplemental financial data for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 for the shareholders. This information has been derived from information presented in the condensed financial statements.

    

Three months ended

    

Three months ended

    

Nine months ended

    

Nine months ended

 

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

 

Per Share Operating Performance:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net asset value, beginning of period

$

49.87

$

28.02

$

33.07

$

102.27

Total income (loss)

 

2.88

 

0.52

 

19.85

 

(73.59)

Total expenses

 

(0.10)

 

(0.05)

 

(0.27)

 

(0.19)

Net increase (decrease) in net asset value

 

2.78

 

0.47

 

19.58

 

(73.78)

Net asset value, end of period

$

52.65

$

28.49

$

52.65

$

28.49

Total Return

 

5.57

%  

 

1.68

%

 

59.21

%  

 

(72.14)

%

Ratios to Average Net Assets

 

 

 

 

Total income (loss)

 

5.06

%  

 

2.12

%

 

49.45

%  

 

(73.46)

%

Management fees#

 

0.45

%  

 

0.45

%

 

0.45

%  

 

0.45

%

Total expenses excluding management fees#

 

0.36

%  

 

0.26

%

 

0.36

%  

 

0.41

%

Net income (loss)

 

4.86

%  

 

1.94

%

 

48.84

%  

 

(74.11)

%

#

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.

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.

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The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at September 30, 2021 using the fair value hierarchy:

At September 30, 2021

    

Total

    

Level I

    

Level II

    

Level III

Short-Term Investments

$

1,620,534,000

$

1,620,534,000

$

$

Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts

 

 

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

327,533,253

 

327,533,253

 

 

The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at December 31, 2020 using the fair value hierarchy:

At December 31, 2020

    

Total

    

Level I

    

Level II

    

Level III

Short-Term Investments

$

418,534,000

$

418,534,000

$

$

Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts

 

 

 

  

 

  

United States Contracts

 

401,443,958

 

401,443,958

 

 

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

    

    

    

    

Condensed Statements of

    

Fair Value

    

Fair Value

 Financial

at September 30, 

at December 31, 

Derivatives not Accounted for as Hedging Instruments

Condition Location

2021

2020

Futures - Commodity Contracts

 

Assets

$

327,533,253

$

401,443,958

The Effect of Derivative Instruments on the Condensed Statements of Operations

For the nine months ended

For the nine months ended

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

Change in

Change in

Location of

Realized

Unrealized

Realized

Unrealized

Derivatives not

Gain (Loss)

gain (Loss)

Gain (Loss) on

Gain (Loss)

Gain (Loss) on

Accounted for

on Derivatives

on Derivatives

Derivatives

in Derivatives

Derivatives

as 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 positions

$

1,601,968,924

$

(2,508,492,651)

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open positions

 

  

$

(73,910,705)

 

  

$

59,173,693

NOTE 8 — RECENT ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS

In August 2018, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2018-13, which changes certain fair value measurement disclosure requirements. The new ASU, in addition to other modifications and additions, removes the requirement to disclose the amount and reasons for transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy, and USO’s policy for the timing of transfers between levels. The amendments are effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. USO has evaluated the implications of certain provisions of the ASU and has determined that there will be no material impacts to the financial statements.

NOTE 9 — 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, disputes among oil-producing countries over the potential limits on the production of crude oil, changes in demand for crude oil and storage for crude oil; uncertainties associated with the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including: its impact on the global and U.S. capital markets and the global and U.S. economy, the length and duration of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States as well as worldwide and the magnitude of the economic impact of that outbreak, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on USO’s business prospects, including its ability to achieve its objectives, and the effect of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on our ability to continue to effectively manage our business. 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 Securities and Exchange Commission (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, except when the near month contract is within two weeks of expiration, in which case it will be measured by the futures contract that is the next month contract to expire (the “Benchmark Oil Futures Contract”), plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses. “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 described below, USO is currently unable to pursue its investment objective with the same high degree of success that it has in the past due to its limited ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and certain other Oil Futures Contracts, as defined below, to the same extent it was able to before the market conditions and regulatory limitations imposed on USO occurred in Spring of 2020, and risk mitigation measures taken by USO’s FCMs as a result, as described herein, arose. As a result of such market conditions, the regulatory conditions that were and could again be imposed, and the risk mitigation measures imposed by its FCMs, there is still uncertainty as to whether USO will be able to achieve its investment objective within as narrow a percentage change difference in its NAV for any period of 30 successive valuation days and the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract as it typically had prior to the Spring of 2020 due to the foregoing factors.

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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.

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, 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.

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 on a percentage basis but there can be no assurance of that. USCF further believes that daily changes in prices 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.

