Oil and gas industry terms

oil and gas industry termsDefinitions of Petroleum Products and Other Terms


Alcohol The family name of a group of organic chemical compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The series of molecules vary in chain length and are composed of a hydrocarbon plus a hydroxyl group; C[H.sub.3]-(C[H.sub.2])n-OH (e.g., methanol, ethanol, and tertiary butyl alcohol).

Alkylate. The product of an alkylation reaction. It usually refers to the high octane product from alkylation units. This alkylate is used in blending high octane gasoline.

Alkylation. A refining process for chemically combining isobutane with olefin hydrocarbons (e.g., propylene, butylene) through the control of temperature and pressure in the presence of an acid catalyst, usually sulfuric acid or hydrofluoric acid. The product, alkylate, an isoparaffin, has high octane value and is blended with motor and aviation gasoline to improve the antiknock value of the fuel.

API Gravity. An arbitrary scale expressing the gravity ordensity of liquid petroleum products. The measuring scale is calibrated in terms of degrees API; it may be calculated in terms of the following formula:

Degrees API = 141.5/ [degrees] F/60 [degrees] F - 131.5

The higher the API gravity, the lighter the compound. Light crudes generally exceed 38 degrees API and heavy crudes are commonly labeled as all crudes with an API gravity of 22 degrees or below. Intermediate crudes fall in the range of 22 degrees to 38 degrees API gravity.

Aromatics. Hydrocarbons characterized by unsaturated ring structures of carbon atoms. Commercial petroleum aromatics are benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX).

Asphalt. A dark-brown-to-black cement-like material containing bitumens as the predominant constituent obtained by petroleum processing; used primarily for road construction. It includes crude asphalt as well as the following finished products: cements, fluxes, the asphalt content of emulsions (exclusive of water), and petroleum distillates blended with asphalt to make cutback asphalts. Note: The conversion factor for asphalt is 5.5 barrels per short ton.

ASTM. The acronym for the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Atmospheric Crude Oil Distillation. The refining process of separating crude oil components at atmospheric pressure by heating to temperatures of about 600 [degrees] to 750 [degrees] F (depending on the nature of the crude oil and desired products) and subsequent condensing of the fractions by cooling.

Aviation Gasoline (Finished). A complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons with or without small quantities of additives, blended to form a fuel suitable for use in aviation reciprocating engines. Fuel specifications are provided in ASTM Specification D 910 and Military Specification MIL-G-5572. Note: Data on blending components are not counted in data on finished aviation gasoline.

Aviation Gasoline. Blending Components. Naphthas which will be used for blending or compounding into finished aviation gasoline (e.g., straight-run gasoline, alkylate, reformate, benzene, toluene, and xylene). Excludes oxygenates (alcohols, ethers), butane, and pentanes plus. Oxygenates are reported as other hydrocarbons, hydrogen, and oxygenates.

Barrel. A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons.

Barrels Per Calendar Day. The amount of input that a distillation facility can process under usual operating conditions. The amount is expressed in terms of capacity during a 24-hour period and reduces the maximum processing capability of all units at the facility under continuous operation (see Barrels per Stream Day) to account for the following limitations that may delay, interrupt, or slow down production:

   the capability of downstream facilities to absorb the output of crude oil
   processing facilities of a given refinery. No reduction is made when a
   planned distribution of intermediate streams through other than downstream
   facilities is part of a refinery's normal operation;

   the types and grades of inputs to be processed;

   the types and grades of products expected to be manufactured;

   the environmental constraints associated with refinery operations;

   the reduction of capacity for scheduled downtime due to such conditions as
   routine inspection, maintenance, repairs, and turnaround; and

   the reduction of capacity for unscheduled downtime due to such conditions
   as mechanical problems, repairs, and slowdowns.

Barrels Per Stream Day. The maximum number of barrels of input that a distillation facility can process within a 24-hour period when running at full capacity under optimal crude and product slate conditions with no allowance for downtime.

Benzene ([C.sub.6][H.sub.6]). An aromatic hydrocarbon present in small proportion in some crude oils and made commercially from petroleum by the catalytic reforming of naphthenes in petroleum naphtha. Also made from coal in the manufacture of coke. Used as a solvent, in manufacturing detergents, synthetic fibers, and petrochemicals and as a component of high-octane gasoline.

Blending Components. See Motor or Aviation Gasoline Blending Components.

Blending Plant. A facility which has no refining capability but is either capable of producing finished motor gasoline through mechanical blending or blends oxygenates with motor gasoline.

Bonded Petroleum Imports. Petroleum imported and entered into Customs bonded storage. These imports are not included in the import statistics until they are: (1) withdrawn from storage free of duty for use as fuel for vessels and aircraft engaged in international trade; or (2) withdrawn from storage with duty paid for domestic use.

BTX. The acronym for the commercial petroleum aromatics benzene, toluene, and xylene. See individual categories for definitions.

Bulk Station. A facility used primarily for the storage and/or marketing of petroleum products which has a total bulk storage capacity of less than 50,000 barrels and receives its petroleum products by tank car or truck.

Bulk Terminal. A facility used primarily for the storage and/or marketing of petroleum products which has a total bulk storage capacity of 50,000 barrels or more and/or receives petroleum products by tanker, barge, or pipeline.

Butane ([C.sub.4][H.sub.10]). A normally gaseous straight-chain or branch-chain hydrocarbon extracted from natural gas or refinery gas streams. It includes isobutane and normal butane and is designated in ASTM Specification D1835 and Gas Processors Association Specifications for commercial butane.

   Isobutane ([C.sub.4][H.sub.10]). A normally gaseous branch-chain
   hydrocarbon. It is a colorless paraffinic gas that boils at a temperature
   of 10.9 [degrees] F. It is extracted from natural gas or refinery gas

   Normal Butane ([C.sub.4][H.sub.10]). A normally gaseous straight-chain
   hydrocarbon. It is a colorless paraffinic gas that boils at a temperature
   of 31.1 [degrees] F. It is extracted from natural gas or refinery gas

Butylene ([C.sub.4][H.sub.8]). An olefinic hydrocarbon recovered from refinery processes.

Captive Refinery Oxygenate Plants. Oxygenate production facilities located within or adjacent to a refinery complex.

Catalytic Cracking. The refining process of breaking down the larger, heavier, and more complex hydrocarbon molecules into simpler and lighter molecules. Catalytic cracking is accomplished by the use of a catalytic agent and is an effective process for increasing the yield of gasoline from crude oil. Catalytic cracking processes fresh feeds and recycled feeds.

   Fresh Feeds. Crude oil or petroleum distillates which are being fed to
   processing units for the first time.

   Recycled Feeds. Feeds that are continuously fed back for additional

Catalytic Hydrocracking. A refining process that uses hydrogen and catalysts with relatively low temperatures and high pressures for converting middle boiling or residual material to high-octane gasoline, reformer charge stock, jet fuel, and/or high grade fuel oil. The process uses one or more catalysts, depending upon product output, and can handle high sulfur feedstocks without prior desulfurization.

Catalytic Hydrotreating. A refining process for treating petroleum fractions from atmospheric or vacuum distillation units (e.g., naphthas, middle distillates, reformer feeds, residual fuel oil, and heavy gas oil) and other petroleum (e.g., cat cracked naphtha, coker naphtha, gas oil, etc.) in the presence of catalysts and substantial quantities of hydrogen. Hydrotreating includes desulfurization, removal of substances (e.g., nitrogen compounds) that deactivate catalysts, conversion of olefins to paraffins to reduce gum formation in gasoline, and other processes to upgrade the quality of the fractions.