Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
United States Oil Fund
10-Q 2019-03-31 Quarter: 2019-03-31
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-06-25 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-05-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-04-29 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-03-26 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-12-21 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-11-29 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-10-30 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-09-27 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-08-27 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-07-30 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-06-21 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-05-23 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-04-27 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-29 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-28 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-30 Regulation FD, Exhibits
CCL Carnival 28,420
NAV Navistar 3,100
MC Moelis 1,690
RECN Resources Connection 519
TOCA Tocagen 233
PER Sandridge Permian Trust 114
SES Synthesis Energy Systems 5
GNTW Globe Net Wireless 0
LEVB Level Brands 0
HDHC High Desert Holding 0
USO 2019-03-31
Part I. Financial Information
Item 1. Condensed Financial Statements.
Note 1 &Mdash; Organization and Business
Note 2 &Mdash; Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Note 3 &Mdash; Fees Paid By The Fund and Related Party Transactions
Note 4 &Mdash; Contracts and Agreements
Note 5 &Mdash; Financial Instruments, Off-Balance Sheet Risks and Contingencies
Note 6 &Mdash; Financial Highlights
Note 7 &Mdash; Fair Value of Financial Instruments
Note 8 &Mdash; Subsequent Events
Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Item 4. Controls and Procedures.
Part II. Other Information
Item 1. Legal Proceedings.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds.
Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Item 5. Other Information.
Item 6. Exhibits.
EX-31.1 tv520051_ex31-1.htm
EX-31.2 tv520051_ex31-2.htm
EX-32.1 tv520051_ex32-1.htm
EX-32.2 tv520051_ex32-2.htm

United States Oil Fund Earnings 2019-03-31

USO 10Q Quarterly Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-Q 1 tv520051_10q.htm 10-Q

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-Q

 

xQuarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2019.

 

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)

 

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. x 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). x 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 x   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 to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ¨

 

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

 

Securities 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.

  

The registrant had 119,100,000 outstanding shares as of May 6, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED STATES OIL FUND, LP

 

Table of Contents

 

  Page
   
Part I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION  
   
Item 1. Condensed Financial Statements. 1
   
Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. 15
   
Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk. 32
   
Item 4. Controls and Procedures. 33
   
Part II. OTHER INFORMATION  
   
Item 1. Legal Proceedings. 33
   
Item 1A. Risk Factors. 33
   
Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds. 33
   
Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities. 34
   
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures. 34
   
Item 5. Other Information. 34
   
Item 6. Exhibits. 34

 

 

 

 

Part I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

Item 1. Condensed Financial Statements.

 

Index to Condensed Financial Statements

 

Documents   Page
Condensed Statements of Financial Condition at March 31, 2019 (Unaudited) and December 31, 2018   2
     
Condensed Schedule of Investments (Unaudited) at March 31, 2019   3
     
Condensed Statements of Operations (Unaudited) for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018   4
     
Condensed Statement of Changes in Partners’ Capital (Unaudited) for the three months ended March 31, 2019   5
     
Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited) for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018   6
     
Notes to Condensed Financial Statements for the period ended March 31, 2019 (Unaudited)   7

 

 1 

 

 

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Financial Condition

At March 31, 2019 (Unaudited) and December 31, 2018

 

   March 31, 2019   December 31, 2018 
Assets          
Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $1,363,074,393 and $1,223,159,803, respectively)
(Notes 2 and 5)
  $1,363,074,393   $1,223,159,803 
Equity in trading accounts:          
Cash and cash equivalents (at cost $169,466,759 and $433,776,173, respectively)   169,466,759    433,776,173 
Unrealized gain (loss) on open commodity futures contracts   83,020,700    (194,392,958)
Receivable for shares sold       22,022,450 
Dividends receivable   508,059    144,034 
Interest receivable   2,318    29,030 
Prepaid registration fees   451,231    579,117 
ETF transaction fees receivable       2,000 
           
Total assets  $1,616,523,460   $1,485,319,649 
           
Liabilities and Partners' Capital          
Payable due to Broker  $61,251,648   $ 
Payable for shares redeemed       14,377,830 
General Partner management fees payable (Note 3)   456,111    583,978 
Professional fees payable   933,788    1,741,281 
Brokerage commissions payable   89,961    89,961 
Directors' fees and insurance payable   45,727    11,249 
License fees payable   51,389    53,638 
           
Total liabilities   62,828,624    16,857,937 
           
Commitments and Contingencies (Notes 3, 4 and 5)          
           
Partners' Capital          
General Partner        
Limited Partners   1,553,694,836    1,468,461,712 
Total Partners' Capital   1,553,694,836    1,468,461,712 
           
Total liabilities and partners' capital  $1,616,523,460   $1,485,319,649 
           
Limited Partners' shares outstanding   124,300,000    153,200,000 
Net asset value per share  $12.50   $9.59 
Market value per share  $12.50   $9.66 

 

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

 

 2 

 

 

United States Oil Fund, LP
Condensed Schedule of Investments (Unaudited)
At March 31, 2019

 

   Notional
Amount
   Number of
Contracts
   Value/
Unrealized Gain
(Loss) on Open
Commodity
Contracts
   % of
Partners'
Capital
 
Open Futures Contracts - Long    
United States Contracts                    
NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL May 2019 contracts, expiring April 2019*  $1,470,756,340    25,836   $83,020,700    5.34 

 

   Principal
Amount
   Market
Value
     
Cash Equivalents               
United States Treasury Obligations               
U.S. Treasury Bills:               
2.37%, 4/04/2019  $50,000,000   $49,990,229    3.22 
2.41%, 4/11/2019   60,000,000    59,960,250    3.86 
2.42%, 4/18/2019   50,000,000    49,943,451    3.21 
2.43%, 4/25/2019   50,000,000    49,920,000    3.21 
2.46%, 5/02/2019   60,000,000    59,874,708    3.85 
2.47%, 5/09/2019   50,000,000    49,871,486    3.21 
2.48%, 5/16/2019   50,000,000    49,846,875    3.21 
2.50%, 5/23/2019   50,000,000    49,821,972    3.21 
2.49%, 5/30/2019   50,000,000    49,798,622    3.21 
2.51%, 6/06/2019   50,000,000    49,773,125    3.20 
2.51%, 6/13/2019   50,000,000    49,748,555    3.20 
2.49%, 6/20/2019   50,000,000    49,726,667    3.20 
2.49%, 6/27/2019   20,000,000    19,881,100    1.28 
2.47%, 7/05/2019   25,000,000    24,839,358    1.60 
2.48%, 7/11/2019   50,000,000    49,655,969    3.20 
2.47%, 7/18/2019   50,000,000    49,634,000    3.20 
2.47%, 7/25/2019   60,000,000    59,532,333    3.83 
2.48%, 8/01/2019   50,000,000    49,584,862    3.19 
2.46%, 8/08/2019   50,000,000    49,564,625    3.19 
2.47%, 8/15/2019   70,000,000    69,354,753    4.46 
2.47%, 8/22/2019   50,000,000    49,516,382    3.19 
2.48%, 8/29/2019   50,000,000    49,489,584    3.19 
2.48%, 9/05/2019   50,000,000    49,465,764    3.18 
2.48%, 9/12/2019   50,000,000    49,443,083    3.18 
2.46%, 9/19/2019   50,000,000    49,422,875    3.18 
2.41%, 9/26/2019   50,000,000    49,410,375    3.18 
Total Treasury Obligations        1,287,071,003    82.84 
                
United States - Money Market Funds               
Fidelity Investments Money Market Funds - Government Portfolio   58,500,000    58,500,000    3.76 
Goldman Sachs Financial Square Funds - Government Fund - Class FS   100,000,000    100,000,000    6.44 
Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds - Government Portfolio   85,000,000    85,000,000    5.47 
Total Money Market Funds        243,500,000    15.67 
Total Cash Equivalents       $1,530,571,003    98.51 

 

* Collateral amounted to $169,466,759 on open futures contracts.

