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Exploring Oil Data:

A Reporter's Handbook

Contents

Foreword .......................................................................4
Big Data to Play With.....................................................5
Oil and Gas Media........................................................14
Top 10 Blogs.................................................................20
Top 20 Twitter Feeds....................................................25
What the Wonks Say....................................................29
What the Suits Say......................................................35
Jargon Buster: Glossary................................................39

Foreword
Big Data are coming to oil and gas. Right now, you can see who drilled to what
depth in the North Sea last week. The Canadian province of Nova Scotia posted
geological data it had gathered at a cost of $15 million on the Net to encourage in vestors, who closed eventually with a $900 million commitment. The Brazilian company Petrobras is talking of using open source algorithms to increase efficiency of
interpretation. And it's only just beginning.
At the level of production and exploration, data acquisition has increased exponentially and interpretative algorithms by an order of dimension again, functions of
both Moore's Law of processor power and the end of Easy Oil. BP hired ships to pro cess terabytes of data in place when surveying an area of Libyan waters the area of
Ireland. Oil companies are talking in terms of the Digital Oil Field and satellite imagery and surveillance aircraft use heat imaging and gravimetric techniques to ex trapolate information below ground at costs which are dropping by the year. Meters
measure flows through pipelines to a fraction of a percent across multiple grades of
crude oil and transmit their data to a gathering centre in real-time.
Downstream, EITI reports and initiatives such as the Open Government Initiative
are beginning to yield data about money flows. Dodd-Frank, a law passed by the US
Congress in 2010, is about to increase the flow of financial reporting by most oil
and gas majors exponentially, simply to comply with requirements to list on US financial markets.
And this is before we get to the growing ability of semantic techniques to mine
large public data repositories to establish network graphs of acquaintance or busi ness interest, and the gradual, machine-assisted dissolution of the language barrier
to distributing such information in dozens of languages around the world. And the
rising assertiveness of public and transnational civil society, empowered to use
such technologies, to be informed and consulted on decisions and operations that
play a large part in determining their economic future.
At OpenOil we believe these trends predict something that still seems unimaginable to many today an open oil industry whose profit centre, rents and operation al workings are as visible as other business sectors, within a decade. For that to
happen, as much Big Data as possible needs also to become public domain data.
This guide to oil and gas data, therefore, represents a very modest first step in
chronicling that evolution. We hope it is useful to all those who need to know about
how the global energy infrastructure works.

Johnny West
Founder, OpenOil

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

Big Data to Play With


EI Sourcebook
Overview
The Extractive Industries Sourcebook (EI
Sourcebook), established in 2010, is a World
Bank funded project in collaboration with the
en, (fr)
LANGUAGE
University of Dundee, think tanks, universitFOOTPRINT:
ies, and civil society groups. It was established in parallel with the World Bank funded
1949-2011
HISTORICAL
social network "GOXI", or Governance of the
COVERAGE:
Extractive
Industries
(goxi.org)
which
Global
GEOGRAPHICAL
provides a platform for those working in the
COVERAGE:
field to connect and share ideas and experiences. The EI Sourcebook draws together
Weekly
UPDATES:
expertise on extractives revenue manage@eisourcebook
TWITTER FEED:
ment from various sources into one comprehensible document outlining global best
practices. It is largely aimed at senior government officials and decision makers, but will also be of use to civil society activists and journalists.
WEBSITE:

www.eisourcebook.org

The information is split into various streams; the basic text of the Chapters, interviews with experts, "webinars" (online explanatory videos) and documents commissioned for the Source Book.

Access
Available directly from the website, the EI Sourcebook is frequently updated. Follow
the Twitter feed for updates on new material added. Following peer review, it will be
available in a downloadable pdf format.

Data Highlights
Technical terms are explained in comprehensible terms for the non-specialist, and for those
wanting to know more about a certain topic,
the Additional Reading section contains links to
much longer and more technical documents,
often summarised by the authors of the EI
Sourcebook. The Resources tab on the sidebar
contains various source streams, divided by
country and chapter.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH


Within the chapter text are different types
of media, such as this diagram which references an IMF publication on Production
Sharing Agreements, as well as graphs created by Sourcebook authors from publicly
available data-sets and charts. Presentations from partner organisations are made
available in embedded slideshows.

Pop-up shaded boxes highlight case studies


of good practice, for example Box 6.8
which gives easily digested information
about Brazil's petroleum sector organisation. The boxes provide real-world examples
of concepts covered, as well as further explanation of important issues.

LOOK OUT FOR...

Chapter 3: The Extractive Industries


...serves as an introduction to governance
of the oil or gas sector, the challenges
faced by those tasked with governance
policies (Section 3.1) and includes a
primer on why sector governance varies so
much between countries, and between different extractive industries (Section 3.2).

Chapter 5: Policy, Legal and Contractual Framework


... is a window onto a vast array of contracts and legislation, organised by country.
Such documents can prove difficult to access, but can provide useful background
for understanding how a country's oil sector is governed. Click on the drop-down
Resources menu to see a growing library of oil laws and regulations, agreements
and model contracts.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

Energy Information Administration (EIA)


Overview
WEBSITE:

www.eia.gov

LANGUAGE
FOOTPRINT:

en

HISTORICAL
COVERAGE:

1949-2011

GEOGRAPHICAL
COVERAGE:

Global (215 countries)

UPDATES:

Weekly/monthly

TWITTER FEED:

@EIAgov

As the statistical and analytical agency within the US Department of Energy, on which
many domestic policymakers rely, EIA is understandably US-centric. The Wednesday
morning release of their weekly oil report
can move world oil markets. A legal safeguard ensures that EIA materials are produced independently of policy considerations, but that did not stop the Wall Street
Journal from making accusations in 2010
that EIA's data integrity was threatened and
its methodologies flawed.

The emphasis is on demand, supply and


prices. As well as raw data, the EIA pulls together the figures into easily understandable trends. Much analysis focuses on energy issues relevant to the White House, such as emerging commodity producers
and the unconventional fuels boom in the US.
The annual flagship publication is the Annual Energy Review (and the International Energy Review). But there are also extensive publications aimed at different audiences
which you can get delivered by email. Stand-outs are the Country Analysis Briefs,
which give a useful bird's eye view on the sector country-by-country, and Today in
Energy, a series of bite-sized articles and charts.

Access
The monthly energy reviews can be downloaded in PDF format, MS Excel and CSV.
To access and search the raw data, go to (Geography > Country > International En ergy Statistics).

Highlights
The educational thrust of the agency means
that there are plenty of materials to fill in
knowledge gaps on issues ranging from the
environmental impact of the oil and gas industry to the pros and cons of biofuels. Including a welcome energy unit conversion
calculator.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

How might I use it?


SEE AT-A-GLANCE DATA ON A MAP...

Let's say what you need is some background


information on the reserve or production
levels of a certain producing country, easily
displayed and easy to contrast with surrounding nations. Going to Geography >
Maps from the homepage will bring up a colour-coded map of world production, consumption and reserve levels, where you can
browse basic statistics.

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK...

For more in-depth information, go to the individual country pages for an at-a-glance
overview of the sector in a particular country, where you can download the full Country Analysis Briefs (available for 44 countries
at time of writing) in PDF format. Topics
covered include reserves, production, infrastructure and power generation, compete
with a full list of sources.

PLAY WITH THE DATA...

Alternatively to see this data in its raw


format, see the 'International Energy Statistics' tab at the foot of the page and search
for data yourself. You can browse by fuel, indicator or by country. Data is available on
production, consumption, electricity generation and consumption, primary energy and
energy intensity Just scroll through the
tabs, choose, CO2 emission, imports and exports, Just choose your time frame and
download in Excel format.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

BP Statistical Review of World Energy


Overview
WEBSITE:

www.bp.com/statisticalreview

LANGUAGE
FOOTPRINT:

en, cn

HISTORICAL
COVERAGE:

1965-2011

GEOGRAPHICAL Global (48 countries)


COVERAGE:
UPDATES:

Annual

In the company's own words, BP has been


providing 'timely and objective data about
energy economics since 1951'. Indeed, as a
go-to for up-to-date figures on production
and reserve levels in a glossy and easily
navigable format the BP Statistical Review is
hard to beat. What started as an internally
circulated document addressing the dearth
of information on global oil and gas markets
is now quoted by industry publications, media and academia.

