Batch – Pipelines transport different types of liquid petroleum in the same pipeline. To do so, the pipeline operator sends different products in “batches”. For example, an operator might send gasoline for several hours, and then switch to jet fuels, before switching to diesel fuel.
Biomass – Biomass is an industry term for getting energy by burning wood, and other organic matter. It is the building block to creating crude oil.
Blending – Mixing of products of different grades.
Boutique fuels – Boutique fuels are state motor fuels that have been specially formulated for use in a particular region to help the region meet its local air quality requirements.
Branded Gasoline – Gasoline sold under a refiner’s trademark (i.e. Citgo, Shell, BP). Benefits of branded product include additive, reduced price volatility and guaranteed supply. Branded product can be sold to unbranded locations under certain circumstances.
Biodiesel – Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol producing fatty acid esters.
Cloud Point – Cloud point is the temperature below which wax in diesel forms a cloudy appearance. Waxes thicken the oil and clogs fuel filters and injectors in engines.
CNG – Compressed Natural Gas. CNG is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline (petrol), diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels and is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill. CNG is made by compressing natural gas (which is mainly composed of methane [CH4]) to less than 1% of the volume it occupies at standard atmospheric pressure. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of 200–248 bar (2900–3600 psi), usually in cylindrical or spherical shapes.
Conversion – In the process of conversion, heavier molecules in crude can be converted, or “cracked,” into the lighter products for which there is higher demand.
D-975 – This specification covers seven grades of diesel fuel oils suitable for various types of diesel engines.
DEF – Diesel Exhaust Fluid. DEF is a carefully blended aqueous urea solution of 32.5% high purity urea and 67.5% deionized water. This fluid is added to a separate compartment in diesel burning engines to reduce oxides from nitrogen emitted from engines causing air pollution.
Distillates – These are light fuel oils used in diesel engines (including railroad engine fuel and fuel for agricultural machinery), heating homes and electric power generation.
Downstream – Refining and marketing processes are considered to be downstream, versus drilling and production that are considered to be upstream.
Ethanol – Alcohol derived from vegetable matter (usually corn) added to gasoline to produce cleaner burning fuel.
Feedstocks – Raw material (input) fed into the conversion process resulting in something different (output). Crude oil is a feedstock in the refining process which produces gasoline (petroleum).
Gross Gallons – Measurement in U.S. gallons without temperature or barometric adjustments. More information on net verses gross gallons
Heavy and Light Crude Oil – Crude can be classified as “light” or “heavy,” a characteristic which refers to the oil’s relative density based on the American Petroleum Institute (API) Gravity. This measurement reflects how light or heavy a crude oil is compared to water. If an oil’s API Gravity is greater than 10, it is lighter than water and will float. If an oil’s API Gravity is less than 10, it is heavier than water and will sink.
High Sulfur Diesel – Diesel containing more than 500 PPM sulfur content and can only be used off-road. HSD is taxed at a lower rate than low sulfur diesel. HSD is illegal for vehicle use in some parts of the country (see NEMA) and can only be sold as “heating oil”.
Hydraulic Fracturing – Hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid.
LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas. LNG is a product of natural gas which consists primarily of methane; its critical temperature is about -100°F (-73°C), and thus it must be liquefied by cooling to cryogenic temperatures and must be well insulated to be held in the liquid state.
Low Sulfur Diesel – Diesel with reduced sulfur content (less than 500 PPM). The traditional “diesel fuel”. Low Sulfur Diesel can be tax free in certain circumstances such as dyed.
MSDS – (Material Safety Data Sheet) This itemizes the chemical constituents, fire and health hazards and emergency response procedures for a given product.
Natural Gas – A naturally occurring fuel requiring minimum refining compared to crude. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) are rated to be among the cleanest of fossil fuels.
Net Gallons – Measurement in U.S. gallons with temperature and barometric adjustments. Gallons normalized to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. More information on net verses gross gallons.
Octane – Rating used to measure gasoline’s ability to resist premature detonation which causes an engine to knock. The higher the octane, the greater the resistance.
Oxygenated – Fuels required by the EPA to have higher levels of oxygen in order to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in winter months.
Pour Point – Pour point is the minimum temperature at which a lubricants turns into semi solid and almost loss its flow characteristics.
Purification – The final process of refining, and includes combining processed products to create various octane levels, vapor pressure properties, and special properties for products used in extreme environments.
RBOB – From an investment standpoint, the terms “petrol” or “gasoline” refer to Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygen Blending (RBOB), which is simply the term given to unleaded gas futures.
Refined Petroleum Products – Products that come out of the distillation process of crude oil such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and asphalt.
Refinery – An installation that manufactures finished products from crude oil, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, other hydrocarbons and oxygenates.
Retail – Commonly known as gas stations. Generally dealing with transactions of the size of 10 to 150 gallons.
RFG – (Reformulated Gas) Gasoline blended to burn cleaner and reduce smog-forming and toxic pollutants.
RINs – Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are the mechanism for insuring the prescribed levels of blending are reached. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for overseeing and enforcing blending mandates and developing regulations for RINs.
RVP – Reid Vapor Pressure. Used to measure pressure in terms of pounds per square inch (psi) such as 9.0 or 7.8 psi. Lower RVP’s are often required in summer months.
SCR Technology – Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) is an advanced active emissions control technology system that injects DEF through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine. The DEF sets off a chemical reaction converting nitrogen oxides into nitrogen, water, tiny amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and natural components of the air we breathe, which is then expelled through the vehicle tailpipe.
Separation – Separation refers to the process of distillation. Crude oil is heated in a furnace so hydrocarbons can be separated via their boiling point.
Spill Containment – Spills of chemicals, oils, sewage etc. are contained within a barrier or drainage system rather than being absorbed at the surface.
Sweet and Sour Crude Oil – Petroleum containing higher levels of sulfur is called sour crude oil. Sweet crude oil contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.
Transmix – Transmix is a mixture of refined products that forms when transported in pipelines. This mixture is typically a combination of gasoline, diesel, and/or jet fuel. Transmix processing plants use distillation to separate the products. These distillation products are further treated to form usable gasoline and diesel.
Turn Around – Originally, the term was applied to the periodic inspection and maintenance of an oil refinery. It now applies to any shutdown, slowdown or operational problem brought upon by refinery maintenance. Turnarounds are both “planned” and “unplanned”.
UCC Systems – Universal commercial code (UCC) is a set of laws that provide legal rules and regulations governing business dealings to unify transactions across different states.
Unbranded Gasoline – Gasoline that is not sold under a refiner’s trademark. Unbranded gasoline cannot be sold to a branded retail location.
Un-denatured – A change in the usual nature of a substance or the change in the physical properties of a substance.
Upstream – Term applying to functions or facilities close to the wellhead. Drilling and production are generally upstream processes in the oil patch while refining and marketing are downstream.
Vapor Recovery – The process of recovering the vapors of gasoline or other fuels so they do not escape into the atmosphere. This is often done (or required by law) at filling stations in order to reduce noxious and potentially explosive fumes and pollution.