 

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

 

 3 

 

 

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Operations (Unaudited)

For the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018

 

   Three months ended
March 31, 2019
   Three months ended
March 31, 2018
 
Income          
Gain (loss) on trading of commodity futures contracts:          
Realized gain (loss) on closed futures contracts  $137,007,682   $183,289,170 
Change in unrealized gain (loss) on open futures contracts   277,413,658    (15,464,070)
Dividend income   1,706,643    283,406 
Interest income*   7,867,450    6,294,976 
ETF transaction fees   74,000    115,000 
           
Total income (loss)   424,069,433    174,518,482 
           
Expenses          
General Partner management fees (Note 3)   1,803,427    2,187,506 
Professional fees   400,683    508,685 
Brokerage commissions   697,934    694,480 
Directors' fees and insurance   81,721    75,556 
License fees   60,114    72,917 
Registration fees   127,886    81,464 
           
Total expenses   3,171,765    3,620,608 
           
Net income (loss)  $420,897,668   $170,897,874 
Net income (loss) per limited partnership share  $2.91   $1.02 
Net income (loss) per weighted average limited partnership share  $2.96   $1.09 
Weighted average limited partnership shares outstanding   142,250,000    156,170,000 

 

* 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 months ended March 31, 2019

 

   General Partner   Limited Partners   Total 
             
Balances, at December 31, 2018  $   $1,468,461,712   $1,468,461,712 
Addition of 59,700,000 partnership shares       669,584,243    669,584,243 
Redemption of 88,600,000 partnership shares       (1,005,248,787)   (1,005,248,787)
Net income (loss)       420,897,668    420,897,668 
                
Balances, at March 31, 2019  $   $1,553,694,836   $1,553,694,836 
                
Net Asset Value Per Share:               
At December 31, 2018            $9.59 
At March 31, 2019            $12.50 

 

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

 

 5 

 

 

United States Oil Fund, LP

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

For the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018

 

   Three months ended
March 31, 2019
   Three months ended
March 31, 2018
 
Cash Flows from Operating Activities:          
Net income (loss)  $420,897,668   $170,897,874 
Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:          
Unrealized (gain) loss on open futures contracts   (277,413,658)   15,464,070 
(Increase) decrease in dividends receivable   (364,025)   65,444 
(Increase) decrease in interest receivable   26,712    (43,893)
(Increase) decrease in prepaid registration fees   127,886    81,465 
(Increase) decrease in ETF transaction fees receivable   2,000     
Increase (decrease) in payable due to Broker   61,251,648    (18,781,820)
Increase (decrease) in General Partner management fees payable   (127,867)   (215,267)
Increase (decrease) in professional fees payable   (807,493)   (209,044)
Increase (decrease) in brokerage commissions payable       (50,000)
Increase (decrease) in directors' fees and insurance payable   34,478    25,899 
Increase (decrease) in license fees payable   (2,249)   (10,176)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities   203,625,100    167,224,552 
           
Cash Flows from Financing Activities:          
Addition of partnership shares   691,606,693    1,082,884,417 
Redemption of partnership shares   (1,019,626,617)   (1,502,559,797)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities   (328,019,924)   (419,675,380)
           
Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Cash Equivalents   (124,394,824)   (252,450,828)
           
Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts, beginning of period   1,656,935,976    1,991,256,955 
Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts, end of period  $1,532,541,152   $1,738,806,127 
           
Components of Cash and Cash Equivalents:          
Cash and Cash Equivalents  $1,363,074,393   $1,594,388,740 
Equity in Trading Accounts:          
Cash and Cash Equivalents   169,466,759    144,417,387 
Total Cash, Cash Equivalents and Equity in Trading Accounts  $1,532,541,152   $1,738,806,127 

 

See accompanying notes to condensed financial statements.

 

 6 

 

 

United States Oil Fund, LP

Notes to Condensed Financial Statements

For the period ended March 31, 2019 (Unaudited)

 

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 shares (“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”). 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 futures contract for light, sweet crude oil 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 (the “Benchmark Oil Futures Contract”), plus interest earned on USO’s collateral holdings, less USO’s expenses.

 

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.

 

United States Commodity Funds LLC (“USCF”), the general partner of USO, believes that it is not practical to manage the portfolio to achieve such an investment goal 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 March 31, 2019, USO held 25,836 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 responsible for the management of USO. USCF is a member of the National Futures Association (the “NFA”) and became registered as a commodity pool operator with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) effective December 1, 2005 and a swaps firm on August 8, 2013.

 

USCF is also the general partner of the United States Natural Gas Fund, LP (“UNG”), the United States 12 Month Oil Fund, LP (“USL”) 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 previously served as the general partner for the United States Short Oil Fund, LP (“DNO”) and the United States Diesel-Heating Oil Fund, LP (“UHN”), both of which were liquidated in 2018.

 

USCF is also the sponsor of the United States Commodity Index Funds Trust, 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 United States Agriculture Index Fund (“USAG”). USAG was liquidated in 2018. 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.

 

In addition, USCF is the sponsor of the USCF Funds Trust, a Delaware statutory trust, and each of its series, the United States 3x Oil Fund (“USOU”) and the United States 3x Short Oil Fund (“USOD”), which commenced operations on July 20, 2017.

 

All funds listed previously, other than USAG, DNO and UHN, 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.

 

 7 

 

 

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.

 

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 March 31, 2019, USO had registered a total of 3,127,000,000 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 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 and follows the accounting and reporting guidance in FASB Topic 946.

 

Revenue Recognition

 

Commodity futures contracts, 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 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 a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) 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 2015. The tax benefit recognized is measured as the largest amount of benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement. De-recognition of a tax benefit previously recognized results in USO recording a tax liability that reduces net assets. However, USO's conclusions regarding this policy may be subject to review and adjustment at a later date based on factors including, but not limited to, on-going analysis of and changes to tax laws, regulations and interpretations thereof. USO recognizes interest accrued related to unrecognized tax benefits and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax fees payable, if assessed. No interest expense or penalties have been recognized as of and for the period ended March 31, 2019.

