It’s the world’s ‘other’ crude oil.And now the price of a barrel of ‘extra virgin olive oil' (EVOO) is trading at 15 times premium to conventional oil benchmarks on global markets. That’s because a barrel of premium olive oil hit an all-time high of about USD$9,000 per metric tonne this month, compared to about US$600 for good old crude, and are up about 32% since May.Or put another way, that’s about $1,200 per barrel for premium Spanish EVOO compared to $76.31 for West Texas Intermediate on Wednesday..The top producers are blaming the usual suspect — climate change — aggravated by fires in Greece, heat in Spain and the worst drought in Italy in more than 70 years. It’s shaping up to be the worst food crisis since humans began making the liquid gold in 6,000 BC.Spain, the world’s largest exporter, has yielded only half of what it would in a normal year after it received barely a fifth of its usual precipitation this summer. Ditto for Italy, the world’s second-largest producer which is still recovering from two major years of arid conditions.Spain, along with Italy, Greece and Portugal produce almost two-thirds of the world’s supply.It’s sparking a food security crisis among all the Mediterranean nations known for their culinary cuisines. Food inflation in Europe is running about 15% year-over-year, due in part to high prices for the coveted cooking oil..The situation has become so bad, Spanish Agriculture Minister Luis Planas is warning olive oil risks becoming a premium product only for the wealthy. In an interview with Spain’s national broadcaster Ondacero he blamed Germany for refusing to support a curb on natural gas use blamed for global warming.In that sense, Planas conveyed his concern that all families can have olive oil "and that it does not become a luxury product."Now people are turning to the black market for their salad fixings. In fact, it’s more lucrative than guns or drugs.In Italy, it’s estimated that half of the olive oil on store shelves came from the Mafia in a black market worth $16 billion.Greek farmers are complaining that thieves — and armed gangs — are targeting centuries-old trees with chainsaws in brazen attempts to secure supplies from unguarded groves. There have been calls for the government to set up special police divisions to stop olive theft..In Italy, it’s estimated that half of the olive oil on store shelves come from the Mafia in a black market worth $16 billion..In the Puglia region of Italy, growers have pleaded with police to force a special agriculture patrol and companies in Spain have developed tracking devices that actually look like olives to catch and deter thieves.In October, Spanish police said that helped them retrieve 91 tonnes of stolen olives in recent weeks.One Greek grower, Konstantinos Markou, called for harsh penalties for thieves. "This is a felony," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "You kill your own history here."