Glossary

Since the performance in global projects is about communication to co-ordinate global and local initiatives, it appeared imperative to create this glossary.

You will find words related to technology as well as commercial and contractual terms.

For each word you will find a definition as short and simple as possible and comments to make the best use of it.

With new technologies and new practices, new words or new understandings to come up at any time, feel free to comment. We expect to handle this section as a permanent  interactive learning session.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution

Bio-Plastic : Definition: Bio-Plastic refers to plastic produced out of biomass as all so called bio-products. They belong to the bio-based chemical family. They may be used for industrial fibers (bio-fibers) and chemicals (bio-chemical). The bio-platics are biodegradable through composting. Some can be composted under the harsher conditions of domestic composting, while others biodegrade in the soil. Comments: The bio-platics are innovative chemical products made of substances obtained from plants, such as corn starch, and biodegradable polymers obtained both from renewable raw materials and fossil raw materials. Manufactured in granular form and they can be processed using the most common transformation techniques for plastics. Bio-platics can be used to create products whose characteristics are similar to or even better than those of traditional plastics, but which are perfectly biodegradable and compostable. Bio-platics may be complected with variable quantities of biodegradable polymeric complexing agents to create a variety of molecular superstructures with a wide range of properties that can be put to many different uses. Bio-plastics have numerous applications and areas to be used. Examples include agricultural applications (mulching film, twine), catering (plates, cutlery, cups, and trays), packaging (fresh fruit and vegetables, muesli, bakery products), accessories, toys and biofiller for the automotive sector. The bio-plastics are part of the fastest growing markets of the Oil & Gas and Petrochemical industry, thus the development of the bio-plastics technologies are at the source of new business model for most of the Majors.
Bitumen : Definition Bitumen refers to an oil-based non crystalline solid substance produced naturally or from crude oil refining. Bitumen is mostly composed of highly condensed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. After refining, Bitumen is the more viscous, heaviest and thickest petroleum derivative. Comments Natural bitumen is an unconventional oil, sticky, looking like tar and more viscous than molasses. It must be heated or diluted to flow. Bitumen may be easily diluted in carbon disulphide. The hydrocarbons contained in the bitumen have very heavy molecules, heavier than pentane, and have a boiling point above 525°C. Bitumen can be found in the nature such as in Alberta in Canada, along the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela and in Oman. This Bitumen is explored and developed to produced synthetic oil called syncrude. In Canada the synthetic oil represents 28% of the oil production. This production is consuming a lot of energy and is carbon intensive but the reserves of unconventional oil accumulated in the Canadian bitumen are bigger than the conventional reserves accumulated around the Persian Gulf. This natural bitumen may also contain up to 5% of sulfur, heavy metals and other impurities which must be removed in refining. During the refining process, the light fractions, rich in napthenes, of this natural bitumen are separated by distillation to produce the naphtha, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) gasoline and diesel, while the heavy fractions, rich in asphaltenes, are collected for making asphalt. The asphalt as a very similar looking as bitumen, so that in North America this asphalt is commonly called \"Asphalt cement\" or \"refined bitumen\" or shortly named \"bitumen\" as well. In fact asphalt contains 5% bitumen as distillation residues. But this bitumen residue in the asphalt does not mean that bitumen is a residue of asphalt, it is just the result of an uncompleted distillation of the bitumen itself. Bitumen is used in many applications, such as road construction, roofing, infrastructures proofing, reservoirs and pool lining, adhesives, sealant and water proofing agent.