As noted above, 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. Historically, USO has achieved its investment objective by primarily investing in the Benchmark 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 Futures Contract Certain circumstances could cause and have caused, as discussed below, USO to invest in Oil Futures Contracts other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and may cause USO to invest in Other Oil-Related Investments, including OTC swaps. Such circumstances include: the need to comply with regulatory requirements (including, but not limited to, exchange accountability levels and position limits imposed by NYMEX discussed below); market conditions (including but not limited to those allowing USO to obtain greater liquidity or to execute transactions with more favorable pricing); and risk mitigation measures taken by USO’s FCM, RBC Capital, and other FCMs that limit USO and other market participants from investing in particular crude oil futures contracts.

As a result of market and regulatory conditions, including significant market volatility, large numbers of USO shares purchased during a short period of time, and applicable regulatory accountability levels and position limits on oil futures contracts that were imposed on USO in 2020, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of crude oil markets, USO has invested in Oil Futures Contracts (as defined below) in months other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. The foregoing has impacted the performance of USO and its ability meet its investment objective within as narrow a percentage difference between the average daily percentage change in USO’s NAV for any period of 30 successive valuation days and the average daily percentage change in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract as it typically has in prior to the Spring of 2020.

USO’s investment in Oil Futures Contracts in months other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, other Oil Futures Contracts and Other-Oil Related Interests (as defined below), is intended to be temporary but may continue indefinitely if the aforementioned market and regulatory conditions do not abate. Until such time as USO is able to return to investing in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, its performance and ability to meet its investment objective will continue to be impacted.

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The following chart shows, for the period ending September 30, 2021, 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

20

In 2020, significant market volatility occurred in the crude oil markets and the oil futures markets. Such volatility was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, disputes among oil-producing countries over the potential limits on the production of crude oil, a corresponding collapse in demand for crude oil and a lack of on-land storage for crude oil. These conditions together with the prospect that such conditions could reoccur, severely limited and continue to significantly limit 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”). Specifically:

In 2020, NYMEX and ICE Futures imposed accountability levels and position limits on USO’s investments in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and the ICE WTI Contract, respectively. As described in more detail below, the NYMEX ordered USCF, USO and the Related Public Funds (as defined herein) not to assume a position in the light sweet crude oil futures contract for June 2020 in excess of 15,000 long futures contracts, for July 2020 in excess of 78,000 long futures contracts, for August 2020 in excess of 50,000 long futures contracts, and for September 2020 in excess of 35,000 long futures contracts. While these limits no longer apply, NYMEX’s current accountability levels for any one month in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract is 10,000 contracts, and an accountability level for all months of 20,000 net futures contracts for light sweet crude oil, do apply. In addition, the ICE WTI Contract was in 2020 and, currently, is subject to spot month and all-months-combined position limits established under the European Union’s Market in Financial Instruments Directive, as implemented by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. ICE Futures also imposes accountability levels and position limits on the ICE WTI Contract. Investors should note that the foregoing accountability levels and position are subject to change and could change the amount and type of permitted investments in which USO invests. See “Accountability Levels, Position Limits and Position Limits and Price Fluctuation Limits” below.
In 2020, RBC imposed risk mitigation measures that constrained USO’s ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and other Oil Futures Contracts. RBC, which at the time was USO’s only FCM, expressly informed USO that USO may not hold positions in the June Benchmark Oil Futures Contract expiring on May 19, 2020.  At the time it imposed this restriction, RBC continued to trade and clear other Oil Futures Contracts for USO, including in connection with rolls and rebalances of its portfolio. RBC also advised USO at that time, that, going forward, it may only purchase additional Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts and other Oil Futures Contracts through RBC for rolls and rebalances of USO’s portfolio and not as investments for the proceeds of new Creation Baskets. The limits on positions imposed by RBC on holdings in USO’s portfolio applied regardless of whether the Oil Futures Contracts purchased would be within the accountability levels and position limits permitted by NYMEX and ICE. RBC has since informed USO that USO may resume repurchasing Oil Futures Contracts for investment of the proceeds from Creation Baskets.
Subsequent to RBC’s imposition of risk mitigation measures in 2020, USO entered into an agreements with RCG, MCM and MFUSA to become additional FCMs for USO. These FCMs have not precluded USO from purchasing, holding, or reinvesting the proceeds from the purchases of Creation Baskets in Oil Futures Contracts, including the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. However, limits could be imposed by any FCM that, coupled with the risk measures already taken by RBC, would continue to limit USO’s ability to have a substantial portion of its assets invested in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. USO cannot predict with any certainty when and whether RBC will remove its limitations on holding certain positions in Oil Future Contracts, or whether, or to what extent, any such limits may be imposed by any other FCM in the future. USO may enter into agreements with other FCMs and it cannot predict whether or when it will enter into such agreements.
A large number of USO shares were purchased during a relatively short period of time in March and April 2020.