Data tables on oil and gas production, reserves, prices, refining, consumption and
trade movements are interspersed with colourful graphics and icons, as well as sections on coal, nuclear, hydroelectricity and
renewables. Commentary sections also help to make the links between this year's
data and long-term energy trends.
TWITTER FEED:

@BP_America

Access
Report download-able as PDF (in full or individual sections) or entire workbook as
MS Excel file. 26-slide packs of Powerpoint slides are even available of charts, maps
and graphs, or infographics.

Highlights
For a 5-minute primer on the events that shook the world over the past year in
dazzling infographic format, the Energy in Numbers video on the homepage will fill
you in, or alternatively be talked through it all in a fireside chat with BP's chief eco nomist.

How might I use it?


The stack graph to the right is
an example of the BP data in
action. It has been put together
by taking the regional totals of
carbon dioxide emissions since
1964. The graph structure allows both the overall pattern of
growing global use and also
changing regional trends to
emerge, such as flattening
emissions in Europe and rising
emissions in Asia.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

Another use scenario of the


BP data is the map to the
right. The spreadsheet data
provided the basis to look at
changing energy balances
country by country over the
last 20 years. The countries
highlighted are those which
have
experienced
the
greatest change for the
worse, that is to say, the
greatest increase in oil deficits, and are colour-coded according to the amount they
need to import.

International Energy Agency (IEA)


Overview
WEBSITE:

www.iea.org/stats

LANGUAGE
FOOTPRINT:

en, ru, cn

HISTORICAL
COVERAGE:

Archives available 1999-date

GEOGRAPHICAL
COVERAGE:

34 countries (OECD) and 154


(non-OECD).

UPDATES:

Monthly

The IEA, an influential actor in the gathering


and analysis of global energy statistics, has
been around since 1974 coordinating policy
among consumer countries and has come to
be known as the "consumer's OPEC". As a
data source, it is the place to go for an an
authoritative source of data on supply,
transformation and consumption of major
energy sources.

While it may be a less glossy product than


the offerings by BP and Eni, the IEA does dip
its toe into the infographics world with some
@IEA
TWITTER FEED:
dynamic maps showing European gas flows
and various energy indicators. Data sets are
searchable by country, region or product, or alternatively over 70 publications a
year on oil, natural gas, prices and electricity can be downloaded for free. In addi tion, there are 30 priced publications a year released through the online bookshop
on paper, PDF or CD-ROM.
The IEA's Energy Statistics Manual is available in nine languages and is a good primer
to help sift through some of the jargon used in the data sets themselves.

Access
Accessible online, or archived monthly surveys downloadable free of charge in PDF
or MS Excel format (see 'Publications/surveys free for download' under 'Statistics'
tab).
The IEA also offers an online data service, either using novel 'pay-per-view' data
cards or on a more standard annual subscription (1000 'Data Points' come in at
45, while an annual subscription to the complete World Energy Statistics and Balances is priced at 1400). The data service makes use of the Beyond 20/20 browser
for easier manipulation of multi-dimensional data and creation of personalised

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

10

spreadsheets.

Highlights
The 82-page pocket-sized book of Key World Energy Statistics is aimed precisely at
non-specialist businessmen, journalists and students and means you need never be
without an an answer to those tricky questions about net Angolan energy exports.
The pocket guide contains a series of easy-to-grasp data tables and graphs.
The energy unit converter and glossary of acronyms, abbreviations and units of
measurement are also thoughtful touches for anyone who has grappled with the
distinctions between bcm, gce and gCO2/kWh!

How might I use it?


The IEA's freely available document on petroleum product prices (in either PDF or
Excel format) uses the data collected by the organisation and pulls it into the following '''graphs''' to compare price fluctuations in both gasoline and fuel oil split by
region, between 2009-2012.
In this case, the dotted line represents Japanese gasoline prices, the
line at the top represents Europe and
line at the bottom North America.
Prices charged for the various
products which can be produced out
of crude oil can vary depending on
geographical, political and other
factors, and by doing the legwork for
us the EIA demonstrates how these
differences show themselves in the
case of gasoline. The graph's source
document contains similar visualisations for data around diesel, domestic heating oil, and fuel oil for industry.
Further down the document, the full data to back up the graphical representations
are available in table form. The raw data corroborate with the graph, with average
gasoline prices in the five European countries showing somewhat higher than
prices in Japan, and significantly higher than in Canada and the United States.

11

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

World Bank Databank


Overview
Within the remit of the 'World Bank Open
Data Initiative' the bank is on a mission to
improve access to the data it collects and
en, es, fr, ar, cn
LANGUAGE
collates. Truly impressive in scope and lanFOOTPRINT:
guage footprint, their comprehensive data
repository is a real treasure trove of free-of1960-date
HISTORICAL
charge data and a valuable tool to support
COVERAGE:
research by journalists. Of the 1,200 indicatGlobal (214 countries)
GEOGRAPHICAL
ors available to browse, 'Energy and Mining'
COVERAGE:
is designated as one of the key topic
covered, under which data can be pulled up
Annual
UPDATES:
on 'GDP per unit of energy use', '% of nucle@worldbankdata
TWITTER FEED:
ar and alternative energy' and 'pump price
for gasoline ($), to name but a few. These
can be bulk downloaded as an Excel file to
be played with, or viewed as a series of ready-made graphs on the site itself. Indic ators come with useful notes to help clarify their meaning.
WEBSITE:

www.data.worldbank.org

However where the site comes into its own is the vast DataBank resource, which allows users to make customised data requests and view these made-to-measure
data sets in table, chart or map form. The slick new interface designed for DataBank
comes complete with an equally slick step-by-step tutorial to help you navigate
your way through the vast data sets available. Once you have signed up and received your login details, you are free to save any of your creations to go back and
admire in the future.

Access
A whole menu of options are available at the World Bank site, take your pick...
1. download bulk data sets by country, topic or specific indicator.
2. grab a 'widget', or snippets of code to embed on a website for automatically
updated, 'living' data.
3. use the web API to create custom visualisations and 'mashups'
4. access the full 'Databank' for customised queries and selected datasets.

Highlights
The opportunities for tailor-making your own data-sets using the World Bank tools
go far beyond the options on other sites. And true to the spirit of data journalism,
which maintains that visual images give us a deeper understanding of information,
the tool allows for the quick and easy creation of a wide range of charts and map ping options. Spotting global energy trends has never been so much fun.

BIG DATA TO PLAY WITH

12

How might I use it?


Visualisations demonstrate World Bank data in action:

A map identifying the world's top 10 energy using countries per capita (in green)
and the bottom 10 (in blue). Using the energy use per person indicator gives a vivid
picture of energy access and poverty.

Energy productivity has soared around the world in the last few decades in re sponse to rising fuel prices as this graph shows. But there are some notable exceptions. While efficiency has increased 80% in North America it has stayed constant
in Africa and dropped considerably in the Middle East.