 

 8 

 

 

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 transaction fee of $1,000 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.

 

Net Income (Loss) Per Share

 

Net income (loss) per share is the difference between the per share NAV at the beginning of each period and at the end of each period. The weighted average number of shares outstanding was computed for purposes of disclosing net income (loss) per weighted average share. The weighted average shares are equal to the number of shares outstanding at the end of the period, adjusted proportionately for shares added and redeemed based on the amount of time the shares were outstanding during such period. There were no shares held by USCF at March 31, 2019.

 

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.

 

 9 

 

 

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

 

USCF Management Fee

 

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

 

Ongoing Registration Fees and Other Offering Expenses

 

USO pays all costs and expenses associated with the ongoing registration of its shares subsequent to the initial offering. These costs include registration or other fees paid to regulatory agencies in connection with the offer and sale of shares, and all legal, accounting, printing and other expenses associated with such offer and sale. For the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, USO incurred $127,886 and $81,464, 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, 2019 are estimated to be a total of $338,200 for USO and, in the aggregate for USO and the Related Public Funds, $545,250.

 

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, CPER, USOU and USOD, pay a licensing fee that is equal to 0.015% on all net assets. During the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, USO incurred $60,114 and $72,917, 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 $1,600,000 for the year ending December 31, 2019. 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.

 

 10 

 

 

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. Agreements

 

USO is also party to a custodian agreement, dated March 13, 2006, as amended from time to time, with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (“BBH&Co.”) and USCF, whereby BBH&Co. holds investments on behalf of USO. USCF pays the fees of the custodian, which are determined by the parties from time to time. In addition, USO is party to an administrative agency agreement, dated March 13, 2006, as amended from time to time, with USCF and BBH&Co., whereby BBH&Co. acts as the administrative agent, transfer agent and registrar for USO. USCF also pays the fees of BBH&Co. for its services under such agreement and such fees are determined by the parties from time to time.

 

Currently, USCF pays BBH&Co. for its services, in the foregoing capacities, a minimum amount of $75,000 annually for its custody, fund accounting and fund administration services rendered to USO and each of the Related Public Funds, as well as a $20,000 annual fee for its transfer agency services. In addition, USCF pays BBH&Co. an asset-based charge of (a) 0.06% for the first $500 million of the Related Public Funds’ combined net assets, (b) 0.0465% for the Related Public Funds’ combined net assets greater than $500 million but less than $1 billion, and (c) 0.035% once the Related Public Funds’ combined net assets exceed $1 billion. The annual minimum amount will not apply if the asset-based charge for all accounts in the aggregate exceeds $75,000. USCF also pays BBH&Co. transaction fees ranging from $7 to $15 per transaction.

 

Brokerage and Futures Commission Merchant Agreements

 

On October 8, 2013, USO entered into a brokerage agreement with RBC Capital Markets LLC (“RBC”) to serve as USO's FCM effective October 10, 2013. The agreement with RBC requires it 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 RBC for USO's account. In accordance with the agreement, RBC charges USO 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”).

 

   For the three months
ended
March 31, 2019
   For the three months
ended
March 31, 2018
 
Total commissions accrued to brokers  $697,934   $694,480 
Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets   0.17%   0.14%
Commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing  $611,920   $575,146 
Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing   87.68%   82.82%
Commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity  $86,014   $119,334 
Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity   12.32%   17.18%

 

The increase in total commissions accrued to brokers for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018, was due primarily to a higher 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, CPER, USOU and USOD, 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.

 

 11 

 

 

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 and cleared 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.

 

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 an FCM to segregate all customer transactions and assets from the FCM’s proprietary activities.

 

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.

 

All of the futures contracts held by USO through March 31, 2019 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 an FCM are considered commingled with all other customer funds, subject to the FCM’s segregation requirements. In the event of an FCM’s insolvency, recovery may be limited to a pro rata share of segregated funds available. It is possible that the recovered amount could be less than the total of cash and other property deposited. The insolvency of an FCM could result in the complete loss of USO's assets posted with that FCM; however, the majority of USO's assets are held in investments in Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents with USO's custodian and would not be impacted by the insolvency of an FCM. The failure or insolvency of USO's custodian, however, could result in a substantial loss of USO's assets.

 

USCF invests a portion of USO's cash in money market funds that seek to maintain a stable per share NAV. USO is exposed to any risk of loss associated with an investment in such money market funds. As of March 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, USO held investments in money market funds in the amounts of $243,500,000 and $52,000,000, respectively. USO also holds cash deposits with its custodian. Pursuant to a written agreement with BBH&Co., uninvested overnight cash balances are swept to offshore branches of U.S. regulated and domiciled banks located in Toronto, Canada; London, United Kingdom; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas; which are subject to U.S. regulation and regulatory oversight. As of March 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, USO held cash deposits and investments in Treasuries in the amounts of $1,289,041,152 and $1,604,935,976, respectively, with the custodian and FCM. Some or all of these amounts may be subject to loss should USO's custodian and/or FCM 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. As both a buyer and a seller of options, USO pays or receives a premium at the outset and then bears the risk of unfavorable changes in the price of the contract underlying the option.

 

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

 

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

 

 12 

 

 

NOTE 6 — FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

 

The following table presents per share performance data and other supplemental financial data for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 for the shareholders. This information has been derived from information presented in the condensed financial statements.

 

  

For the three months ended

March 31, 2019

(Unaudited)

  

For the three months ended

March 31, 2018

(Unaudited)

 
Per Share Operating Performance:          
Net asset value, beginning of period  $9.59   $12.08 
Total income (loss)   2.93    1.04 
Total expenses   (0.02)   (0.02)
Net increase (decrease) in net asset value   2.91    1.02 
Net asset value, end of period  $12.50   $13.10 
           
Total Return   30.34%   8.44%
           
Ratios to Average Net Assets          
Total income (loss)   26.09%   8.85%
Management fees*   0.45%   0.45%
Expenses excluding management fees*   0.34%   0.29%
Net income (loss)   25.90%   8.67%

 

* 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.

 

 13 

 

 

The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at March 31, 2019 using the fair value hierarchy:

 

At March 31, 2019  Total   Level I   Level II   Level III 
Short-Term Investments  $1,530,571,003   $1,530,571,003   $   $ 
Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts                    
United States Contracts   83,020,700    83,020,700         

 

During the three months ended March 31, 2019, there were no transfers between Level I and Level II.

 

The following table summarizes the valuation of USO’s securities at December 31, 2018 using the fair value hierarchy:

 

At December 31, 2018  Total   Level I   Level II   Level III 
Short-Term Investments  $1,334,416,220   $1,334,416,220   $   $ 
Exchange-Traded Futures Contracts                    
United States Contracts   (194,392,958)   (194,392,958)        

 

During the year ended December 31, 2018, there were no transfers between Level I and Level II.