These events significantly limited USO’s current ability to have a substantial portion of its assets invested in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and, during the Spring of 2020, in other Oil Futures Contracts. Accordingly, and because such factors have continued to evolve, USO has invested in other permitted Oil Futures Contracts and had to more frequently rebalance and adjust the types of holdings in its portfolio than it has in the past. In addition, the limitations imposed by the exchanges and FCMs, especially during the Spring of 2020 limited USO’s ability to invest in certain Oil Futures Contracts. As a result, USO was and will be limited in its ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts, including the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, and may be required to invest in other permitted investments including Other Oil-Related Interests, such as OTC swaps, and may hold larger amounts of Treasuries, cash and cash equivalents, which will further impair USO’s ability to meet its investment objective.

21

USO has had the ability to invest in Oil Futures Contracts beyond the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and in Other Oil-Related Investments but, until recently, USO’s need to exercise its discretion in making such investments has been limited. Certain circumstances, including market conditions, applicable regulatory requirements and risk mitigation measures imposed by FCMs, counterparties or other market participants, require USO to exercise greater discretion in investing than in the past. USO has established parameters for the decision-making regarding the permitted investments USO will hold and the intended order of priority it will consider in selecting investments to be held in USO’s portfolio as set forth and discussed in greater detail below. The application of the below parameters requires USO to exercise its discretion. If, due to regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures, market conditions, liquidity requirements or other factors, USO is not able to invest in accordance with such parameters and the intended order of priority, such methodology may change. The type and percentages of investments to be held by USO at the end of the monthly roll period as well as for any rebalances are published on USO's website at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Accordingly, for the foreseeable future, to address and comply with the market conditions, regulatory requirements or other factors that have influenced, and may continue to influence, its investment decisions, USO intends to buy or sell the following permitted investments taking into account the order, or waterfall, set forth below when USO increases or decreases either its portfolio overall or its holdings of particular investments:

1.The current or front month (“first month”) Oil Futures Contracts based on the price of the light, sweet crude oil known as West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) or, which are priced off of the oil futures contracts based on WTI as traded on the NYMEX including the Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts and the ICE WTI Contract (“WTI Oil Futures Contracts”); then
2.The first month, the next or following month (“second month”, with months thereafter being numerically designated, i.e., the third month, the fourth month, the fifth month, etc.) and the third month WTI Oil Futures Contracts; then
3.The first through the sixth month WTI Oil Futures Contracts, plus the next nearest June WTI Oil Futures Contracts or the next nearest December WTI Oil Futures Contracts that is not included in the first through sixth months; then
4.The first through the twelfth month WTI Oil Futures Contracts; then
5.The first through the twelfth month WTI Oil Futures Contracts plus the second through thirteenth month Oil Futures Contracts based on Brent Crude Oil traded on ICE Futures (“Brent Oil Futures Contracts”); then
6.The first through the twelfth month WTI Oil Futures Contracts Months plus the second through thirteenth month Brent Oil Futures Contracts plus the first through the twelfth month Oil Futures Contracts based on Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Oil Futures Contract traded on NYMEX (“USDL Oil Futures Contract”); then
7.The first through the twelfth month WTI Oil Futures Contracts plus the second through thirteenth month Brent Oil Futures Contracts plus the first through the twelfth month USDL Oil Futures Contracts plus the first through the twelfth month RBOB Gasoline Oil Futures Contracts (“Gasoline Futures Contract”); then
8.USO may also utilize the Oil Futures Contracts based on WTI, WTI Oil Futures Contacts or other types of crude oil traded on the Dubai, Singapore, and Houston exchanges, if and when these contracts reach sufficient scale and liquidity to meaningfully contribute to USO’s investment objective, in addition to the foregoing investments; then, finally,
9.Other Oil-Related Investments, in addition to the foregoing investments.

If, due to regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures, market conditions, liquidity requirements or other factors, USO is not able to invest in a particular month contract described above, then it will adjust the methodology incrementally beginning from the nearest month contract available to it that it is reasonable or feasible to hold in light of such factors.

If USO uses OTC swaps or other instruments, those OTC swaps or instruments would also provide exposure to one or more of the same above-described permitted investments in varying months or contracts. USO also anticipates that to the extent it invests in Oil Futures Contracts other than WTI Oil Futures Contacts) and Other Oil- Related Investments, it may enter into various non-exchange-traded derivative contracts to hedge the short-term price movements of such Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments against the current Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

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The progression from one stage of permitted investments described in the above waterfall to the next stage, including the specific target weights for the particular portfolio investments to be held by USO, will take into account, to the extent applicable, the relative levels of open interest, position limits, and other factors. The specific permitted investments and the identified target weights for such investments, consistent with progression from one stage of the above-described waterfall to the next stage, will be published on the website the day before the start of (i) any monthly roll/rebalance period for the end of such roll/rebalance period, and (ii) any rebalancing to be done outside of the monthly roll period due to market conditions, regulatory requirements or other factors described herein. In extreme circumstances, changes may need to be made intraday. In such circumstances, the changes will be published on the website at the end of the day. USO will attempt to execute rebalances required over several days to minimize market impact. However, it may be necessary to execute these risk measures rapidly and with minimal notice. Published portfolio changes will be implemented by USO over the course of the roll/rebalance period as indicated on the website or over the course of another day or period with respect to a particular change outside of the roll.

