So let's sum things up: The LOI and similar documentary terms, are non standard, confusing, and lead to ambiguity. Documentary ambiguity is referred to in trade law as a condition "The Battle of the Forms" in which confusion from contradictory and ambiguous forms and documents damages the transaction. This should be avoided. To seasoned corporate traders and bankers, using terms like "Letter of Intent" is the mark of amateurs. What you properly want is an RFQ, request for quotation, from a seller or supplier. The seller may then reply to your RFQ with a quote OR full offer if they wish.
SUMMARY _ Put very simply, as a legal or even business document, it's hard to image any document that could be as beset with so many near_crippling legal flaws, traps and pitfalls for its signer, as the LOI. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that in the REAL world of international buying and selling of crude oil, while the crude sellers and their army of sales_obsessed aggressive brokers and agents may generally be infatuated with the idea of having the LOI document widely and routinely used by prospective crude buyers to initiate their purchasing offers, nothing, on the other hand, could be more disliked, more unacceptable or unwanted by most crude buyers, particularly the more credible and substantive lot. What is more, on top of everything else of decisively negative nature about this document, the LOI is a document adjudged by virtually every legal expert in the field as a document that is legally meaningless, worthless, unenforceable and non_binding both on the signatory parties or on anyone, but yet has the potential to bring forth immense and unanticipated legal complications and problems for the signer(s).