 

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

 

Derivatives not
Accounted for
as Hedging
Instruments
  Condensed
Statements of
Financial
Condition Location
  Fair Value
At March 31,
2019
   Fair Value
At December 31,
2018
 
Futures - Commodity Contracts  Assets  $83,020,700   $(194,392,958)

 

The Effect of Derivative Instruments on the Condensed Statements of Operations

 

      For the three months ended
March 31, 2019
   For the three months ended
March 31, 2018
 
Derivatives not
Accounted for
as Hedging
Instruments
  Location of
Gain (Loss)
on Derivatives
Recognized in
Income
  Realized
Gain (Loss)
on Derivatives
Recognized in
Income
   Change in
Unrealized
Gain (Loss) on
Derivatives
Recognized in
Income
   Realized
Gain (Loss)
on Derivatives
Recognized in
Income
   Change in
Unrealized
Gain (Loss) on
Derivatives
Recognized in
Income
 
Futures - Commodity Contracts  Realized gain (loss) on
closed positions
  $137,007,682        $183,289,170      
                        
   Change in unrealized
gain (loss) on open
positions
       $277,413,658        $(15,464,070)
                        
 14 

 

 

NOTE 8 — SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

 

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

 

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. 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 in the future files with the U.S. 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, Inc. (the “NYSE Arca”). 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 futures contract for light, sweet crude oil 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 (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’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 (as defined below) and Other Oil-Related Investments (as defined below).

 

 15 

 

 

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 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 over-the-counter (“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. 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.

 

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.

 

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. As of March 31, 2019, USO held 25,836 NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures CL contracts and did not hold ICE WTI Crude Oil Futures contracts. USO exceeded accountability levels of the NYMEX during the three months ended March 31, 2019 when it held a maximum of 33,818 Crude Oil Futures CL contracts, on the NYMEX, exceeding the “any” month limit. No action was taken by the NYMEX and USO did not reduce the number of Oil Futures Contracts held as a result. USO did not exceed accountability levels imposed by the ICE Futures during the three months ended March 31, 2019.

 

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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. It is unlikely that USO will run up against such position limits because USO’s investment strategy is to close out its positions and “roll” from the near month contract to expire to the next month contract during a four-day period beginning two weeks from expiration of the contract. For the three months ended March 31, 2019, USO did not exceed any position limits imposed by the NYMEX and ICE Futures.

 

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”), CFTC, NFA, the futures exchanges, clearing organizations and other regulatory bodies.

 

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.

 

The CFTC has proposed to adopt limits on speculative positions in 25 physical commodity futures and option contracts as well as swaps that are economically equivalent to such contracts in the agriculture, energy and metals markets (the “Position Limit Rules”). The Position Limit Rules would, among other things: identify which contracts are subject to speculative position limits; set thresholds that restrict the size of speculative positions that a person may hold in the spot month, other individual months, and all months combined; create an exemption for positions that constitute bona fide hedging transactions; impose responsibilities on DCMs and swap execution facilities (“SEFs”) to establish position limits or, in some cases, position accountability rules; and apply to both futures and swaps across four relevant venues: OTC, DCMs, SEFs as well as certain non-U.S. located platforms. The CFTC’s first attempt at finalizing the Position Limit Rules, in 2011, was successfully challenged by market participants in 2012 and, since then, the CFTC has re-proposed them and solicited comments from market participants multiple times. At this time, it is unclear how the Position Limit Rules may affect USO, but the effect may be substantial and adverse. By way of example, the Position Limit Rules may negatively impact the ability of USO to meet its investment objectives through limits that may inhibit USCF’s ability to sell additional Creation Baskets of USO.

 

Until such time as the Position Limit Rules are adopted, 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 nine agricultural products (e.g., corn, wheat and soy), 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). As a result, USO may be limited with respect to the size of its investments in any commodities subject to these limits.

 

Under existing and recently adopted CFTC regulations, 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 participant (the “Aggregation Rules”). The Aggregation Rules will also apply with respect to the Position Limit Rules if and when such Position Limit Rules are adopted.

 

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OTC Swaps

 

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. The Fund is not a Covered Swap Entity under the Final Margin Rules, but it is a financial end-user. Accordingly, the Fund is currently subject to the variation margin requirements of the Final Margin Rules. However, the Fund does not have material swaps exposure and, accordingly, the Fund 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 has yet to finalize its margin rules.

 

Mandatory Trading and Clearing of Swaps

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

Price Movements

 

Crude oil futures prices were volatile during the three months ended March 31, 2019. The price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract started the period at $45.41 per barrel. The high of the period was on March 20, 2019 when the price reached $60.23 per barrel. The low of the period was the starting price for the period, which was $45.41 per barrel. The period ended with the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract at $60.14 per barrel, an increase of approximately 32.44% over the period. USO’s per share NAV began the period at $9.59 and ended the period at $12.50 on March 31, 2019, an increase of approximately 30.34% over the period. USO’s per share NAV reached its high for the period on March 20, 2019 at $12.51 and its low for the period was at the beginning of period when it was $9.59. The Benchmark Oil Futures Contract prices listed above began with the February 2019 contracts and ended with the May 2019 contracts. The increase of approximately 32.44% 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.”

 

During the three months ended March 31, 2019, the crude oil futures market was in a state of contango, meaning that the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract was lower than the price of the next month crude Oil Futures Contract, or contracts further away from expiration. On days when the market is in backwardation, the price of the near month crude Oil Futures Contract is typically 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.

 

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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 NYMEX closing price (determined at the earlier of the close of the NYMEX or 2:30 p.m. New York time) for the contracts held on the NYMEX, but calculates or determines the value of all other USO investments, including ICE Futures contracts or 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 American Stock Exchange (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 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.

 

Since its initial offering of 17,000,000 shares, USO has registered nine subsequent offerings of its shares: 30,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on October 18, 2006, 50,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on January 30, 2007, 30,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on December 4, 2007, 100,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on February 7, 2008, 100,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on September 29, 2008, 300,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on January 16, 2009, 1,000,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on June 29, 2009, 500,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on April 28, 2015, 1,000,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on February 29, 2016, and 100,000,000 shares which were registered with the SEC on February 27, 2019. Shares offered by USO in the subsequent offerings were sold for cash at the per share NAV as described in the applicable prospectus. As of March 31, 2019, USO had issued 2,898,700,000 shares, 124,300,000 of which were outstanding. As of March 31, 2019, there were 228,300,000 shares registered but not yet issued.

 

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 March 31, 2019, USO had the following Authorized Participants: 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, Virtu Financial BD LLC and Wedbush Securities Inc.