13

OIL AND GAS MEDIA

Oil and Gas Media


Interfax Energy
BACKGROUND:

A spin off of parent company Interfax


International
Information
Group,
launched in September 2011, its content is easily navigable and, refreshingly, with very few advertisements.
Includes more lighthearted features
such as The Wildcat's Pick of the Week
blog.
FOCUS:

Exclusively, but very thorough, focus


on the gas industry, with knock-on effects of gas industry developments
also analysed.

dataBank, with country and pipeline


profiles.
COVERAGE:

Heavy coverage on developments in


Russia and the Caspian, and journalists based in Brussels to analyse
policy updates on European energy
regulation. Also covers global markets.
SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

1500 annually
WEB ADDRESS:

www.interfaxenergy.com
SUBSCRIPTION:

Includes access to daily and weekly


PDF reports as well as full access to
their website and accompanying

TWITTER:

@IFAXNews

Middle East Economic Survey


BACKGROUND:

A general energy-focused, economics


website, including political commentary, and an "Energy Fundamentals"
weekly column which provides an
overall view of the week's developments.
FOCUS:

Includes a mixture of directly related


oil and gas related breaking news
with analysis of geopolitics in the
MENA region, reporting on a weekly
basis.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Provides full access to the website as


some articles are hidden for non-subscribers as well as a weekly newslet-

ter, a monthly geopolitical risk report


and bimonthly Sustainable Energy report. The newsletters are also available online; the "Energy and Geopolitical Risk" reports provide good background to the issues covered for the
non-expert together with analysis.
COVERAGE:

MENA region
TARGET AUDIENCE:

People looking to invest in the region;


those following energy politics in the
Middle East
PRINT COPY:

In various PDF newsletter forms

OIL AND GAS MEDIA


SUBSCRIPTION:

$2725 annually

14
TWITTER:

@MidEastReview

WEB ADDRESS:

www.mees.com

Oil & Gas Eurasia


BACKGROUND:

Produced in and distributed from Russia, aims to encourage investment in


and around Russia's oil industry, and
is produced in both Russian and English. Includes a mixture of original
writing and articles re-published.
FOCUS:

Despite their official line of focusing


on the Russian oil industry, stories often cover other parts of the world.
However, they do include more articles from niche news providers, such
as Ukrainian Energy and the Bulgarian site novinite.com, than you might
find elsewhere.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Includes the print version; for nonsubscribers, there is full access to articles from the website.

COVERAGE:

Russia, CIS countries, global to a lesser extent


TARGET AUDIENCE:

Those looking to do business in Russia, though not necessarily those with


in depth industry knowledge as fairly
non-technical language is used. An
eclectic mix of industry coverage.
PRINT COPY:

Produced monthly
SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

$300 annually
WEB ADDRESS:

www.oilandgaseurasia.com
TWITTER:

@OilGasEurasia

Oil & Gas Journal


BACKGROUND:

First published in 1902 and one of six


oil industry publications produced by
US-based PennWell Petroleum Group,
their website includes a huge range
of content, from video blogs to breaking news and developments in the
unconventionals market.
FOCUS:

Heavy focus on industry news from


US perspective; their material is generally posted from Houston. No particular focus on specific sectors within
the industry.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Choice between print edition or the

digital edition subscription, with access to 12-month archive of digital


editions. Certain articles on the website require subscription (see yellow
lock next to headlines) but a majority
of articles are free to read. Other free
services include the OGJ newsletter
and other monthly reports.
COVERAGE:

Advertised as an international petroleum news source, but primarily US


centric. 52% of subscribers are US
based.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Those with a fairly advanced knowledge of the industry, as many of the

15
stories require technical proficiency;
stories under the "General Interest"
tab are recommended for a more accessible take.
PRINT COPY:

Available on subscription, produced


weekly
CIRCULATION:

June 2012 issue: 107,846 (combined


print and digital version)

OIL AND GAS MEDIA


SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

$69 annually for US print subscribers,


$108 for non-US. Digital subscription
for $49.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.ogj.com
TWITTER:

@OGJOnline

Oil Review Middle East


BACKGROUND:

Launched in 1997, a crisply-produced


magazine with a broad focus; fairly
advertising-heavy, but not in an obtrusive way.
FOCUS:

Covers upstream and downstream


sectors, but unusually also boasts
sections dedicated to technical developments and petrochemicals.
SUBSCRIPTION:

No paying subscription necessary; all


articles are available to read on the
website, updated daily. Free to sign
up to their fortnightly e-newsletter
and read current issue of the
magazine (English and Arabic) online.
COVERAGE:

leading industry contractors, and copies are circulated at the major industry exhibitions and conferences.
The technical focus section is well
suited for oil geeks wanting to know
which coating solutions have been
developed, or the latest breakthroughs in valve technology.
PRINT COPY:

Published eight times a year


CIRCULATION:

9100 annually
SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

63 annually for UK subscribers, 79


for non-UK subscribers.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.oilreview.me

Primarily Middle East


TARGET AUDIENCE:

The official line is government ministries, international oil companies and

Petroleum Africa
BACKGROUND:

Published since 2003, Petroleum Africa


employs a network of journalists
spread across the continent to give a
wide regional spread, and is the leading pan-African industry publication.

FOCUS:

Industry developments across the


African continent, without the wider
geopolitical analysis often found in
other publications which leaves many
stories short and easy to digest. Stor-

OIL AND GAS MEDIA


ies are often categorised by country
rather than by industry sector.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Access to monthly printed magazine


and full access to the website; free
subscription available to a weekly enewsletter with a news round up.
COVERAGE:

Africa
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Those wanting to know more about


the energy sector of a specific African
country (or countries), who also have
enough industry know-how to understand the technical details.

16
PRINT COPY:

Produced monthly, each print copy focuses on a different industry or country


CIRCULATION:

12,903 (October 2011)


SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

$350 for print version, $225 for digital version


WEB ADDRESS:

www.petroleumafrica.com
TWITTER:

@PetroleumAfrica

Petroleum Economist
BACKGROUND:

Founded in 1934, PE was originally


published in English, French and German twice monthly until World War II,
with Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic
editions added at various points during the 1950s when it was owned by
Shell and BP. Non-English publications
stopped in 1970s, and industry ownership ended in 1989, when the
magazine was bought by its current
owner, Euromoney.
FOCUS:

Renowned for its exclusive insider intelligence and analysis, the website
and magazine include special sections on unconventionals and LNG.
Each print copy has a regional focus.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Almost all content on the website is


subscription only; only the first few
lines are visible without subscription.
Subscription includes their print
magazine, full access to the website,
and maps from the Cartographic Services section as and when they are
published.

COVERAGE:

Team based in London, Calgary and


Singapore; global energy industry
covered.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Aimed
at
high
level
energy
strategists, current readers are toplevel management executives, academic institutions, intelligence agencies and specialist consultancies.
PRINT COPY:

Published 10 times a year


CIRCULATION:

1566 (average per issue)


SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

$2,160 annually
WEB ADDRESS:

www.petroleum-economist.com
TWITTER:

@ Peeditorial

17

OIL AND GAS MEDIA

Platts
BACKGROUND:

Leading financial information service


founded in 1909 to publish reliable
market-based price information and
level the playing field between independent oilmen and Big Oil.
FOCUS:

Financial information and intelligence


on global energy markets; a source of
benchmark price assessments in the
physical energy markets; provides
real-time information on oil prices
worldwide.
SUBSCRIPTION:

Various price assessments and indices, newsletters, and reports to


choose from for individual subscriptions.
COVERAGE:

Global
TARGET AUDIENCE:

countries; for those looking for 'insider' financial intelligence, though


subscriptions do not come cheaply.
PRINT COPY:

Depends on subscription package


CIRCULATION:

12,903 (October 2011)


SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

Varies per service- eg, digital subscription to twice monthly EU Energy


report is $1525, Oilgram Price daily
report with detailed price assessments from across the globe is
$19,995.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.platts.com
TWITTER:

@PlattsOil @Platts Gas

Traders, analysts, risks managers at


more than 10,000 public and private
sector organisations in more than 150

Rigzone
BACKGROUND:

More of an overall online industry hub


than just a news source, Rigzone aims
to be a networking site between companies, recruiters, and potential clients. Advertisements feature prominantly on the site.
FOCUS:

Clearly a hub for recruiters and oil industry job seekers, nevertheless Rigzone covers exploration and production, together with a fairly generic,
non-technical look at investment in
the sector.
SUBSCRIPTION:

No charge for any site material, including newsletters, access to a Careers Centre, and, for job-seekers, the

ability to post CVs online.