USO will progress through the stages of the above-described waterfall of permitted investments as it approaches regulatory or other limits or as necessary to address market conditions, or other factors, including additional investments in USO, requiring consideration of particular levels of the waterfall. Generally, USO will invest in each stage of the waterfall in the order described above. However, USO, in its sole discretion, may proceed to invest in a further stage of the waterfall (i.e., skipping over a particular stage) if it determines it may exceed position limits in the immediately following stage of the above waterfall within the next month or due to other regulatory requirements, risk mitigation measures, market conditions, liquidity requirements or other factors.

The investment intention announced by USO could change as a result of any or all of the following: evolving market conditions, a change in regulator accountability levels and position limits imposed on USO with respect to its investment in Oil Futures Contracts, additional or different risk mitigation measures taken by market participants, generally, including USO, with respect to USO acquiring additional Oil Futures contracts, or USO selling additional shares USO’s ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract could be limited by any of these occurrences. In addition, while determining the appropriate investments for USO’s portfolio in accordance with its current intention, or to address the foregoing changes in market conditions, regulatory requirements or risk mitigation measures, USO may need to hold significant portions of its portfolio in cash beyond what it has historically held in order to satisfy potential margin requirements.

USCF may not be able to fully invest USO’s assets in Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts having an aggregate notional amount exactly equal to USO’s NAV. For example, as standardized contracts, the Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts are for a specified amount of a particular commodity, and USO’s NAV and the proceeds from the sale of a Creation Basket are unlikely to be an exact multiple of the amounts of those contracts. As a result, in such circumstances, USO may be better able to achieve the exact amount of exposure to changes in price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract through the use of Other Oil-Related Investments, such as OTC contracts (e.g., swaps) that have better correlation with changes in price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

USCF does not anticipate letting USO’s Oil Futures Contracts expire and taking delivery of the underlying commodity. Instead, USCF will close existing positions, e.g., when it changes the Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts or Other Oil-Related Investments or it otherwise determines it would be appropriate to do so and reinvests the proceeds in new Oil Futures Contracts or Other Oil-Related Investments. Positions may also be closed out to meet orders for Redemption Baskets and in such case proceeds for such baskets will not be reinvested.

While it is USO’s expectation that at some point in the future it will be able to return to primarily investing in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, there can be no guarantee of when, if ever, that will occur. In addition, because of the limitations imposed on USO, for example, by its regulators and its FCMs, USO may be limited in investing in other Oil futures Contracts in addition to the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. Limitations on USO may negatively impact the ability of USO (i) to reallocate its investments to more favorably meet its investment objective or (ii) in connection with the purchase of Creation Baskets, to invest the proceeds of such purchases in Oil Futures Contracts. As a result, investors in USO should expect USO’s ability to invest in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and other Oil Futures Contracts will continue to be limited and USO may be required to invest in Other Oil-Related Interests. As a result, there may be continued wider deviations between the performance of USO’s investments and the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, than prior to the Spring of 2020, and that 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 typically had prior to Spring of 2020. The inability to closely track the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract and, as described in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q, the changes in its portfolio of investments and the impact of higher levels of contango, will impact the performance of USO and the value of its shares.

23

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 announced investment intentions, and any changes thereto, will take into account the need for USO to make permitted investments that also allow it 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 may occur on short notice if they occur other than during a roll or rebalance period.

Regulatory Disclosure

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 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 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 accountability level. USCF received letters from the CME on behalf of the NYMEX Market Regulation Department on April 16, 2020 (the “April 16 CME Letter”) and on April 23, 2020 (the “April 23 CME Letter”, and together with the April 16 CME Letter, the “CME Letters”). The CME Letters ordered USCF, USO and the Related Public Funds not to exceed accountability levels in specified light, sweet crude oil futures contracts and not to assume any positions in the specified light, sweet crude oil futures contract in excess of the exchange established position limits. The accountability levels and position limits set forth in the April 23 CME Letter superseded the April 16 CME Letter. The April 23 CME Letter ordered USCF, USO and the Related Public Funds not to exceed accountability levels in excess of 10,000 futures contracts in the light, sweet crude oil futures contract for June 2020. While these limits no longer apply, NYMEX’s current accountability levels for any one month in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract is 10,000 contracts, and an accountability level for all months of 20,000 net futures contracts for light sweet crude oil, do apply. As of September 30, 2021, USO held 35,456 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 nine months ended September 30, 2021, including when it held a maximum of 73,956 Crude Oil Futures CL contracts, on the NYMEX, exceeding the “any” month accountability limit.