 

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For the Three Months Ended March 31, 2019 Compared to the Three Months Ended March 31, 2018

  

   For the three
months ended
March 31, 2019
   For the three
months ended
March 31, 2018
 
Average daily total net assets  $1,625,310,693   $1,971,455,669 
Dividend and interest income earned on Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents  $9,574,093   $6,578,382 
Annualized yield based on average daily total net assets   2.39%   1.35%
Management fee  $1,803,427   $2,187,506 
Total fees and other expenses excluding management fees  $1,368,338   $1,433,102 
Fees and expenses related to the registration or offering of additional shares  $127,886   $81,464 
Total commissions accrued to brokers  $697,934   $694,480 
Total commissions as annualized percentage of average total net assets   0.17%   0.14%
Commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing  $611,920   $575,146 
Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of rebalancing   87.68%   82.82%
Commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity  $86,014   $119,334 
Percentage of commissions accrued as a result of creation and redemption activity   12.32%   17.18%

 

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

 

Average interest rates earned on short-term investments held by USO, including cash, cash equivalents and Treasuries, were higher during the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018. As a result, the amount of income earned by USO as a percentage of average daily total net assets was higher during the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018.

 

The decrease in total fees and other expenses excluding management fees for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018 was due primarily to USO’s smaller size as measured by total net assets.

 

The increase in total commissions accrued to brokers for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2018, was due primarily to a higher number of Oil Futures Contracts being held and traded.

 

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Tracking USO's Benchmark

 

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

 

For the 30-valuation days ended March 31, 2019, the simple average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was 0.298%, while the simple average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was 0.304%. The average daily difference was 0.006% (or 0.6 basis points, where 1 basis point equals 1/100 of 1%). As a percentage of the daily movement of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, the average error in daily tracking by the per share NAV was 2.349%, meaning that over this time period USO’s tracking error was within the plus or minus 10% range established as its benchmark tracking goal. A significant portion of the level of USO's relative tracking error as a percentage of the benchmark was due to periods of flat price returns.

 

Since the commencement of the offering of USO’s shares to the public on April 10, 2006 to March 31, 2019, the simple average daily change in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract was (0.027)%, while the simple average daily change in the per share NAV of USO over the same time period was (0.027)%. The average daily difference was 0.000% (or 0.0 basis points, where 1 basis point equals 1/100 of 1%). As a percentage of the daily movement of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, the average error in daily tracking by the per share NAV was 0.183%, meaning that over this time period USO’s tracking error was 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 March 31, 2019. The second graph measures monthly changes since March 31, 2014 through March 31, 2019.

 

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

 

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*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

 

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

 

For the three months ended March 31, 2019, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was 30.34%. This is based on an initial per share NAV of $9.59 as of December 31, 2018 and an ending per share NAV as of March 31, 2019 of $12.50. 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 $12.46 as of March 31, 2019, for a total return over the relevant time period of 29.93%. The difference between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of 30.34% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of 29.93% was an error over the time period of 0.41%, 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, tends 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 three months ended March 31, 2018, the actual total return of USO as measured by changes in its per share NAV was 8.44%. This was based on an initial per share NAV of $12.08 as of December 31, 2017 and an ending per share NAV as of March 31, 2018 of $13.10. 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 $13.08 as of March 31, 2018, for a total return over the relevant time period of 8.28%. The difference between the actual per share NAV total return of USO of 8.44% and the expected total return based on the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract of 8.28% was an error over the time period of 0.16%, which is to say that USO’s actual total return outperformed its benchmark by that percentage. USO incurred 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.

 

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There are currently three factors that have impacted or are most likely to impact USO's ability to accurately track Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

 

First, USO may buy or sell its holdings in the then current Benchmark Oil Futures Contract at a price other than the closing 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 that of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract, which could cause the changes in the daily per share NAV of USO to either be too high or too low relative to the daily changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, USCF attempted to minimize the effect of these transactions by seeking to execute its purchase or sale of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract 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 closing 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 three months ended March 31, 2019. 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 the current 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 increase over the near future from historical lows. It is anticipated that fees and expenses paid by USO may continue to be lower than interest earned by USO. As such, USCF anticipates that USO could possibly outperform its benchmark so long as interest earned at least equals or exceeds the fees and expenses paid by USO.

 

Third, USO may hold Other Oil-Related Investments in its portfolio that may fail to closely track the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract's total return movements. In that case, the error in tracking the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract could result in daily changes in the per share NAV of USO that are either too high, or too low, relative to the daily changes in the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, USO did not hold any Other Oil-Related Investments. If USO increases in size, and due to its obligations to comply with regulatory limits, USO may invest in Other Oil-Related Investments which may have the effect of increasing transaction related expenses and may result in increased tracking error.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The chart below compares the daily price of the near month crude oil futures contract to the price of 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).

 

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

 

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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.

 

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

 

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

 

Historically, the crude oil futures markets have experienced periods of contango and backwardation, with backwardation being in place somewhat less often than contango since oil futures trading started in 1982. 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 the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“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 remained in contango through March 30, 2019.

 

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Periods of contango or backwardation do not materially impact USO’s investment objective of having the daily percentage changes in its per share NAV track the daily percentage changes in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract since the impact of backwardation and contango tend to equally impact the daily percentage changes in price of both USO’s shares and the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. It is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty whether backwardation or contango will occur in the future. It is likely that both conditions will occur during different periods.

 

Crude Oil Market. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, crude oil prices traded in a range between $46.54 to $60.14. Crude oil rose over 32% from the end of 2018 through March 31, 2019 finishing the quarter at the $60.14 high price. As of the end of the first quarter of 2019, U.S. crude storage was 6% higher than a year ago, and 1% lower than the five-year average level. Storage levels are approximately 16% lower than the all-time high set in 2017. OPEC nations agreed in November 2018 to reduce daily supply by 1.2 million barrels per day and have been aggressive about meeting that target. Despite continued growth in U.S. shale production, OPEC’s cuts have had the desired impact on inventories and supplies, leading to the extraordinary price surge this quarter. While crude oil prices have exhibited a dramatic reversal since the end of 2018, prices have not yet returned to the recent high of $76.41 set on October 3, 2018. If global demand and demand growth remains consistent, and OPEC maintains its aggressive position, then supplies may continue to be constrained in the second quarter of 2019, which should support prices. However, given ongoing U.S. production growth, more volatility is possible and gains could accrue at a more measured pace unless current geopolitical tensions increase (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Libya, etc.).

 

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

 

For the ten-year time period between March 31, 2009 and March 31, 2019, 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, little correlation with natural gas, and moderate negative correlation with U.S. government bonds.

