With the oil and gas sector such a prominent part of life in Qatar, you will inevitably strike up conversation with someone working in the industry. Drill into this reservoir of terminology!

Associated gas: natural gas found as part of, or in conjunction with, other oil constituents. 

Barrels: the basic unit for measuring oil, one barrel is 159 litres or 42 US gallons.

Barrels per calendar day (b/cd): the total number of barrels processed in a refinery within a year, divided by 365 days.

Barrels per stream day (b/sd): the number of barrels processed by a refining facility within 24 hours, at full capacity under optimal conditions.

Blow-down: when condensate and gas is produced simultaneously from the outset of production. 

Blow-out: when well pressure exceeds the ability of the wellhead valves to control it. Oil and gas ‘blow wild’ at the surface.

BTU: British Thermal Unit is a measure of heating value, also used to compare energy potential in different types of fuels.

Catalytic cracking: large hydrocarbon molecules are broken down into smaller, more useful ones. Using a catalyst speeds up the chemical reactions in the cracking process.

Composite barrel: a consumption weighted average of retail prices (including taxes) of the main groups of refined petroleum products.

Condensates: a mixture of propane, butane, pentane and heavier hydrocarbon fractions. Qatar Petroleum produces Deodorized Field Condensate (DFC) as a result of liquefaction of natural gas found in Qatar’s North Field, and Qatar Low Sulphur Field Condensate (QLSC). 

Crude oil: a naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits. Crude oil can be refined to produce usable products such as gasoline, diesel and various forms of petrochemicals. 

Derrick: the tower‑like structure housing most of the drilling controls. It is used around oil wells and other drilled holes, and is a complex set of machines specifically designed for optimum efficiency, safety and low cost. 

Distillates: a liquid product condensed from vapor during distillation. Includes products similar to heating oils and diesel fuels. 

Downstream: the refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products derived from crude oil and natural gas. 

Dry hole: a well found to be incapable of producing either oil or gas in sufficient quantities to justify completion as an oil or gas well.

Equivalent barrels: natural gas/natural gas liquids translated into barrels of oil based on equal energy content – six thousand cubic feet of gas (6 MCF) is approximately one barrel of oil.

Exploration: searching for oil and gas using aerial and geophysical surveys, geological studies, core testing and the drilling of test wells.

Feedstock: a basic material used to produce goods, finished products, energy, or intermediate materials which are feedstock for future finished products in the fuel, plastic, industrial chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Field: an area of land used to extract petroleum or gas. Qatar’s proven reserves in the North Field, which it shares with Iran, have increased to 1,760 tn cubic feet (50 tn cubic metres).

Flaring: The burning of natural gas for safety reasons, or when gas cannot be transported to market or use the gas for other purposes. The practice is being reduced as pipelines are completed and due to environmental concerns. 

Fracking: slang for hydraulic fracturing, creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. Fractures can also exist naturally in formations, and both types of fractures can be widened by fracking, allowing more oil and gas to be extracted from a given area of land.

Gasoline: a mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons, with or without small quantities of additives, that have been blended to form a fuel suitable for use in internal combustion engines; includes gasoline used in aviation.

Gross production: the total flow of natural gas from oil and gas reservoirs of associated‑dissolved and non‑associated gas.

Gusher: an oil well with great pressure meaning oil erupts out of the well head. Improved modern drilling methods mean gushers are now rare.

Kerosene: medium hydrocarbon distillates in the 150° to 280°C distillation range, used as a heating fuel, for certain types of internal combustion engines and jet fuel for aircraft turbine engines.

LNG: liquefied natural gas at a temperature of -258° F; can be stored and transported as a liquid.

Midstream: the transportation (by pipeline, rail, barge, oil tanker or truck), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products. 

Natural gas: a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds and small quantities of various non‑hydrocarbons existing in the gaseous phase or in solution with oil in natural underground reservoirs. 

Natural gas liquids (NGLs): reservoir gases liquefied at the surface in lease separators (which separate the well stream volume into parts defined by temperature and pressure conditions), field facilities or gas processing plants. NGLs consist of field condensates and natural gas plant products such as ethane, pentane, propane, butane and natural gasoline.

Non‑associated gas: produced from gas fields which do not produce any crude oil.

OPEC: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental organisation, created at the Baghdad Conference in September 1960 by five Founder Members: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Qatar joined in 1961 and ended membership in January 2019.  

P&A (plugged and abandoned): a depleted well or dry hole that has been filled with cement and with all surface equipment removed.

Petroleum products: processed from crude oil, unfinished oils, NGLs and other hydrocarbon compounds. Include aviation and motor gasoline, naphtha, kerosene, jet fuel, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas, lubricants, paraffin wax, and asphalt.

Probable reserves: estimated reserves factoring in geology and similar types of reservoirs. 

Proven reserves: reserves shown to be technically and economically viable (usually having a better than 90% chance of being produced). Qatar has the third largest natural gas proven reserves.

Recoverable reserves: the proportion of the oil and gas in a reservoir that can be removed using currently available techniques.

Refinery capacity (operable): the maximum amount of input to crude oil distillation units that can be processed in an average 24 hour period.

Reservoir: an underground formation where commercially viable oil and gas has accumulated. Porous rock holds the oil or gas, and a cap rock prevents its escape.

Residual fuel oil: a low-value petroleum product, a heavy oil grade by-product that remains after distillate fuel oils and lighter hyddrocarbons are used as a fuel in furnaces for power plants and industrial boilers, and also for ships, where it is known as bunker fuel.

Rig: a derrick with engine‑house and other equipment necessary for drilling oil and gas wells.

Roughnecks and roustabouts: drill crew members who work on the derrick floor.

Shrinkage: volume shrinkage due to purification and/or extraction of NGLs, gas used as input to gas‑to‑liquid plants, lease separators and any other losses caused by spillage, evaporation, etc.

Upstream: also known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector, searching for potential underground or underwater crude oil and natural gas fields, drilling of exploratory wells, and subsequently drilling and operating the wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface.

Well (exploratory and development): a hole drilled for the purpose of finding or producing crude oil or natural gas, or providing services related to the production of crude oil and natural gas.

Author: Sarah Palmer

This is an editorial from Marhaba Information Guide – M81.

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.

Leave a Reply