COVERAGE:

Global
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Job seekers and those looking for industry updates without an overly detailed analysis .
PRINT COPY:

Not produced.
SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

Free
WEB ADDRESS:

www.rigzone.com
TWITTER:

@Rigzone

OIL AND GAS MEDIA

18

Upstream
BACKGROUND:

Founded in 1996 with headquarters in


Norway, it has 28 full time correspondents in major industry centres.
The only mainstream 'tabloid' oil industry publication, its salmon pink
paper makes the weekly publication
stand out from its competitors, and
its irreverent style and offbeat humour have, according to the New York
Times, made it a 'must read' for those
in the oil business.
FOCUS:

Restricted to the upstream sector of


the global oil and gas industry, with a
focus on business, policy, trends and
the key players.
SUBSCRIPTION:

News is subscription only, but a short


summary of some articles can be accessed without subscription (look out
for articles without a yellow 'lock'
icon). Subscription includes a weekly
hard copy newspaper and full access
to the site and its archives.
COVERAGE:

Offices in Oslo and Stavanger in Nor-

way, London, Houston, Singapore,


Ghana and Rio de Janeiro. The printed
magazine is distributed in over 100
countries, especially the UK, Norway
and the US.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

According to a 2010 survey of subscribers conducted by Upstream, the


majority are in management functions (25% classifying themselves as
top management) with 75% influencing the strategic development of
their company.
PRINT COPY:

Published weekly, every Friday.


CIRCULATION:

6300 (average per issue)


SUBSCRIPTION FEE:

$985 annually
WEB ADDRESS:

www.upstreamonline.com
TWITTER:

@UpstreamOnline

19

TOP 10 BLOGS

Top 10 Blogs
Global focus
The Barrel

"

You say you want a


revolution, shale gas? Here
are some things to do.
The Barrel, August 2012

BACKGROUND:

Platts, a major energy market information provider, runs 'The Barrel' blog,
with posts running from hard-figure
analysis to first-person essays on energy and commodity issues. The blog
has a central news desk that links
to other resources, such as reports
from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), but also posts stories atlarge from independent contributors.
At-large blog are considered at the

email address webeditor@platts.com.


FOCUS:

Topics ranging from supply/demand,


derivatives, regulation, renewable
fuels, electricity and gas production
to carbon trading and the environment.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

As a resource for journalists, The Barrel bridges the gap between light and
heavy energy reporting, with hard
facts wrapped in a somewhat easier-to-digest narrative style.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.platts.com/weblog/oilblog

The Oil Drum

"

To my surprise, I found that


the Chinese chemical
economy is advancing
rapidly in its use of coal as
a chemical feedstock, as
opposed to crude oil in
other countries.
The Oil Drum, August 2012

BACKGROUND:

Published by the Institute for the Study


of Energy and Our Future, a non-profit
corporation in the United States. The
blog is strongly affiliated with "peak
oil" thought leaders.

FOCUS

The blog takes a forward-looking, bigpicture approach to energy issues,


looking at global trends in both the
upstream and downstream sectors,
such as oil and gas production and
demand and the development of alternative energy sources. According
to the blog's mission, it seeks to "facilitate civil, evidence-based discussions about energy and its impacts on
the future of humanity".
TARGET AUDIENCE:

The Oil Drum is a resource well-suited


to journalists and others seeking hard
figures to back up their claims. Managed and written by a group of

TOP 10 BLOGS
lifelong scientists and PhDs, the material is scientifically rigorous and
gets "geeky" in the best sense of the
word, but tries to stay digestible for
all the lay readers out there. Case in
point - the handy "acronym guide"

20
that helps decipher some of the more
esoteric industry jargon.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.theoildrum.com

Energy, Security and Climate

"

Over the long run oil


markets tend to do a good
job of balancing supply and
demand. Over the short run
theyre considerably
quirkier.
Energy, Security, Climate, August 2012

BACKGROUND:

The brainchild of three fellows at the


Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Michael A. Levi, Blake Clayton, and
Daniel P. Ahn the blog provides a

space for three think tankers to cut


loose from the institutional PDF-paper
mold.
FOCUS:

Policy challenges surrounding energy,


security, and climate change.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Anyone interested in the broader geopolitical and economic implications of


the global energy industry.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.blogs.cfr.org/levi

Crude Oil Trader

"

It's Saturday and as always


we like to check in with the
great staff at Oil N'Gold to
get their call on where
crude oil is headed.
The Crude Oil Trader, August 2012

BACKGROUND:

Produced by a team of four hawkeyed independent market watchers.


The writing is dry, to say the least,
but impeccably detailed and a useful
resource for anyone looking for an indepth look at energy and commodity

markets.
FOCUS:

Oil and gas prices and commodity


markets.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Readers in the blog's niche audience mostly finance journalists, traders or


market watchers will generally need
a basic understanding of, and high
enthusiasm for, markets and other
financial mechanisms.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.crudeoiltrader.blogspot.de

21

TOP 10 BLOGS

The Wildcat Blog

"

The key to market


efficiency is information
transparency.
The Wildcat Blog, August 2012

BACKGROUND:

Affiliated with Interfax Energy, an information and analysis provider on


global
energy
markets.
Every
Monday, the blog has a handy "Pick
of the Week" which gives readers a
head start on global goings-on for the
coming week, as well as a round-up
of the previous week's energy highlights. Their daily posts on assorted
topics are informative and smoothly
written.
FOCUS:

The Wildcat Blog doesn't have any


single focus - according to the blog's
"About" section, it provides "insight,

analysis and wit on the gas industry


from Interfax Energy reporters in
every corner of the world." A trawl
through its archives shows an emphasis on some of the more prominent currents of energy reporting, including China, the emergence of
shale gas, commodity prices, major
international companies and, as ever,
global hot spots such as Kurdistan,
Syria and Central Asia.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Journalists scouring the web for story


ideas, and other readers pressed for
time more generally, will find the
"Pick of the Week" series an outstanding resource for weekly synopses of happenings in the industry.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.interfaxenergy.com/opinion

Regional focus
Setty's notebook

"

Youd almost think that the


FARC has decided, aww,
screw it were never
going to topple capitalism,
but, by George, we can
keep Colombia below a
million barrels a day!
Setty's notebook, July 2012

BACKGROUND:

Geographer and journalist Steven


Bodzin's chatty, near-daily look at the
extractive industries of Venezuela,
Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and other countries in South America. This
isn't simply a news blog; Bodzin also
offers his opinions on some of the

more divisive issues the continent


faces.
FOCUS:

A broad overview of oil, gas and mining issues - political, economic, social
and environmental.
COVERAGE:

South America.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Approachable for those with little industry


experience,
with
Bodzin
providing context for niche stories
and brief explanations for some of
the more technical terminology.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.settysoutham.wordpress.com

TOP 10 BLOGS

22

Pipe(line) Dreams

"

Fishermen in Ghana say


the oil industry is impacting
their activities, but without
any studies, they have
nowhere to go with their
grievances.
Pipe(line) Dreams, June 2012

BACKGROUND:

A cross-platform documentary project


that takes viewers on a journey along
the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline," according to the blog's independent editor, film-maker Christiane Badgley.
FOCUS:

In tandem with Badgley's documentary films, the blog looks at the story

of oil and development and the connections between them.


COVERAGE:

West central Africa.


TARGET AUDIENCE:

Anyone interested in development


work and/or the corrupting effects of
"Big Oil". Pipeline Dreams is useful for
social activists or journalists interested in development in Africa;
Badgley's near-daily postings on issues surrounding the Chad-Cameroon
oil pipeline are symptomatic of natural resource-rich areas elsewhere on
the continent too.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.pipelinedreams.org

Energy in Asia

"

The Myitsone Dam is an


example of the power of
Myanmar's previous military
governments, and their
undying loyalty for the
Chinese government.
Energy in Asia, December 2011

BACKGROUND:

A look at trends in the Asian energy


industry by independent analyst Diana Ngo. The author's "lifelong interest in the cultures, languages, and
cuisines of the region" mixes with a
keen observation of the industry to
produce a nuanced picture of Asian
energy development, drawing the industry's commercial, political, cultural
and environmental elements together
into a multi-faceted whole.
FOCUS:

The blog examines the "political, geo-

graphical, environmental and diplomatic constraints that limited resources bring to the global economy,"
according to the "About the Author"
tab.
COVERAGE:

Asia, with a focus on China, Japan,


South Korea and Southeast Asia.
TARGET AUDIENCE:

Anyone looking to learn about the


Asian energy industry and the challenges resulting from regional power
imbalances and the resistance of traditional culture. The author's style is
approachable for any experience
level, often breaking complex topics
into digestible "three reasons why"
types of analysis.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.energyinasiablog.com

23

TOP 10 BLOGS

European Energy Blog

"

Smart grids, smart meters,


smart cities. Obviously
there is money to be made
here. But what can smart
energy really do for us?
European Energy Blog, July 2012

controlled energy markets to a unified, liberalised (and regulated)


European market, and from a fossilfuel dominated energy mix to a more
diverse energy mix in the future," according to its "About" section.
COVERAGE:

Europe.