 

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

       U.S.                     
       Gov’t.                     
       Bonds                     
   Large   (EFFAS   Global                 
   Cap U.S.   U.S.   Equities                 
   Equities   Gov’t.   (FTSE       Diesel-         
Correlation Matrix  (S&P   Bond   World   Unleaded   Heating   Natural   Crude 
March 31, 2009 – March 31, 2019*  500)   Index)   Index)   Gasoline   Oil   Gas   Oil 
Large Cap U.S. Equities (S&P 500)   1.000    (0.252)   0.962    0.357    0.385    0.037    0.391 
U.S. Gov’t. Bonds (EFFAS U.S. Gov’t. Bond Index)        1.000    (0.255)   (0.385)   (0.299)   0.057    (0.337)
Global Equities (FTSE World Index)             1.000    0.428    0.430    0.044    0.429 
Unleaded Gasoline                  1.000    0.782    (0.042)   0.689 
Diesel-Heating Oil                       1.000    (0.014)   0.855 
Natural Gas                            1.000    (0.054)
Crude Oil                                 1.000 

 

Source: Bloomberg, NYMEX

 

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The table below covers a more recent, but much shorter, range of dates than the above table. Over the one year period ended March 31, 2019, movements of crude oil displayed strong correlation with diesel-heating oil, unleaded gasoline and limited to negative correlation with movements with large cap U.S. equities, U.S. Government bonds, global equities and natural gas.

  

*PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS

 

       U.S.                     
       Gov’t.                     
       Bonds                     
   Large   (EFFAS   Global                 
   Cap U.S.   U.S.   Equities                 
   Equities   Gov’t.   (FTSE       Diesel-         
Correlation Matrix  (S&P   Bond   World   Unleaded   Heating   Natural   Crude 
12 Months ended March 31, 2019*  500)   Index)   Index)   Gasoline   Oil   Gas   Oil 
Large Cap U.S. Equities (S&P 500)   1.000    (0.076)   0.960    0.418    0.110    0.231    0.229 
U.S. Gov’t. Bonds (EFFAS U.S. Gov’t. Bond Index)        1.000    (0.217)   (0.269)   (0.118)   0.381    (0.333)
Global Equities (FTSE World Index)             1.000    0.485    0.164    0.178    0.299 
Unleaded Gasoline                  1.000    0.870    (0.530)   0.902 
Diesel-Heating Oil                       1.000    (0.591)   0.839 
Natural Gas                            1.000    (0.625)
Crude Oil                                 1.000 

 

Source: Bloomberg, NYMEX

 

Investors are cautioned that the historical price relationships between crude oil and various other energy commodities, as well as other investment asset classes, as measured by correlation may not be reliable predictors of future price movements and correlation results. The results pictured above would have been different if a different range of dates had been selected. USCF believes that crude oil has historically not demonstrated a strong correlation with equities or bonds over long periods of time. However, USCF also believes that in the future it is possible that crude oil could have long term correlation results that indicate prices of crude oil more closely track the movements of equities or bonds. In addition, USCF believes that, when measured over time periods shorter than ten years, there will always be some periods where the correlation of crude oil to equities and bonds will be either more strongly positively correlated or more strongly negatively correlated than the long term historical results suggest.

 

The correlations between crude oil, natural gas, diesel-heating oil and gasoline are relevant because USCF endeavors to invest USO’s assets in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments so that daily changes in percentage terms in USO’s per share NAV correlate as closely as possible with daily changes in percentage terms in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. If certain other fuel-based commodity futures contracts do not closely correlate with the crude-oil futures contract, then their use could lead to greater tracking error. As noted above, USCF also believes that the changes in percentage terms in the price of the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract will closely correlate with changes in percentage terms in the spot price of light, sweet crude oil.

 

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Critical Accounting Policies

 

Preparation of the condensed financial statements and related disclosures in compliance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires the application of appropriate accounting rules and guidance, as well as the use of estimates. USO's application of these policies involves judgments and actual results may differ from the estimates used.

 

USCF has evaluated the nature and types of estimates that it makes in preparing USO's condensed financial statements and related disclosures and has determined that the valuation of its investments, which are not traded on a United States or internationally recognized futures exchange (such as forward contracts and OTC swaps) involves a critical accounting policy. The values which are used by USO for its Oil Futures Contracts are provided by its commodity broker who uses market prices when available, while OTC swaps are valued based on the present value of estimated future cash flows that would be received from or paid to a third party in settlement of these derivative contracts prior to their delivery date and valued on a daily basis. In addition, USO estimates interest and dividend income on a daily basis using prevailing rates earned on its cash and cash equivalents. These estimates are adjusted to the actual amount received on a monthly basis and the difference, if any, is not considered material.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

USO has not made, and does not anticipate making, use of borrowings or other lines of credit to meet its obligations. USO has met, and it is anticipated that USO will continue to meet, its liquidity needs in the normal course of business from the proceeds of the sale of its investments, or from the Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents that it intends to hold at all times. USO's liquidity needs include: redeeming shares, providing margin deposits for its existing Oil Futures Contracts or the purchase of additional Oil Futures Contracts and posting collateral for its OTC swaps, if applicable, and payment of its expenses, summarized below under “Contractual Obligations.”

 

USO currently generates cash primarily from: (i) the sale of baskets consisting of 100,000 shares (“Creation Baskets”) and (ii) income earned on Treasuries, cash and/or cash equivalents. USO has allocated substantially all of its net assets to trading in Oil Interests. USO invests in Oil Interests to the fullest extent possible without being leveraged or unable to satisfy its current or potential margin or collateral obligations with respect to its investments in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments. A significant portion of USO's NAV is held in cash and cash equivalents that are used as margin and as collateral for its trading in Oil Interests. The balance of the assets is held in USO's account at its custodian bank and in Treasuries at the FCM. Income received from USO's investments in money market funds and Treasuries is paid to USO. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, USO's expenses did not exceed the income USO earned and the cash earned from the sale of Creation Baskets and the redemption of Redemption Baskets. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, USO used other assets to pay expenses. To the extent expenses exceed income, USO's NAV will be negatively impacted.

 

USO's investments in Oil Interests may be subject to periods of illiquidity because of market conditions, regulatory considerations and other reasons. For example, most commodity exchanges limit the fluctuations in futures contracts prices during a single day by regulations referred to as “daily limits.” During a single day, no trades may be executed at prices beyond the daily limit. Once the price of a futures contract has increased or decreased by an amount equal to the daily limit, positions in the contracts can neither be taken nor liquidated unless the traders are willing to effect trades at or within the specified daily limit. Such market conditions could prevent USO from promptly liquidating its positions in Oil Futures Contracts. During the three months ended March 31, 2019, USO did not purchase or liquidate any of its positions while daily limits were in effect; however, USO cannot predict whether such an event may occur in the future.

 

Since March 23, 2007, USO has been responsible for expenses relating to: (i) management fees, (ii) brokerage fees and commissions, (iii) licensing fees for the use of intellectual property, (iv) ongoing registration expenses in connection with offers and sales of its shares subsequent to the initial offering, (v) other expenses, including tax reporting costs, (vi) fees and expenses of the independent directors of USCF and (vii) other extraordinary expenses not in the ordinary course of business, while USCF has been responsible for expenses relating to the fees of USO's Marketing Agent, Administrator and Custodian and registration expenses relating to the initial offering of shares. If USCF and USO are unsuccessful in raising sufficient funds to cover these respective expenses or in locating any other source of funding, USO will terminate and investors may lose all or part of their investment.