Blowout preventer : Definition : The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) is a safety equipment to prevent the well to blowout. Designed and engineered for high oil and gas pressures, it is installed on the top of the well casing to contain anything to pass through and generate sub-sea leakages or surface explosion. Comments The BOP is designed as a large valve installed at the top of a well that may be closed in the case of losing the control of drilling or production operations. By closing this valve (usually operated remotely via hydraulic actuators), the drilling crew usually regains control of the reservoir. Then the normal procedure is to inject massive quantity of mud to generate a counter pressure until it is possible to open the BOP again and retain pressure control of the formation of fluids in the risers. Each BOP is selected to match with the requirements of each well. This selection is critical to optimize emergency operations. BOPs come in a variety of styles, sizes and pressure ratings. There are different types of BOP, depending on their technology they are designed to: - Seal around tubular components in the well, like a rubber doughnut, the annular BOP. - Close over an open well bore, the ram BOP. - Cut through the drill pipe with hardened steel shearing surfaces. An annular BOP has a rubber sealing element that, when activated, seals the annulus between the kelly, the drill pipe, or the drill collar. If no part of the drill stem is in the hole, the annular BOP closes on the open hole. The ability to seal on a variety of pipe sizes is one advantage the annular BOP has over the ram BOP. While not considered as reliable in sealing over the open hole as around pipes, the elastomeric sealing doughnut is required by API specifications to seal adequately over the open hole as part of its certification process. Ram BOP are large steel rams, that have sealing elements. One type of ram BOP is called a pipe ram because it closes on the drill pipe; it cannot seal on open hole. Blind ram BOP are straight-edged rams used to close an open hole. A ram BOP consists of two halves of a cover for the well that are split down the middle. In the ram BOP, large-diameter hydraulic cylinders, normally retracted, force the two halves of the cover together in the middle to seal the wellbore. The halves of the covers, formally called ram blocks, are available in a variety of configurations. In some designs, they are flat at the mating surfaces to enable them to seal over an open well bore. Other designs have a circular cutout in the middle that corresponds to the diameter of the pipe in the hole to seal the well when pipe is in the hole. These pipe rams effectively seal a limited range of pipe diameters. Variable-bore rams are designed to seal a wider range of pipe diameters, albeit at a sacrifice of other design criteria, notably element life and hang-off weight. The various ram blocks can be changed in the ram BOP, enabling the drilling crew to optimize BOP configuration for the particular hole section or operation in progress. Also, some well control techniques require both the annular BOP and the ram BOP to create a BOP stack. Most BOP stacks contain at least one annular BOP at the top of the BOP stack, and one or more ram BOP below. As a critical safety equipment the BOP is inspected, tested and refurbished at regular intervals determined by a combination of risk assessment, local practice, well type and legal requirements. BOP tests vary from daily function testing on critical wells to monthly or less frequent testing on wells thought to have low risk after performing the risks assessments.
BOE : Definition: BOE is the acronym of Barrel of Oil Equivalent – a unit of energy based on the approximate energy released by burning one barrel of Crude oil. One Barrel contains 42 US gallons or 158.9873 litres of light crude oil which will produce 5.8 × 106 British Thermal Units (million BTU or mBTU) according to the US Internal Revenue Service. This figure in an average value since oil has different grades which may provide slightly different heating values. One BOE is roughly equivalent to 5,800 cf of natural gas or 58 CCF. The USGS takes a BOE for 6,000 cubic feet (170 cubic meters) of typical natural gas. Comment: The use of the BOE has significantly increased on the last 10 years for two main reasons: - The development of the heavy crude oil - The growing need of the Major International Oil Companies (IOCs) to consolidate their gas production with oil production The Exploration and Production of heavy crude oil and the so called extra or ultra heavy crude oil, has increased continuously these last ten years with large projects in Venezuela, Canada, Oman or China. Today more than 50% of the crude oil trading is made of heavy crude oil which has partly caused all the revamping and upgrading programs of the refineries in the world to accept it. This heavy crude oil has a potential heating value much lower than the light crude oil taken as a reference, so the BOE is used to compare and trade all crude oils on the same base in respect with their grade. Regarding the use of the BOE for gas consolidation with oil, this more recent, about five years old. Until then the financial performances of the IOCs listed in the different stock exchange markets where measured mainly in respect with their number of barrels produced per day and per year. In addition at that time the gas market prices were very low and could not be used as a financial performances indicator for these companies. But the depletion of the old oil fields and the difficulties for the IOCs to acquire majority stakes in new oil fields has cause the Majors to publish year after year declining figures regarding this number of oil barrel produced. In the same time the gas market prices increased and these IOCs spent massive capital expenditure to develop new gas fields especially to produce valuable Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Gas-To-Liquid (GTL). So the share of gas production has continuously increased in the portfolio of the IOCs, so much as today, Shell is making more revenues out of gas than out of oil. Therefore these IOCs such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Total,ENI, etc..., needed to adopt another production performances indicator easy to capture for the financial community and decided to publish their results in BOE to facilitate consolidation between oil and gas and comparison in production year to year.