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. Commencing with the monthly roll that occurred in May 2020, USO’s positions in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil Related Investments roll over a ten-day period, whereas previously USO’s positions would roll over a four-day period. As of May 1, 2020, the type and percentages of investments to be held by USO at the end of the monthly roll period as well as going forward, including for any rebalances, is published on its website www.uscfinvestments.com.

24

For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, USO did not exceed any position limits imposed by the NYMEX and ICE Futures. The April 23 CME Letter, discussed above, ordered USCF, USO and the Related Public Funds not to assume a position in the light, sweet crude oil futures contract for June 2020 in excess of 15,000 long futures contracts, for July 2020 in 78,000 long futures contracts, for August 2020 in 50,000 long futures contracts, for September 2020 in 35,000 long futures contracts. The foregoing accountability levels and position limits are subject to change. Due to evolving market conditions, a change in regulator accountability levels and position limits imposed on USO with respect to its investment in Oil Futures Contracts as discussed in the CME Letters, remaining within relevant accountability levels and position limits, and additional or different risk mitigation measures taken by USO’s FCM 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.

The regulation of commodity interest trading in the United States and other countries is an evolving area of the law. 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”), the CFTC, the 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” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

Futures Contracts and Position Limits

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.

On October 15, 2020, the CFTC approved the Position Limits Rule.  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.  The Position Limits Rule sets position limits for the spot month and non-spot month; however, the non-spot month limits only apply in respect of the agricultural futures contracts that are currently subject to position limits under Part 150 of the CFTC regulations (the “legacy agricultural contracts”).  With respect to regulatory oversight, the Position Limits Rule delegates authority to designated contract markets and swap execution facilities to oversee certain aspects of the position limits framework.  In addition to setting the federal position limits, the Position Limits Rule also provides several exemptions from such position limits, including an expanded list of enumerated bona fide hedge exemptions and certain spread exemptions.  Further, the Position Limits Rule sets forth two alternative processes for pursuing an exemption for non-enumerated hedge positions. Other than for the legacy agricultural contracts, compliance with the limits imposed by the Position Limits Rule will not be required until 2022, except that economically equivalent swaps need not comply with the Position Limits Rule until 2023.

The Benchmark Futures Contract will be subject to position limits under the Position Limits Rule, and USO’s trading does not qualify as an enumerated bona fide hedge.  Accordingly, the Position Limits Rule could negatively impact the ability of USO to meet its investment objective by inhibiting USCF’s ability to effectively invest the proceeds from sales of Creation Baskets of USO in particular amounts and types of its permitted investments.

Until such time as compliance with the Position Limits Rule is required, the regulatory architecture in effect prior to the adoption of the Position Limit Rules will govern transactions in commodities and related derivatives. Under that system, the CFTC enforces federal limits on speculation in the nine legacy agricultural contracts, while futures exchanges establish and enforce position limits and accountability levels for other agricultural products and certain energy products (e.g., oil and natural gas).

Under existing CFTC regulations and the Position Limits Rule, for the purpose of position limits, a market participant is generally required, subject to certain narrow exceptions, to aggregate all positions for which that participant controls the trading decisions with all positions for which that participant has a 10 percent or greater ownership interest in an account or position, as well as the positions of two or more persons acting pursuant to an express or implied agreement or understanding with that market participant (the “Aggregation Rules”).

OTC Swaps

If USO engages in OTC swaps, the following may apply.

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Margin Requirements

In October 2015, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the FDIC, the Farm Credit Administration, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (each an “Agency” and, collectively, the “Agencies”) jointly adopted final rules to establish minimum margin and capital requirements for registered swap dealers, major swap participants, security-based swap dealers, and major security-based swap participants (“Swap Entities”) that are subject to the jurisdiction of one of the Agencies (such entities, “Covered Swap Entities”, and the joint final rules, the “Final Margin Rules”).

The Final Margin Rules will subject non-cleared swaps and non-cleared security-based swaps between Covered Swap Entities and Swap Entities, and between Covered Swap Entities and financial end users that 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 Final Margin Rules), to a mandatory two-way minimum initial margin requirement. The minimum amount of the initial margin required to be posted or collected would be either the amount calculated by the Covered Swap Entity using a standardized schedule set forth as an appendix to the Final Margin Rules, which provides the gross initial margin (as a percentage of total notional exposure) for certain asset classes, or an internal margin model of the Covered Swap Entity conforming to the requirements of the Final Margin Rules that is approved by the Agency having jurisdiction over the particular Covered Swap Entity. The Final Margin Rules specify the types of collateral that may be posted or collected as initial margin for non-cleared swaps and non-cleared security-based swaps with financial end users (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.