 

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Market Risk

 

Trading in Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments, such as forwards, involves USO entering into contractual commitments to purchase or sell oil at a specified date in the future. The aggregate market value of the contracts will significantly exceed USO's future cash requirements since USO intends to close out its open positions prior to settlement. As a result, USO is generally only subject to the risk of loss arising from the change in value of the contracts. USO considers the “fair value” of its derivative instruments to be the unrealized gain or loss on the contracts. The market risk associated with USO's commitments to purchase oil is limited to the aggregate market value of the contracts held. However, should USO enter into a contractual commitment to sell oil, it would be required to make delivery of the oil at the contract price, repurchase the contract at prevailing prices or settle in cash. Since there are no limits on the future price of oil, the market risk to USO could be unlimited.

 

USO's exposure to market risk depends on a number of factors, including the markets for oil, the volatility of interest rates and foreign exchange rates, the liquidity of the Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments markets and the relationships among the contracts held by USO. Drastic market occurrences could ultimately lead to the loss of all or substantially all of an investor’s capital.

 

Credit Risk

 

When USO enters into Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments, it is exposed to the credit risk that the counterparty will not be able to meet its obligations. The counterparty for the Oil Futures Contracts traded on the NYMEX and on most other futures exchanges is the clearinghouse associated with the particular exchange. In general, in addition to margin required to be posted by the clearinghouse in connection with cleared trades, clearinghouses are backed by their members who may be required to share in the financial burden resulting from the nonperformance of one of their members and, therefore, this additional member support should significantly reduce credit risk. USO is not currently a member of any clearinghouse. Some foreign exchanges are not backed by their clearinghouse members but may be backed by a consortium of banks or other financial institutions. In addition, USO faces the risk of non-performance by any counterparties to OTC contracts. Unlike in the case of exchange-traded Futures Contracts, the counterparty to an OTC contract is generally a single bank or other financial institution. As a result, there will be greater counterparty credit risk in OTC transactions. There can be no assurance that any counterparty, clearinghouse, or their members or their financial backers will satisfy their obligations to USO in such circumstances.

 

USCF attempts to manage the credit risk of USO by following various trading limitations and policies. In particular, USO generally posts margin and/or holds liquid assets that are approximately equal to the market value of its obligations to counterparties under the Oil Futures Contracts and Other Oil-Related Investments it holds. USCF has implemented procedures that include, but are not limited to, executing and clearing trades only with creditworthy parties and/or requiring the posting of collateral or margin by such parties for the benefit of USO to limit its credit exposure. An FCM, when acting on behalf of USO in accepting orders to purchase or sell Oil Futures Contracts on United States exchanges, is required by CFTC regulations to separately account for and segregate as belonging to USO, all assets of USO relating to domestic Oil Futures Contracts trading. These FCMs are not allowed to commingle USO's assets with their other assets. In addition, the CFTC requires FCMs to hold in a secure account USO's assets related to foreign Oil Futures Contracts trading.

 

In the future, USO may purchase OTC swaps, see “Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q for a discussion of OTC swaps.

 

As of March 31, 2019, USO held cash deposits and investments in Treasuries and money market funds in the amount of $1,532,541,152 with the custodian and FCM. Some or all of these amounts held by a custodian or an FCM, as applicable, may be subject to loss should USO's custodian or FCM, as applicable, cease operations.

 

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Off Balance Sheet Financing

 

As of March 31, 2019, USO had no loan guarantee, credit support or other off-balance sheet arrangements of any kind other than agreements entered into in the normal course of business, which may include indemnification provisions relating to certain risks that service providers undertake in performing services which are in the best interests of USO. While USO's exposure under these indemnification provisions cannot be estimated, they are not expected to have a material impact on USO's financial position.

 

European Sovereign Debt

 

USO had no direct exposure to European sovereign debt as of March 31, 2019 and has no direct exposure to European sovereign debt as of the filing of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

 

Redemption Basket Obligation

 

In order to meet its investment objective and pay its contractual obligations described below, USO requires liquidity to redeem shares, which redemptions must be in blocks of 100,000 shares called “Redemption Baskets.” USO has to date satisfied this obligation by paying from the cash or cash equivalents it holds or through the sale of its Treasuries in an amount proportionate to the number of shares being redeemed.

 

Contractual Obligations

 

USO's primary contractual obligations are with USCF. In return for its services, USCF is entitled to a management fee calculated daily and paid monthly as a fixed percentage of USO's NAV, currently 0.45% of NAV on its average daily total net assets.

 

USCF agreed to pay the start-up costs associated with the formation of USO, primarily its legal, accounting and other costs in connection with USCF’s registration with the CFTC as a CPO and the registration and listing of USO and its shares with the SEC, FINRA and NYSE Arca (formerly, AMEX), respectively. However, since USO’s initial offering of shares, offering costs incurred in connection with registering and listing additional shares of USO have been directly borne on an ongoing basis by USO, and not by USCF.

 

USCF pays the fees of the Marketing Agent and the fees of BBH&Co., as well as BBH&Co.’s fees for performing administrative services, including those in connection with the preparation of USO's condensed financial statements and its SEC, NFA and CFTC reports. USCF and USO have also entered into a licensing agreement with the NYMEX pursuant to which USO and the Related Public Funds, other than BNO, USCI, CPER, USOU and USOD, pay a licensing fee to the NYMEX. USO also pays the fees and expenses associated with its tax accounting and reporting requirements.

In addition to USCF’s management fee, USO pays its brokerage fees (including fees to an FCM), OTC dealer spreads, any licensing fees for the use of intellectual property, and, subsequent to the initial offering, registration and other fees paid to the SEC, FINRA, or other regulatory agencies in connection with the offer and sale of shares, as well as legal, printing, accounting and other expenses associated therewith, and extraordinary expenses. The latter are expenses not incurred in the ordinary course of USO’s business, including expenses relating to the indemnification of any person against liabilities and obligations to the extent permitted by law and under the LP Agreement, the bringing or defending of actions in law or in equity or otherwise conducting litigation and incurring legal expenses and the settlement of claims and litigation. Commission payments to an FCM are on a contract-by-contract, or round turn, basis. USO also pays a portion of the fees and expenses of the independent directors of USCF. See Note 3 to the Notes to Condensed Financial Statements (Unaudited) in Item 1 of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

 

The parties cannot anticipate the amount of payments that will be required under these arrangements for future periods, as USO's per share NAVs and trading levels to meet its investment objective will not be known until a future date. These agreements are effective for a specific term agreed upon by the parties with an option to renew, or, in some cases, are in effect for the duration of USO's existence. Either party may terminate these agreements earlier for certain reasons described in the agreements.

 

As of March 31, 2019, USO's portfolio consisted of 25,836 WTI Crude Oil Futures CL Contracts traded on the NYMEX. As of March 31, 2019, USO did not hold any Oil Futures Contracts traded on the ICE Futures. For a list of USO's current holdings, please see USO's website at www.uscfinvestments.com.

