API gravity
— Developed by the American Petroleum
Institute (API), the API gravity scale measures how heavy
or light petroleum liquids are—its relative density—when
compared to water. Although mathematically, API gravity
has no units, it is nevertheless referred to as being measured
in “degrees”. When the API gravity is greater than 31, the
petroleum is considered lighter than water; when it is less than
31, it is heavier than water.
— In general, a benchmark can be anything
that serves as a point of reference or standard against which
other things can be compared, measured or evaluated. In the
oil industry, benchmarks are used to establish the appropriate
price of crude oil and are needed due to the existence of so
many different varieties and grades of crude. By referring to
a specific crude oil as a benchmark, traders can determine
the price and value of other kinds of crude. The most widely
accepted benchmarks in the industry are Brent, Dubai, West
Texas Intermediate (WTI) and the OPEC Reference Basket
(ORB) of Member Country crudes. Brent is used to price most
of the world’s crudes; Dubai is used to price regional crudes
from the Gulf; WTI is usually used to price oil in the US.
— Bitumen is a black, viscous sticky organic liquid
composed primarily of condensed chemical compounds. Often
referred to as ‘asphalt’ or ‘asphalt cement’, bitumen is usually a
by-product or residue that is left after the fractional distillation
of crude oil and is the one with the highest boiling point.
Most bitumen contain sulphur and heavy metals such as lead,
chromium, mercury, nickel and vanadium, as well as other toxic
Booster station
— This is a specialized station where
crude oil received from one main pipeline is pressurized so
that it can then be sent to the next destination or terminal for
further transportation or refining.
— A catalyst is any chemical substance that
accelerates the rate of a reaction without being used up itself in
the process. In the oil refining processes, chemical catalysts speed
up cracking. Catalysts include bauxite, zeolite and silica-alumina.
Christmas tree
—In the oil and gas industry, a Christmas
tree is an assembly of valves, dials and other fittings that help
control the level of oil, gas and/or water at an oil or gas well. It
has the very rough appearance of a green Christmas tree with
red decorations.
Coke / coking
— Coke is the product of a refining process
known as ‘coking’ that uses heat and pressure to decompose (or
‘coke‘) heavy crude oil (or residual oil). It produces a mix of
lighter oils that can then be blended or processed into other
products. Petroleum ‘coke’ can even be used as a fuel or as an
input in other industrial processes.
— This is a refinery process where heavier,
more complex forms of hydrocarbons are broken down (or
‘cracked‘) into lighter and simpler forms by breaking the bonds
between carbon molecules. Through this process, higher value
hydrocarbon products are produced. Cracking can be done
by applying heat (thermal cracking), through the application
of a chemical catalyst (catalytic cracking) or with catalysts and
hydrogen (hydro-cracking).
Crude oil
— Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that
exist in liquid form in natural underground reservoirs and
which remain liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing
through surface separating facilities. Substances reported as
crude oil include: liquids technically defined as crude oil; small
amounts of hydrocarbons that exist in a gaseous form in natural
underground reservoirs but which are liquid at atmospheric
pressure after being recovered from gas.
Distillate yields
— In the refining process, when crude
oil is compressed and heated, it produces (or yields) different
substances (distillates) at successively high temperature levels.
— This refers simply to the different products
that can be separated or refined from crude oil.
— Geoscientists are experts who look at
and study the physical aspects of the Earth in order to better
understand the composition of its rocks, underground water
Glossary of Terms
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