The Final Margin Rules require minimum variation margin to be exchanged daily for non-cleared swaps and non-cleared security-based swaps between Covered Swap Entities and Swap Entities and between Covered Swap Entities and all financial end-users (without regard to the swaps exposure of the particular financial end-user). The minimum variation margin amount is the daily mark-to-market change in the value of the swap to the Covered Swap Entity, taking into account variation margin previously posted or collected. For non-cleared swaps and security-based swaps between Covered Swap Entities and financial end-users, variation margin may be posted or collected in cash or non-cash collateral that is considered eligible for initial margin purposes. Variation margin is not subject to segregation with an independent, third-party custodian, and may, if permitted by contract, be rehypothecated.

The initial margin requirements of the Final Margin Rules are being phased in over time, and the variation margin requirements of the Final Margin Rules are currently in effect. USO is not a Covered Swap Entity under the Final Margin Rules, but it is a financial end-user. Accordingly, USO is currently subject to the variation margin requirements of the Final Margin Rules. However, USO does not have material swaps exposure and, accordingly, USO will not be subject to the initial margin requirements of the Final Margin Rules.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) required the CFTC and the SEC to adopt their own margin rules to apply to a limited number of registered swap dealers, security-based swap dealers, major swap participants, and major security-based swap participants that are not subject to the jurisdiction of one of the Agencies. On December 16, 2015 the CFTC finalized its margin rules, which are substantially the same as the Final Margin Rules and have the same implementation timeline. The SEC adopted margin rules for security-based swap dealers and major security-based swap participants on June 21, 2019. The SEC’s margin rules are generally aligned with the Final Margin Rules and the CFTC’s margin rules, but they differ in a few key respects relating to timing for compliance and the manner in which initial margin must be segregated. USO does not currently engage in security-based swap transactions and, therefore, the SEC’s margin rules are not expected to apply to USO.

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 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 FCM.

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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.

Money Market Funds

The SEC adopted amendments to Rule 2a-7 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”) which became effective in 2016, to reform money market funds (“MMFs”). While the rule applies only to MMFs, it may indirectly affect institutional investors such as USO. A portion of USO’s assets that are not used for margin or collateral in the Futures Contracts currently are invested in government MMFs. USO does not hold any non-government MMFs and does not anticipate investing in any non-government MMFs. However, if USO invests in other types of MMFs besides government MMFs in the future, USO could be negatively impacted by investing in an MMF that does not maintain a stable $1.00 NAV or that has the potential to impose redemption fees and gates (temporary suspension of redemptions).

Although such government MMFs 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 MMF. An investment in a government MMF is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, referred to herein as the FDIC, or any other government agency. The share price of a government MMF can fall below the $1.00 share price. USO cannot rely on or expect a government MMF’s adviser or its affiliates to enter into support agreements or take other actions to maintain the government MMF’s $1.00 share price. The credit quality of a government MMF’s holdings can change rapidly in certain markets, and the default of a single holding could have an adverse impact on the government MMF’s share price. Due to fluctuations in interest rates, the market value of securities held by a government MMF may vary. A government MMF’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 nine months ended September 30, 2021. The price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract started the period at $48.52 per barrel. The high of the period was on September 27, 2021 when the price reached $75.45 per barrel. The low of the period was on January 4, 2021 when the price dropped to $47.62 per barrel. The period ended with the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract at $75.03 per barrel, an increase of approximately 54.64% over the period. USO’s per share NAV began the period at $33.07 and ended the period at $52.65 on September 30, 2021, an increase of approximately 59.21% over the period. The Benchmark Oil Futures Contract prices listed above began with the February 2021 contracts and ended with the November 2021 contracts. The increase of approximately 54.64% on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract listed above is a hypothetical return only and could not actually be achieved 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 period to the end of the period, 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.”

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During the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the crude oil futures market alternated between conditions of contango and backwardation. On days when the market was in contango the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract is lower than the price of the next month crude Oil Futures Contract, or contracts further away from expiration. On days when the market is in backwardation, the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract is 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. On April 10, 2006, USO listed its shares on the AMEX under the ticker symbol “USO.” On that day, USO established its initial offering price at $67.39 per share and issued 200,000 shares to the initial Authorized Participant, KV Execution Services, LLC, in exchange for $13,479,000 in cash. As a result of the acquisition of the AMEX by NYSE Euronext, USO’s shares ceased trading on the AMEX and commenced trading on the NYSE Arca on November 25, 2008.

As of September 30, 2021, USO had issued 4,659,200,000 shares, 49,623,603 of which were outstanding. As of September 30, 2021, there were 967,800,000 shares registered but not yet issued. USO has registered 5,627,000,000 shares since inception.  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 unaudited condensed financial statements have been adjusted to reflect the effect of the reverse share split on a retroactive basis.

More shares may have been issued by USO than are outstanding due to the redemption of shares. Unlike funds that are registered under the 1940 Act, shares that have been redeemed by USO cannot be resold by USO. As a result, USO contemplates that additional offerings of its shares will be registered with the SEC in the future in anticipation of additional issuances and redemptions.