BACKGROUND:

The blog platform of the European


Energy Review (EER), a publisher of
reports, interviews, analyses, viewpoints and debates, written by energy
correspondents and professionals
across Europe. Blogs are posted new
once or twice weekly.
FOCUS:

The blog has an editorial focus on the


"European energy transition the
movement from national and state-

TARGET AUDIENCE:

The blog is geared more toward the


self-educating public than any sort of
industry specialist group, with an emphasis on the role played by Europe's
political and regulatory authorities in
driving the direction of the continent's energy industry.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.europeanenergyreview.eu

Kurdish Views

"

For the last five years


Baghdad has been trying to
rein in the Kurdish
government, especially
when it comes to oil and
gas.
Kurdish Views, June 2012

BACKGROUND:

Kurdish blogger and political risk analyst Shwan Zulal's blog on Kurdistan
takes the pulse of political and legal
developments in the nascent semiautonomous region of Iraq. Zulal's insider status is apparent in his authoritative take on Kurdish affairs.

FOCUS:

The blog centers around policy, political and legal reforms in Kurdistan,
Iraq and the wider Middle East, with a
special focus on the Kurdish oil and
gas sector, hydrocarbon legislation,
investment and economic development.
COVERAGE:

Kurdistan, Middle East.


TARGET AUDIENCE:

Anyone interested in the political economy of oil in Kurdistan, Iraq and the
region.
WEB ADDRESS:

www.kurdishviews.blogspot.de

TOP 20 TWITTER FEEDS

24

Top 20 Twitter Feeds


Individuals
@ShwanZulal
OVERVIEW:

Shwan Zulal, social sustainability consultant and political risk analyst with
a focus on Iraqi Kurdistan, offers a
blow-by-blow account of the rapidly
developing geopolitics of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on
his Twitter account. Oil and gas, politics and legal reform figure heavily in
his musings from the frontline; his
links to external resources shed light
on prickly Iraq-KRG relations.

@Fuelonthefire

"

Secret Pentagon papers


reveal pre-war plans to get
Big #Oil into Iraq
@Fuelonthefire, July 2012

OVERVIEW:

An authority on post-2003 Iraq, author Greg Muttitt tweets "on Iraq,


Arab world, war, oil + democracy" on
his account named after his book,
Fuel On The Fire. His tweets offer a
peek behind official story lines to unearth under-reported nuggets about
Iraq and other flash points in the oilproducing Middle East.

@Ianpgary
OVERVIEW:

Ian Gary, senior policy manager for


oil and mining issues at the non-profit
Oxfam America, tweets on human
rights, transparency and sustainable
development issues surrounding the
extractive industries. His links to ex-

ternal articles and infographics are a


useful primer on issues like corporate
governance, financial disclosure and
responsible business practice - some
of the biggest challenges facing the
oil, gas and mining industries today.

@sarahkentdj

"

Iran's oil exports are


stabilizing, but new US
sanctions later in the year
could scupper deals
helping the oil flow
@sarahkentdj, August 2012

OVERVIEW:

Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Kent's tweets take a
nuts-and-bolts approach to the oil industry, touching on trends in oil exports and imports, production and demand, and prices. Kent includes fewer external links than some others on
this list, but her tweets read like
news-flashes: dense power-punches
of information on the daily gyrations
of the industry.

@guacamayan
OVERVIEW:

Reporter Steven Bodzin, based in


Chile, specialises in energy, natural
resources and the environment in
South America. His tweets are not always energy specific - human rights
concerns also rear their head from
time to time - but as an energy reporter Bodzin has his ear to the
ground.

25

TOP 20 TWITTER FEEDS

@kwok_w_wan
OVERVIEW:

Petroleum Economist liquefied natural


gas (LNG) editor Kwok Wan's twitter
account specialises in natural gas and
oil markets, with an "eye on most
traded commodities," according to his
bio. His tweets are rich stuff for oil
price geeks, market hawks and others
interested in market-moving commodities.

@ValerieMarcel

"

Cabinet approves #Nigeria


oil bill... Well if it takes this
long 2 clear cabinet won't
hold my breath for parliamt
approv.
@ValerieMarcel, July 2012

OVERVIEW:

Chatham House fellow Valrie Marcel's tweets focus on national oil companies (NOCs), oil and politics, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
Marcel is a prolific re-tweeter of other
energy industry observers and her
account is a good depository of links
and factoids on the interaction of oil
and politics globally.

@stevelevine
OVERVIEW:

The account of Steve LeVine, professor of energy security at Georgetown


University, is a prime destination for
followers of the geopolitics of oil. His
tweets tend to focus on the Middle
East and elsewhere where oil and
conflict converge, but also speak to
the broader political and economic
trends affecting, and affected by,
movements in the global energy industry.

@robinenergy

"

Iran was heading towards


crisis already. High oil
prices and subsidy reform
postponed it; sanctions
have accelerated it.
@robinenergy, August 2012

OVERVIEW:

Energy strategist Robin Mills connects


the dots between oil, geopolitics and
economics. Mills' tweets typically offer pithy statements that cut through
generic headlines and simplify the
complex dynamics existing between
oil companies, producing states and
international institutions, like OPEC,
particularly in the Middle East.

@noahbrenner
OVERVIEW:

Noah Brenner, a journalist with Upstream, covers the development of domestic oil and, especially, gas production in the North America. His
tweets offer detailed looks at the
politics of hydrocarbon development,
especially with the emergence of unconventional drilling techniques such
as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking".

@derek_brower

"

'Canada is the most


expensive place in the
world to make a car right
now.' #DutchDisease?
@derek_brower, August 2012

OVERVIEW:

Journalist and editor-at-large of Petroleum Economist Derek Brower's conversations with fellow tweeters - several
of them on this list - though not always on the topic of energy, are
worth checking out for their colourful
take on Iran, Libya, Iraq, oil markets and fly fishing, among assorted other
topics.

TOP 20 TWITTER FEEDS

@peter_kiernan

26

Institutions

OVERVIEW:

Peter Kiernan, energy analyst at the


Economist Intelligence Unit, offers his
views on the geopolitics of energy,
globally, but with a focus on the
United States, the Asia/Pacific and the
Middle East.

@TheOil_GasYear

"

@nkechimbanu

"

Let's be honest what


politician really wants to
end this?? - #Oil theft costs
#Nigeria $1 billion monthly
@nkechimbanu, July 2012

TOGY Interview of the


Week: CEO of Petronas on
#Malaysia's future
emphasis on #gas
@TheOil_GasYear, August 2012

OVERVIEW:

The Oil and Gas Year, a series of annual reports on the international energy
industry, provides daily links to external articles and to its own publication, The Oil & Gas Week, a weekly
roundup of oil and gas news.

OVERVIEW:

Self-proclaimed sustainable development junkie Nkechi O. Mbanu covers


the oil, gas and mining industries in
Africa, with a particular focus on oilproducing Nigeria. Mbanu is on the
beat of international financial disclosure requirements, such as the DoddFrank bill, and exudes optimism on
natural resource development's ability to lead to a brighter African future.

@edwindundee
OVERVIEW:

Daniel Edwin Gilbert, manager of the


Extractive Industries (EI) Source Book, a
World Bank resource, tweets on issues surrounding oil and gas policy
and management, especially in the
global south, as well as EI-related development issues such as foreign investment. His account maintains a
special emphasis on good governance in developing countries.