BOP : Definition: BOP is the acronym of Blow Out Preventer or Blowout Preventer. The Blow Out Preventer (BOP) is a safety equipment to prevent the well to blowout. Designed and engineered for high oil and gas pressures, it is installed on the top of the well casing to contain anything to pass through and generate sub-sea leakages or surface explosion. Comments The BOP is designed as a large valve installed at the top of a well that may be closed in the case of losing the control of drilling or production operations. By closing this valve (usually operated remotely via hydraulic actuators), the drilling crew usually regains control of the reservoir. Then the normal procedure is to inject massive quantity of mud to generate a counter pressure until it is possible to open the BOP again and retain pressure control of the formation of fluids in the risers. Each BOP is selected to match with the requirements of each well. This selection is critical to optimize emergency operations. BOPs come in a variety of styles, sizes and pressure ratings. There are different types of BOP, depending on their technology they are designed to: - Seal around tubular components in the well, like a rubber doughnut, the annular BOP. - Close over an open well bore, the ram BOP. - Cut through the drill pipe with hardened steel shearing surfaces. An annular BOP has a rubber sealing element that, when activated, seals the annulus between the kelly, the drill pipe, or the drill collar. If no part of the drill stem is in the hole, the annular BOP closes on the open hole. The ability to seal on a variety of pipe sizes is one advantage the annular BOP has over the ram BOP. While not considered as reliable in sealing over the open hole as around pipes, the elastomeric sealing doughnut is required by API specifications to seal adequately over the open hole as part of its certification process. Ram BOP are large steel rams, that have sealing elements. One type of ram BOP is called a pipe ram because it closes on the drill pipe; it cannot seal on open hole. Blind ram BOP are straight-edged rams used to close an open hole. A ram BOP consists of two halves of a cover for the well that are split down the middle. In the ram BOP, large-diameter hydraulic cylinders, normally retracted, force the two halves of the cover together in the middle to seal the wellbore. The halves of the covers, formally called ram blocks, are available in a variety of configurations. In some designs, they are flat at the mating surfaces to enable them to seal over an open well bore. Other designs have a circular cutout in the middle that corresponds to the diameter of the pipe in the hole to seal the well when pipe is in the hole. These pipe rams effectively seal a limited range of pipe diameters. Variable-bore rams are designed to seal a wider range of pipe diameters, albeit at a sacrifice of other design criteria, notably element life and hang-off weight. The various ram blocks can be changed in the ram BOP, enabling the drilling crew to optimize BOP configuration for the particular hole section or operation in progress. Also, some well control techniques require both the annular BOP and the ram BOP to create a BOP stack. Most BOP stacks contain at least one annular BOP at the top of the BOP stack, and one or more ram BOP below. As a critical safety equipment the BOP is inspected, tested and refurbished at regular intervals determined by a combination of risk assessment, local practice, well type and legal requirements. BOP tests vary from daily function testing on critical wells to monthly or less frequent testing on wells thought to have low risk after performing the risks assessments.