As of September 30, 2021, USO had the following Authorized Participants: ABN Amro, BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Citadel Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, 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.

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For the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2021 Compared to the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2020

    

Nine months

    

Nine months

    

ended

ended

September 30, 2021

September 30, 2020

Average daily total net assets

$

3,092,351,710

$

3,320,258,958

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

$

1,023,584

$

9,956,998

Annualized yield based on average daily total net assets

 

0.04

%

 

0.40

%

Management fee

$

10,408,092

$

11,185,461

Total fees and other expenses excluding management fees

$

8,433,722

$

10,238,224

Fees and expenses related to the registration or offering of additional shares

$

1,260,041

$

2,237,939

Total commissions accrued to brokers

$

901,518

$

5,462,795

Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets

 

0.04

%

 

0.22

%

Commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

$

700,707

$

4,508,991

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

 

77.73

%

 

82.54

%

Commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

$

200,811

$

953,804

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

 

22.27

%

 

17.46

%

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 lower during the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2020. As a result, the amount of income earned by USO as a percentage of average daily total net assets was lower during the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2020. To the degree that the aggregate yield is lower, the net expense ratio, inclusive of income, will be higher.

The decrease in total fees and other expenses excluding management fees for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2020, was due primarily to a decrease in total commissions accrued to brokers and directors’ fees and insurance.

The decrease in total commissions accrued to brokers for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2020, was due primarily to a lower number of Oil Futures Contracts being held and traded.

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For the Three Months Ended September 30, 2021 Compared to the Three Months Ended September 30, 2020

Three months

Three months

 ended  

 ended

    

September 30, 2021

    

September 30, 2020

Average daily total net assets

$

2,770,654,322

$

4,326,165,807

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

$

308,674

$

1,404,100

Annualized yield based on average daily total net assets

 

0.04

%

 

0.13

%

Management fee

$

3,142,605

$

4,893,531

Total fees and other expenses excluding management fees

$

2,485,971

$

2,853,075

Fees and expenses related to the registration or offering of additional shares

$

$

759,225

Total commissions accrued to brokers

$

245,933

$

783,270

Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets

 

0.04

%

 

0.07

%

Commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

$

188,825

$

645,614

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing

 

76.78

%

 

82.43

%

Commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

$

57,108

$

137,656

Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity

 

23.22

%

 

17.57

%

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 lower during the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2020. As a result, the amount of income earned by USO as a percentage of average daily total net assets was lower during the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2020.

The decrease in total fees and other expenses excluding management fees for the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2020, was due primarily to a decrease in total commissions accrued to brokers and expenses related to the decrease in total net assets.

The decrease in total commissions accrued to brokers for the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2020, was due primarily to a lower number of Oil Futures Contracts being held and traded.

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.

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For the 30-valuation days ended September 30, 2021, the average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was 0.497%, while the average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was 0.487%. The average daily difference was (0.010)% (or (1.0) 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 September 30, 2021, the average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was (0.009)%, while the average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was (0.026)%. The average daily difference was (0.017)% (or (1.7) 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 graphs demonstrate the correlation between the changes in USO’s NAV and the changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. The first graph exhibits the daily changes in the last 30 valuation days ended September 30, 2021. The second graph measures monthly changes since September 30, 2016 through September 30, 2021.

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Chart, box and whisker chart

Description automatically generated

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*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Chart, waterfall chart

Description automatically generated

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 nine months ended September 30, 2021, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was 59.21%. This is based on an initial per share NAV of $33.07 as of December 31, 2020 and an ending per share NAV as of September 30, 2021 of $52.65. 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 $52.31 as of September 30, 2021, for a total return over the relevant time period of 58.18%. The difference between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of 59.21% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of 58.18% was a tracking difference over the time period of 1.03%, 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, tended to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly lower or higher than daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

By comparison, for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was (72.14)% . This is based on an initial per share NAV of $102.27* as of December 31, 2019 and an ending per share NAV as of September 30, 2020 of $28.49. 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 $49.27 as of September 30, 2020, for a total return over the relevant time period of (51.82)%. The difference between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of (72.14)% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of (51.82)% was a difference over the time period of (20.32)%, which is to say that USO’s actual total return underperformed its benchmark. 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, tended to cause daily changes in the per share NAV of USO to track slightly lower or higher than daily changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

* Adjusted to give effect to the reverse share split of 1-for-8 executed on April 28, 2020.

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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 Contracts. The foregoing impacted the performance of USO and made it difficult for USO to meet its investment objective, which is for the daily percentage changes in the NAV per share to reflect the daily percentage changes of the spot price of light, sweet crude oil, as measured by the daily percentage changes in the price of Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses, with the same level of success as before in meeting its investment objective.