@ftenergy
OVERVIEW:

The prolific twitter organ of the Financial Times links to the latest energy
news from the newspaper, with multiple updates daily.

@OilGasEurasia
OVERVIEW:

The twitter account of Oil & Gas Eurasia links to stories in the newspaper,
offering a global look at the business
of oil and gas extraction with a particular emphasis on Russia and Central
Asia.

@TheEIU_Energy

"

#Iraq takes silver medal in


#OPEC oil production,
pushing #Iran to third place
@TheEIU_Energy, August 2012

OVERVIEW:

The Economist Intelligence Unit's energy


team twitter account, affiliated with
The Economist newspaper, is a valuable repository of links to energy

27
news from various external sources.
Many tweets are dense morsels of information, food for thought for journalists seeking story ideas and others.

@EnergyOil_News
OVERVIEW:

Every few hours, the Energy Oil News


account links to external energy news
sources, with an emphasis on technical detail. The account is well-suited
to anyone seeking an in-depth look at
projects as they move through various stages - as well as the dog-eatdog world of global energy business.

@Open_Oil
OVERVIEW:

Energy consultancy OpenOil's Twitter


handle features links to energy blogs,
infographics
and
other
topical
sources around the web, as well as
updates from its daily news roundup.

TOP 20 TWITTER FEEDS

WHAT THE WONKS SAY

28

What the Wonks Say


Global focus
Centre for Global Energy Studies (UK)
OVERVIEW:

Founded by former Saudi Minister of


Petroleum Sheikh Yamani, the London-based CGES produces reports on
the industry, which, despite the organisation's non-profit status, cost
nearly 1000 per report.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Unlike other energy policy think


tanks, it focuses on the oil and gas industry and features a good global
spread in freely available analyses
and shorter reports.
www.cges.co.uk
@CGESOilAnalysis

Center for Global Development (US)


OVERVIEW:

CGD is currently the most significant


Washington think tank researching
development policy, through an analysis of "rich country policies" and
their effect upon those in the developing world.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Oil-to-Cash program researches


implementation of flat rate cash dividends as part of oil sector governance.
www.cgdev.org
@cgdev

Chatham House (UK)


OVERVIEW:

Home of the Chatham House rule


which guarantees anonymity at its
meetings, it is an independent think
tank funded by non-governmental
sources such as trusts, foundations
and membership fees.
HIGHLIGHTS:

Research into governance of staterun petroleum sectors, of increasing

importance following a wave of nationalism in oil-producing countries,


has used an inclusive technique of
bringing researchers from over 20 oil
rich countries together at intensive
workshops in London. They have also
posted explanatory videos on YouTube (Chatham House Primers).
www.chathamhouse.org
@ChathamHouse

29

WHAT THE WONKS SAY

Baker Institute Energy Forum (US)


OVERVIEW:

Founded by former Secretary of State


James Baker, the Energy Forum is
based at Rice University in Texas. It
aims to take a research approach
which combines academia, industry
and media. Its Advisory Board and
sponsors are made up almost exclusively of international and US-based oil

companies.
HIGHLIGHTS:

Authors of their Middle East oil


strategy papers were key US decision
makers (and supporters) in the Iraq
war.
www.bakerinstitute.org/programs/ene
rgy-forum

Carnegie Endowment for Int'l Peace (US)


OVERVIEW:

Distinctive for its locally staffed centers in Moscow, Beirut, Beijing and
Brussels, the Washington-based centrist think tank aims at promoting US
international engagement. Funders
include the US State Department and
philanthropic foundations.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Carnegie Unconventional Oil Initiative, focusing on what will be an increasingly important industry sector
in coming years.
www.carnegieendowment.org
@CarnegieEndow

Oxford Policy Management (UK)


OVERVIEW:

A consultancy cum think tank, OPM is


self-financed through research paid
for by international clients such as UN
institutions, development banks and
non profit organisations. One of few
think tanks to have a research focus
explicitly on "Extractive Industries",
they look at how revenues from the
industry could benefit the global eco-

nomy.
HIGHLIGHTS:

Oil sector transparency research in


various African countries, and the validation of Norway's latest EITI report
mean that this think tank has stellar
transparency credentials.
www.opml.co.uk/

Revenue Watch Institute (US)


OVERVIEW:

Originally a spin off of the Open Society Institute founded by George Sor-

os, RWI have fast become world


thought leaders in the field of revenue management, promoting transpar-

WHAT THE WONKS SAY


ency and accountability in the extractive industries, with projects in
over 30 countries worldwide.
HIGHLIGHTS:

A wealth of information, including reports, easy to understand policy


briefs, and training materials. RWI

30
also advise citizen groups and governments around the world. See also
RWI's database of EITI reports in the
Big Data section.
www.revenuewatch.org
@revenuewatch

Transparency International (Germany)


OVERVIEW:

A global anti-corruption organisation,


TI has over 100 chapters across the
world. Their secretariat, based in Berlin, Germany, has an Oil and Gas
section, looking specifically into how
to reduce corruption in the oil sector.
HIGHLIGHTS:

Oil and gas research is not directly

covered regularly, but oil companies


feature heavily in their Corruption Indices, and blogs often cover legislative battles between governments and
Big Oil.
www.transparency.org/topic/detail/oil_
and_gas
@anticorruption

Global Witness (UK)


OVERVIEW:

Global Witness investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource related conflict and corruption, and associated environmental and human
rights abuses.
HIGHLIGHTS:

Published news and reports on some


of the major issues around the oil,
gas and other extractive industries,

including corruption, conflict, environmental governance, and corporate


accountability and transparency. Recent reports on oil have encompassed
Angola,
Afghanistan,
Equatorial
Guinea, Sudan, South Sudan and
Uganda.
www.globalwitness.org
@Global_Witness

Natural Resource Charter (UK)


OVERVIEW:

The Natural Resource Charter is a set


of economic principles on sustainable
natural resource development, whose
website also includes a blog, news-

reel, and resource center.


HIGHLIGHTS:

A range of reference literature on


technical issues such as local content

31
development, fiscal
Dutch Disease.

WHAT THE WONKS SAY


regimes

and

www.naturalresourcecharter.org
@resourcecharter

Regional focus - Africa


African Center for Economic Transformation
OVERVIEW:

Labeling themselves as a 'think-anddo' tank, the Ghana-based center


aims at supporting sustained economic growth across Africa. They
have provided policy support to various African governments, including
Ghana, Liberia and Rwanda, and financial support is provided by international governments and development

organisations.
HIGHLIGHTS:

The extractive industries are not explicitly researched through an earmarked program, but many of their
occasional papers and reports mention the sector.
www.acetforafrica.org
@acetforafrica

Centre for the Study of Economies in Africa (Nigeria)


OVERVIEW:

Established in 2008, the Centre cites


its mission as twofold; improving public financial management systems in
Africa, and improving Africa's research contribution to international
economic policy debates.
HIGHLIGHTS:

The Oil Revenue Management pro-

gram, in collaboration with Oxford


Policy
Management, including the PetroData initiative which provides detailed statistics
on Nigeria's oil production and revenues.
www.cseaafrica.org
@csea_africa

Europe
Institut Franais des relations internationales (France)
OVERVIEW:

The Ifri Center for Energy, based in


Paris and Brussels, focuses on fossil

fuels, and promotes a more


sustainable European energy and climate change

WHAT THE WONKS SAY


policy. Publications are easy to understand for the non-policy expert.
HIGHLIGHTS:

E-note downloadable PDFs in a mix-

32
ture of English and French, looking
closely at the gas industry across
both Europe and Asia.
www.ifri.org

Norwegian Institute for Int'l Affairs (Norway)


OVERVIEW:

Largely financed by the Norwegian


government, the Institute emphasises
interdisciplinary collaboration both
domestically and abroad.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Energy Program looks at Norwegian interests in the CIS region, as


well as global LNG sector issues.
www.english.nupi.no/Activities/Progra
mmes2/Energy-Programme

CIS/Russia
Centre for Eastern Studies (Poland)
OVERVIEW:

OSW, as it is known in Polish, was established by the Polish government in


1990 and has a geographic focus ranging from Baltic countries and the
Balkans to the Caucausus and Central
Asia.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Their Energy Security program is a


mixture of nuclear and fossil fuel, and
publications include explanatory documents which provide context to often mentioned sector issues, such as
the Southern Gas Corridor.
www.osw.waw.pl/en

North America
Center for Strategic and Int'l Studies (US)
OVERVIEW:

Based out of Washington, CSIS is a bipartisan think tank promoting US in-

terests globally, funded primarily by


the corporate sector.