 

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Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

 

Commodity Price Risk.

 

USO is exposed to commodity price risk. In particular, USO is exposed to crude oil price risk through its holdings of Oil Futures Contracts together with any other derivatives in which it may invest, which are discussed below. As a result, fluctuations in the value of the Oil Futures Contracts that USO holds in its portfolio, as described in “Contractual Obligations" under “Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" above, are expected to directly affect the value of USO's shares.

 

OTC Contract Risk

 

USO may purchase OTC Oil Interests, such as forward contracts or swap or spot contracts. Unlike most exchange-traded futures contracts or exchange-traded options on such futures, each party to an OTC swap bears the credit risk that the other party may not be able to perform its obligations under its contract.

 

USO may enter into certain transactions where an OTC component is exchanged for a corresponding futures contract (“Exchange for Related Position” or “EFRP” transactions). In the most common type of EFRP transaction entered into by USO, the OTC component is the purchase or sale of one or more baskets of USO shares. These EFRP transactions may expose USO to counterparty risk during the interim period between the execution of the OTC component and the exchange for a corresponding futures contract. Generally, the counterparty risk from the EFRP transaction will exist only on the day of execution.

 

Swap transactions, like other financial transactions, involve a variety of significant risks. The specific risks presented by a particular swap transaction necessarily depend upon the terms and circumstances of the transaction. In general, however, all swap transactions involve some combination of market risk, credit risk, counterparty credit risk, funding risk, liquidity risk and operational risk.

 

Highly customized swap transactions in particular may increase liquidity risk, which may result in a suspension of redemptions. Highly leveraged transactions may experience substantial gains or losses in value as a result of relatively small changes in the value or level of an underlying or related market factor.

 

In evaluating the risks and contractual obligations associated with a particular swap transaction, it is important to consider that a swap transaction may be modified or terminated only by mutual consent of the original parties and subject to agreement on individually negotiated terms. Therefore, it may not be possible for USCF to modify, terminate or offset USO's obligations or its exposure to the risks associated with a transaction prior to its scheduled termination date.

 

To reduce the credit risk that arises in connection with such contracts, USO will generally enter into an agreement with each counterparty based on the Master Agreement published by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association that provides for the netting of its overall exposure to its counterparty, if the counterparty is unable to meet its obligations to USO due to the occurrence of a specified event, such as the insolvency of the counterparty.

 

USCF assesses or reviews, as appropriate, the creditworthiness of each potential or existing counterparty to an OTC swap pursuant to guidelines approved by USCF’s board of directors (the "Board"). Furthermore, USCF on behalf of USO only enters into OTC swaps with counterparties who are, or are affiliates of, (a) banks regulated by a United States federal bank regulator, (b) broker-dealers regulated by the SEC, (c) insurance companies domiciled in the United States, or (d) producers, users or traders of energy, whether or not regulated by the CFTC. Any entity acting as a counterparty shall be regulated in either the United States or the United Kingdom unless otherwise approved by the Board after consultation with its legal counsel. Existing counterparties are also reviewed periodically by USCF. USO will also require that the counterparty be highly rated and/or provide collateral or other credit support. Even if collateral is used to reduce counterparty credit risk, sudden changes in the value of OTC transactions may leave a party open to financial risk due to a counterparty default since the collateral held may not cover a party’s exposure on the transaction in such situations.

 

In general, 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 swaps, 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.

 

During the three month reporting period ended March 31, 2019, USO limited its OTC activities to EFRP transactions.

 

USO anticipates that the use of Other Oil-Related Investments together with its investments in Oil Futures Contracts will produce price and total return results that closely track the investment goals of USO. However, there can be no assurance of this. OTC swaps may result in higher transaction-related expenses than the brokerage commissions paid in connection with the purchase of Oil Futures Contracts, which may impact USO's ability to successfully track the Benchmark Oil Futures Contract.

 

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Item 4. Controls and Procedures.

 

Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

USO maintains disclosure controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in USO’s periodic reports filed or submitted under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time period specified in the SEC’s rules and forms.

 

The duly appointed officers of USCF, including its chief executive officer and chief financial officer, who perform functions equivalent to those of a principal executive officer and principal financial officer of USO if USO had any officers, have evaluated the effectiveness of USO’s disclosure controls and procedures and have concluded that the disclosure controls and procedures of USO have been effective as of the end of the period covered by this quarterly report on Form 10-Q.

 

Change in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

There were no changes in USO’s internal control over financial reporting during USO’s last fiscal quarter that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, USO’s internal control over financial reporting.

 

Part II. OTHER INFORMATION

 

Item 1. Legal Proceedings.

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

 

There have been no material changes to the risk factors previously disclosed in USO’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, filed on February 25, 2019.

 

Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds.

 

(a)None.

 

(b)Not applicable.

 

(c)USO does not purchase shares directly from its shareholders. In connection with its redemption of baskets held by Authorized Participants, USO redeemed 886 baskets (comprising 88,600,000 shares) during the first quarter of the year ending December 31, 2019. The following table summarizes the redemptions by Authorized Participants during the three months ended March 31, 2019:

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Period  Total
Number of
Shares
Redeemed
   Average Price Per
Share
 
1/1/19 to 1/31/19   44,400,000   $10.79 
2/1/19 to 2/28/19   20,600,000   $11.61 
3/1/19 to 3/31/19   23,600,000   $12.16 
Total   88,600,000      

 

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Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities.

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 5. Other Information.

 

Monthly Account Statements

 

Pursuant to the requirement under Rule 4.22 under the Commodity Exchange Act, each month USO publishes an account statement for its shareholders, which includes a Statement of Income (Loss) and a Statement of Changes in Net Asset Value. The account statement is furnished to the SEC on a current report on Form 8-K pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act and posted each month on USO’s website at www.uscfinvestments.com.

 

Item 6. Exhibits.

 

Listed below are the exhibits, which are filed as part of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q (according to the number assigned to them in Item 601 of Regulation S-K):

 

Exhibit Number   Description of Document
31.1(1)   Certification by Principal Executive Officer Pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
31.2(1)   Certification by Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
32.1(1)   Certification by Principal Executive Officer Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350, as Adopted Pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
32.2(1)   Certification by Principal Financial Officer Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350, as Adopted Pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
101.INS   XBRL Instance Document.
101.SCH   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema.
101.CAL   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase.
101.DEF   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase.
101.LAB   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase.
101.PRE   XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase.

 

(1)Filed herewith.

 

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SIGNATURES

 

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.

 

United States Oil Fund, LP (Registrant)

By: United States Commodity Funds LLC, its general partner

 

By: /s/ John P. Love  
  John P. Love  
  President and Chief Executive Officer  
  (Principal executive officer)  

 

Date: May 9, 2019

 

By: /s/ Stuart P. Crumbaugh  
  Stuart P. Crumbaugh  
  Chief Financial Officer  
  (Principal financial and accounting officer)  

 

Date: May 9, 2019

 

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