BOT : Definition: BOT is the acronym of Build-Own-Transfer or Build-Operate-Transfer. BOT is a business term which defines a specific three stages contract for greenfield projects. Comments Usually an end user willing to build a new plant from greenfield goes along the investment decision process until the final investment decision (FID). Assuming that the project is profitable and meets all the requirements of the end user, this FID is also depending on the financing decision. The project financing may be provided by loans and cash with the support of external lenders. All these loans and cash represent the capital expenditure (CAPEX) to be invested in the project. Then, once in operation, the end user must plan resources in money, called operations expenditure (OPEX), and staff to run the plant. All together the CAPEX and the OPEX will define the cash-flow, in and out, of the project during its construction phase, then in operations during all the reference period, usually more than 20 years of the project. Then the end user will consolidate the cash-flow of this particular project with the cash-flow resulting from the: - Actual plants in operations - Decided projects already under execution - Other projects still to be decided - Financing market If the cash-flow of that particular project synchronizes well over the years, and assuming that all the projects have similar return on capital employed (ROCE), the end user may make its FID as the operator and owner of the project. If that synchronization shows peaks at certain periods of time in the cash-flow of the end user along the years to come, he usually postpones it to match. But in some cases, the end user may not be willing to postpone it for whatever reasons, and therefore he may investigate alternative solutions. The BOT is one of them as the end user transfers to a third party all the costs, CAPEX and OPEX, for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation of the greenfield facility. B for Build All the third parties companies willing to bid for a BOT project shall take care of the design, engineering and construction of the plant based on the end user requirements. By comparison with a usual project where the end users imposes its qualified vendors lists and detailed technical requirements to be used for the project execution, in the case of a BOT project, the end user is limiting his requirements to the performances and functionality of the plant. All the detailed requirements and vendors lists will be left to the third party. In addition the BOT contract will include a precisely defined period of construction, since the end user shall expect the production to start at a contractual date. This contractual date exists also in classical engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, but in the case of a BOT contract the penalties are based on the value of the production instead of the value of the project. O for Own or Operate Once the new facility has been built and is ready to run into operations, all the employees and operating costs (OPEX) are also left to the third party. It means that the third party shall have the know-how beyond engineering and construction to operate in a safe and profitable manner the new plant. During the qualification process, the third parties bidding shall provide evidence of their capabilities to meet local good practices and regulations. In compensation the end user will pay fees to the operating third party. These fees may be calculated on the volume of production and a fixed amount to be payed periodically regardless of the volume of production. This new facility will therefore have only one customer, the end user. These fees are covered by a leasing contract between the end user and the third party. This leasing contract is a long term contract defined according to the expected first life cycle of the plant, 15 to 30 years in the oil and gas and petrochemical industry. T for Transfer The BOT as the other leasing contracts means that the end user and the third party have agreed from day one of the contract to transfer the facility from the third party to the end user at the end of the leasing period. The amount of this transfer or at least the calculation mode of the amount is also predefined in the BOT contract from day one. In using a BOT contract an end user can erase the peaks of cash-flow related to a greenfield project from its balance sheet, replacing debts and CAPEX by costs and OPEX. Assuming that the most strategic projects are supposed to provide the best ROCE, the BOT contract will be used for secondary projects, but anyway necessary to build at inconvenient period of time. In compensation the end user accepts to leave to the third party a part of his decision regarding all the detailed of the requirements. Since the third party must be able to design, construct and operate, for the count of the end user, this broad range of capabilities may limit the number of potential bidders. Thus the BOT contracts will be used mostly for greenfield projects easy to build, easy to operate and profitable to transfer for both parties. The end user will make the decision to go for BOT contract before the the FID.