33
HIGHLIGHTS:

The Energy and National Security program includes a series of papers on


the long term affects of the 2010 Gulf
of Mexico oil spill, as well as an up-

WHAT THE WONKS SAY


coming project on Turkey, Russia and
Iran.
www.csis.org
@CSIS

South America
Americas Society
OVERVIEW:

Their geographic mandate includes


Latin America, the Caribbean, and
Canada, with an overarching mandate that includes politics and economics. It has high-level access, hosting lunches with presidents and ministers, and partners business-oriented
the Council of the Americas.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Their Energy & Commodities section


provides an interesting take on the
Latin American energy sector, and includes videos of high level ministers
talking at their events on energy
policy issues.
www.as-coa.org
@ascoa

Asia
The Energy and Resources Institute (India)
OVERVIEW:

TERI focuses on sustainable development, looking primarily at India's role


in South Asia's environmental development.

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Oil and Gas program focus includes a recently concluded project
on India's strategic petroleum reserves.
www.teriin.org

WHAT THE SUITS SAY

34

What the Suits Say


Professional service firms
KPMG
RESOURCES:

KPMG, one of the Big Four auditing


firms, has a list of articles and publications on energy and natural resources offering broad-brush perspective on industry trends, such as
the development of shale gas, investment climates in emerging economies such as China and Brazil, and oil
industry developments after the Gulf

of Mexico oil spill. The publications


also include selected quarterly reports on globally traded mineral commodities such as gold, platinum and
copper.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

KPMG publications

Ernst & Young


RESOURCES:

Ernst & Young, another of the Big


Four auditors, has a research department specialising in oil and gas which
lists energy publications available on
its website, including reports on oil
and gas taxes, the influence of na-

tional oil companies (NOCs), and the


challenges presented by rising global
energy demand, among others.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Ernst & Young oil and gas library

Deloitte
RESOURCES:

Deloitte's Petroleum Services Group


(PSG) produces downloadable detailed reports on oil and gas licensing
rounds globally. The group has other
free resources available on request,
including reports on global upstream
and downstream trends, and a "Doing
business in oil and gas" series on
countries and regions around the
world. PSG also offers free oil and gas
wall maps on request.
Deloitte has additional oil and gas

publications available on its US


homepage, with special emphasis on
shale gas, as well as an online Center
for Energy Solutions featuring reports
on key oil and gas corporate issues,
such as mergers and regulatory risks.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

www.psg.deloitte.com for oil and gas


wall maps, industry reports, and the
"Doing business in oil and gas" series;
www.deloitte.com for the
Center for Energy Solutions

Deloitte

35

WHAT THE SUITS SAY

PricewaterhouseCoopers
RESOURCES:

PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) global oil and gas service sector has a


page for "Publications, thought leadership and studies" on its website,
with PDF documents available for
download on a variety of energy topics, including pipelines and oil transit
politics, financial disclosure require-

ments for oil and gas companies, the


impact of the shale gas boom on
global markets, and regional focuses
on places like Turkey and Africa.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

PWC publications

Consultancies
Wood Mackenzie
RESOURCES:

Wood Mackenzie, a global energy and


mining research and consultancy
group, has an online resource center
with several publicly-available tools,
including a video library, a glossary of
energy terms, an energy conversion
tool, an abbreviation bank, and a
database of links to global energy organisations and associations. The

website is the shop window for the


company's extensive fee paying data,
such as information on some 24,000
wells around the world. The site also
sells wall maps on oil, gas, power,
and coal by sector or by region.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Wood Mackenzie resource center

Maplecroft
RESOURCES:

Risk-management
consultancy
Maplecroft's website has a page featuring interactive maps and indices
with focuses on: global risk, political
risks, legal and regulatory environments human rights, climate change
and the environment, and natural
hazards. Most of the maps are available only to registered users but the
site does include a free "Map of the
Week". With a paid subscription,

users gain access to indices evaluating global, political, economic, social


and environmental risks; over 100
maps; country risk scorecards; thematic atlases; country briefings and indepth country reports. Free trial
memberships are also available.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Maplecroft maps and Indices


Map of the Week

WHAT THE SUITS SAY

36

Banks
Deutsche Bank
RESOURCES:

Deutsche Bank offers a wealth of energy sector publications, which tend


toward the impact of oil, gas and
commodity trends on Europe and the
United States, as well as renewable
energy sources; but publications

touch on other regions as well, such


as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Persian Gulf, and
Latin America.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Deutsche Bank energy research

Law firms
Baker & McKenzie
RESOURCES:

Baker & McKenzie, based in Chicago,


provides global oil and gas legal services and has a database of energy
publications on its website. Though
not strictly limited to oil and gas - the
publication topics also include mining
3and renewable energies - the database include several articles on global developments in the oil and gas
business, especially the evolution of

public-private partnerships in an industry dominated by national oil companies (NOCs). The firm's site-specific
services also offer publications on individual countries.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Oil, gas, petrochemicals publications.


Site-specific
information
www.bakermckenzie.com >
tions'

at
'Loca-

Salans
RESOURCES:

Salans deals in several areas of the


energy sector, including finance, exploration and production, downstream activity, dispute resolution
and others. Salans' energy publications revolve mostly around CIS countries and Eastern Europe, with several

Russian-language publications also


available. Topics include foreign investment climates, trade, environmental law vis-a-vis energy policy,
and energy tax law.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Salans energy publications

37

WHAT THE SUITS SAY

Baker Botts
RESOURCES:

Baker Botts' website has a resource


center with a list of publications relating to its oil and gas work. The
strength of the publications lies in the
legislative and regulatory spheres,
featuring a report on Iraq's draft oil

laws and oil and gas tax policy in the


United States.
WEBSITE NAVIGATION:

Baker Botts oil and gas resources

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY

38

Jargon Buster: Glossary


anticline
In geology, a rock formation under
which oil and gas are often found;
they look like domes sticking up out
of the ground and for the first century of the oil industry, before more
sophisticated measuring devices
were developed, they were how
geologists looked for hydrocarbons.
Anticlines show structural traps,
which are relatively easy to spot,
but in recent years oil exploration
has been forced by the end of easy
discoveries to look for more complex stratigraphic traps.
API gravity index
A system of measurement developed by the American Petroleum
Institute used worldwide to denote
how "light" or "heavy" a grade of
CRUDE OIL is. The higher the API index
the lighter the crude oil is, so that
"light" crudes (such as Libyan) are
35 and above, heavy grades (such
as Iranian) are below 30. Super-heavy grades (such as some
grades from Venezuela) are below
20. See also: HEAVY OIL, LIGHT OIL
appraisal well
Appraisal wells are drilled after
SEISMIC SURVEYS and a DISCOVERY WELL have
shown some oil or gas is present, in
order to determine if the find is big
enough to be a commercial discovery. See also: WILDCAT WELL, DEVELOPMENT
WELL, SHOWING, COMMERCIALITY
associated gas
Natural gas mixed up, or "associated", with oil in a rock structure
and produced at the same time as
the oil. Sometimes the gas is dissolved within the oil but separates
as it comes up to the surface. For a
long time, such gas was treated as
a waste product disposed of by
FLARING
or VENTING. See also: NONASSOCIATED GAS, LIQUID PETROLEUM GAS

back-in right
A feature of oil and gas contracts
that allows a party, often a government, to acquire an equity participation once a commercial discovery
has been made without carrying the
risk of exploration. See also:
COMMERCIALITY