While it is USO’s expectation that at some point in the future it will return to primarily investing in the Benchmark Futures Contract and related ICE Futures contracts or other similar futures contracts of the same tenor based on light, sweet crude oil, there can be no guarantee of when, if ever, that will occur.  As a result, investors in USO should expect that there will be continued wider deviations between the performance of USO’s investments and the Benchmark Futures Contract than prior to the Spring of 2020, and changes in USO’s share price may not be able to track changes in the price of Benchmark Futures Contract within as narrow a percentage change difference for any period of successive valuation days as it typically has prior to the Spring of 2020. That said, in the third quarter of 2021 the average daily difference between the return of USO’s NAV and the Benchmark Futures Contract was 0.023% (or 2.3 basis points).

There are three factors that typically have impacted or are most likely to impact USO’s ability to accurately 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 nine months ended September 30, 2021, 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.

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 nine months ended September 30, 2021. 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 near historical lows. It is anticipated that fees and expenses paid by USO may continue to be higher than interest earned by USO. As such, USCF anticipates that USO could possibly underperform its benchmark so long as interest earned is lower 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 nine months ended September 30, 2021, USO did not hold any 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 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.

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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.

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 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.

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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 in contango for a period of several years. During parts of 2009, the level of contango was unusually steep as a combination of slack U.S. and global demand for crude oil and issues involving the physical transportation and storage of crude oil at Cushing, Oklahoma, the primary pricing point for oil traded in the U.S., led to unusually high inventories of crude oil. A combination of improved transportation and storage capacity, along with growing demand for crude oil globally, moderated the inventory build-up and led to reduced levels of contango by 2011. However, at the end of November 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 and disputes among oil producing nations regarding limits on oil production levels.  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 oil markets experienced in the spring of 2020. Likewise, contango returned to moderate levels in May 2020. During the nine months ended September 30, 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.

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 FCM risk mitigation measures that were imposed on USO, in 2020, USO invested in Oil Futures Contracts in months other than the Benchmark Oil Futures Contracts and was limited in its investments in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.  In order to continue to meet its investment objective, USO has chosen from its permitted investments types and amounts of Oil Futures Contracts allowed by its current regulatory requirements and under the risk mitigation efforts of its FCMs and other market participants, including those Oil Futures Contracts with expiration dates for months later than that of the Benchmark Futures Contract. Continued holdings in these later month contracts may allow USO to experience lesser effects from contango than would be the case if USO’s holdings were primarily in Oil Futures Contracts in the first month or second month. Likewise, continued holdings in these later month contracts also could cause USO to experience lesser effects from backwardation than would be the case if USO’s holdings were primarily in Oil Futures Contracts in the first month or second month. While USO continues to invest in later month contracts, there is no assurance that this will continue and if USO returns to primarily investing in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract it will be subject to greater effects of contango and backwardation.

Crude Oil Market. During the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the price of the front month WTI crude oil futures contract traded in a range between $47.62 to $75.45. Prices increased 54.64% from December 31, 2020 through September 30, 2021 finishing the quarter at $75.03.

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.

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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%.)

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.

More recently, 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 $48.52 per barrel on December 31, 2020. Prices continued rising during the first nine months of 2021 to a high of $75.45 before finishing the third quarter at $75.03. WTI crude oil inventories in the United States fell from a modern record of 541 mb in June 2020 to 419 mb by the end of the third quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, crude oil production in the United States fell below 10 mbd during the second half of 2020 after peaking at over 13 mbd in March of 2020. Production reached 11.5 mbd by August 31, 2021, before dropping back to a low of 10 mbd due to disruptions from Hurricane Ida.  U.S. production climbed to 11.1 mbd by September 30, 2021. Similarly, OPEC production declined from over 30 mbd pre-COVID-19 to a pandemic low of 22.5 mbd before gradually recovering to 27.5 mbd by September 30, 2021. It is uncertain how quickly OPEC, Russia, or the U.S. will return to pre-pandemic 2019 production levels. Similarly, despite an ongoing demand recovery for crude oil, it is difficult to forecast when demand will return to pre-pandemic levels. While some market participants expect the rise in crude oil prices to continue, several factors could impact the rise in prices. First, supply from both the U.S. and OPEC could continue to rebound. Second, the majority of the demand recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is now in the rearview mirror. On the other hand, inflation could continue to increase, which would likely be a catalyst for ongoing crude oil price increases. The full impact of the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic still has not been determined. At this stage, it is impossible to predict whether crude oil prices will rise, fall, or remain stable. High risk remains in the oil markets until demand and supply are fully balanced and the full impact of past, current, and future COVID-19 pandemic mitigation measures is known.

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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 September 30, 2011 and September 30, 2021, 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. It can be seen that over this particular time period, the movement of crude oil on a monthly basis exhibited strong correlation with unleaded gasoline and diesel-heating oil, moderate correlation with the movements of large cap U.S. equities and global equities, no correlation with natural gas, and moderate negative correlation with U.S. government bonds.

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

Crude Oil - 10 Years