Brownfield : Definition: Brownfield refers to project of expansion or revamping or services on an existing facility By opposition greenfield is the common word to describe a new project. Comments In that respect a brownfield investment covers also the situation where a company or government entity purchases or leases existing production facilities to launch a new production activity. This is one strategy used in foreign-direct investment Brownfield word is not a quote reserved to the oil and gas and petrochemical industry, but it finds in this sector some fundamental reasons to be used more than elsewhere. The oil and gas and petrochemical plants are running outdoor and therefore are exposed to local weather conditions. Most of the constructions are based on steel structures to support kilometers of pipes and tonnes of tanks and receivers. In addition the processes are handling with very corrosive chemical agents. It means that even if all the measures are taken to maintain an oil and gas and petrochemical plant as safe and clean as possible this industry combines all the parameters to turn brown any piece of metal. In the oil and gas and petrochemical industry it is admitted that the capital expenditure to decommission a plant and decontaminate the site may be very close to the construction costs. This ratio gives an idea of the constraints to consider a brownfield project. If we stick to the brownfield strict definition, such a project is about expansion only. But the reality is that any expansion work cannot be performed without including revamping operations, for example for the utilities, and upgrading existing processes to leverage the whole investement. Brownfield projects should be reserved to existing facilities to be expanded, revamped or upgraded while greenfield project will still be used in the case of adding a new production unit in the existing plant. That is a typical situation when oil and gas companies build a large integrated refinery and petrochemical complex where new units will be added regularly on the downstream side to produce new derivatives. In the oil and gas and petrochemical industry, brownfield applies mainly in the downstream activities, not only because of the color of the structure but also because the development plan is in not the same as in upstream. Any upstream project is thought from day one to be developed in the allocated block over a period of 20 years or 30 years. Each phase has been planned long time ahead so that upstream project remains greenfield all along. In downstream a plant is designed to fit in a certain space far more restricted than a block with many construction constraints due to the site location, therefore a brownfield project shall be considered only when extreme situations are reached. Greenfield projects take years to come on stream and require a lot of capital expenditure, while the brownfield projects normally go on fast track, but may be disruptive for running operations and face a lot of constraints. In both cases, greenfield and brownfield, the operating companies and engineering companies must co-operate closely together along the FEED and EPC phases to complete the work on time and budget.
Butadiene : Definition: Butadiene is the head of the C4 olefins family. Butadiene is a gas that condensates at -4.5°C. Mainly produced as byproducts from Ethylene by Ethane by steam cracking at high temperature (900°C), the Butadiene can also be obtained by Butane dehydrogenation or from Ethanol. Comments: Butadiene is mostly converted into Styrene Butadiene or Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) more well known as synthetic Rubber Polybutadiene is also used in tyres and can be used as an intermediate in the production of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). ABS is widely used in items such as telephones, computer casings and other appliances.
Butanol or n-Butanol : Definition: n-Butanol stands for normal butanol and may be short named as NBA. n-Butanol is a clear, colorless liquid that is flammable with a characteristic banana-like odor n-Butanol may also be called n-butyl alcohol or 1-Butyl alcohol or Butanolen or Butanol Comments: n-Butanol demonstrates an overall low order of toxicity. Market literature classifies n-butanol as both an oxo-chemical derivative and a plasticizer alcohol for market purposes. The uses of n-butanol vary by geographic area, but in general it is used to make other chemicals, or used as a solvent or an ingredient in formulated products such as cosmetics. - Acrylate esthers and methacrylate esters - Glycol ethers - n-Butyl acetate - Amino resins - n-Butylamines The manufacturing process first generates n-butyraldehyde using propylene, carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen gas (H2) as feedstock. By using low-pressure technology and a triphenylphosphine rhodium hydrocarbonyl catalyst, approximately eight to ten times more n-butyraldehyde is produced than isobutyraldehyde. The n-butyraldehyde is then reacted with H2 to form n-butanol and Isobutanol as a by-product. One of the most important application in using n-Butanol and its derivatives is the water-based coatings formulations of all kinds. Analysts estimate that nearly 70 percent of all exterior architectural paints and as much as 85 percent of interior paints are now water-based. For butanol, butyl acrylate and butyl acetate, become increasingly important in following uses: - Solvent for paints, coatings, varnishes, resins, gums, dyes, camphor, vegetable oils, dyes, fats, waxes, resins, shellac, rubbers, and alkaloids. - Solvent in the purification of polyolefins, Alkyd resin coatings - Intermediate in manufacturing other chemicals, esters of herbicides pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicine - Swelling agent in textiles - Manufacturing safety glass, hydraulic fluids, and detergent formulations. - Formulating brake fluids. - Extractant in manufacturing antibiotics, vitamins, and hormones - Manufacturing garments from polyvinyl butyral-coated fabric, - Cement additive to increase the fineness - Ore floatation agents - Melamine formaldehyde resins