"The President of Guinea Bissau called


for 33% back in rights for the State into
all mineral projects in order to establish
a large and fundable National Mining
Company."
- Brian Menell Group 2010
barrels of oil equivalent (boe)
A way of measuring energy production or consumption across different
energy sources. Other hydrocarbons like NATURAL GAS and coal and occasionally even renewables are
measured for the amount of energy
they produce compared to a barrel
of oil.
barrels per day (bpd)
The standard way of measuring oil
production. A barrel is about 42 US
gallons or 158 litres, though the exact number varies according to
CRUDE OIL GRADES. The world currently
consumes around 90 million barrels
of oil a day, a quarter of it in the
United States.
benchmark crude
Oils against which other oils are
priced, either at discount or premium depending on the CRUDE OIL GRADES.
There are three primary benchmark
crudes which serve in the different
oil markets of the world: BRENT CRUDE,
WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE (WTI), and
DUBAI CRUDE.
bitumen
A component of CRUDE OIL which is
very heavy and viscous; high
amounts are extracted from OIL
SANDS, although it has low value rel-

39

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


ative to other products of the refining process and so is often CRACKED to
form other more commercially valuable products. In its raw form, it is
used to make roads in the form of
asphalt.

block
Method used to designate an area
of land which could be made up of
several OIL FIELDS, which divides up
land into workable areas for separate CONSORTIA or companies to work
on.
blowout
The sudden and uncontrolled release of CRUDE OIL or NATURAL GAS from a
well when pressure control systems
fail. This risk can be mitigated by
using a blow-out preventer (BOP),
however only as a last line of defence to shut off the top of a well
and prevent a GUSHER. It was a blowout which was responsible for the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
booking
The process by which RESERVES are
added to the balance sheet of an oil
company. This is a crucial point, as
reserves form key assets for the
company. Oil companies such as
the SUPERMAJORS who have shares listed on major stock markets must
conform to regulations concerning
how they book oil and gas assets.
Royal Dutch Shell triggered a global
scandal in 2004 when it was forced
to admit that it had overbooked
many of its assets.
Brent crude
The leading global benchmark for
Atlantic basin crudes, it is used to
price two thirds of the world's internationally traded crude supply.
Brent is a light, sweet crude produced in the North Sea, which usually trades within a few dollars of
WTI. See also: BENCHMARK CRUDE
British thermal unit (Btu)
A unit used to describe the amount
of energy released when different

fuels are burned, with coal producing 25 million Btu of energy per
ton and oil producing 5.6 million Btu
per BARREL.
bunkering
The illegal removal, or theft, of oil
from a PIPELINE or other distribution
system. Bunkering is sometimes as
simple as drilling a hole in a PIPELINE
and collecting the oil in a drum.
More complex operations involve
equipping tankers with false bottoms to conceal extra-legal shipments, or to make unauthorised
shipments from well site storage
tanks. Bunkering is a chronic issue
in Nigeria and Iraq, although it exists in many other countries.
"The theft of oil known in Nigeria as
bunkering along with fraud in the allocation of a controversial fuel subsidy,
may together have cost the state US $14
billion in 2011."
- Financial Times 2010
cap rock
A layer of impermeable rock which
may trap oil, gas or water beneath it.
coal bed methane (CBM)
NATURAL GAS found in coal beds during
underground
mining
operations.
Sometimes referred to as coal seam
gas (CSG), it is already in significant
production in the United States and
Canada, and enormous resources are
proven in Australia and China. Globally, it makes a modest contribution
to the ENERGY MIX but this is expected to
increase. See also: UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY
SOURCES

commerciality
A legal term widely applied in contracts to describe a situation in which
hydrocarbon reserves exist in sufficient quantities to justify further investment to bring a field to production. From the moment an operating
company declares commerciality, a
set of regulatory and fiscal conditions
kicks in. See also: RESERVES, APPRAISAL WELL,
GIANT FIELD

"Further drilling will be required to establish


the commerciality of the block SL 2007-01-

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY

40

001 discovery."
- Petroleum Economist 2011

dustry between contingent resources


and UNPROVEN RESOURCES.

completion
The final stage in the installation and
development of an oil or gas well, enabling it to begin producing, often
taken on by oilfield SERVICE COMPANIES.

cost recovery
Part of a PRODUCTION SHARING AGREEMENT
which allows IOCs to claim and recover the investments they made to explore, develop and start producing oil.
The important point to note is that
cost recovery comes before any split
of profits. Cost recovery can often
reach billions of dollars. It is usually
capped at a certain percentage of the
value of production in any given year.
Cost recovery can become a point of
contention between companies and
governments since governments are
often unable to verify the reasonableness of costs submitted by the IOCs
with their sophisticated accounting
and hundreds of global affiliates.
Such disputes have recently occurred
in Indonesia, India and Iraq. See also
PROFIT OIL, COST OIL

concession
A lease agreement by which an oil
company can enjoy the exclusive
right to produce oil in any given area,
as ownership of the oil is transferred
from the natural owner, such as the
state or landowner, to the lease holder at the WELLHEAD. Concessions were
used widely in the early days of the
oil industry and came to be viewed as
symptomatic of exploitation by IOCS,
particularly the SEVEN SISTERS, and were
replaced in many countries by
PRODUCTION SHARING CONTRACTS. But some
countries, such as the United Kingdom and Norway, still operate them
today. See also: SERVICE CONTRACT
condensates, natural gas
Liquid fuels such as ethane, butane
and pentane, which are present in the
mix of NATURAL GAS when it comes out of
the ground. These liquids are condensed out of gas before they are
shipped by PIPELINE and captured for
separate sale. Also known as natural
gas liquids (NGLs). See also: WET GAS
consortium
A group of companies which join
forces to pursue a joint project, and
may submit joint bids for projects
during a LICENSING ROUND. The trend in
the oil industry over the last generation is for companies to collaborate
more and more, on a case by case
basis, forming consortia, to share the
risk of projects which demand ever
high amounts of investment. See also:
JOINT VENTURE, PROJECT FINANCING, WORKING
INTEREST

contingent resources
RESOURCES estimated to be potentially
recoverable but, at a given date, not
commercially viable. There is acknowledged lack of clarity within the in-

cracking
A second stage refining process
which has become widespread in the
last 20 years. After FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION
has produced a range of commercially valuable fuel products, there
are byproducts like tar and bitumen.
Since demand for these is limited,
cracking is applied to convert them
into more in-demand products, such
as gasoline and diesel oil, by subjecting them to high temperatures and
pressures. The term is chemical in
origin, as the process involves breaking up or "cracking" the longer
HYDROCARBON chains in the lower value
products into the shorter ones in fuel
products.
crude blends
A mixture of different CRUDE OIL GRADES
designed to raise the value of the
grades. For example, a certain grade
of HEAVY OIL may not be so commercially valuable alone, but when mixed
with LIGHT OIL the blend produced may
be more valuable than the value of
the initial volumes of individual heavy
and light crude, so overall, the commercial value is increased. Blending

41
can happen either in PIPELINES or at the
REFINING stage where a company may
seek to be producing a particular mix
of fuel products in response to fluctuating market demand.
crude oil
A fossil fuel formed from organic material over millions of years and extracted directly from the rocks where
it is found, which can be further processed into various fuels and
PETROCHEMICAL products for consumers.
NATURAL GAS is often found dissolved in
the oil. See also: PETROLEUM, PETROLEUM
PRODUCTS, ASSOCIATED GAS
crude oil grades
The qualities of oil from a particular
field which determine the steps
needed to process it into usable
products and its marketability. Crude
oils can be "light" or "heavy" depending on their API GRAVITY INDEX. They can
also be "sour" if they contain a lot of
sulphur or "sweet" if they do not.
Beyond these major characteristics,
which dictate a crude grade's market
value when sold against BENCHMARK
CRUDES, there so many other characteristics that every crude can be chemically "fingerprinted". See also: LIGHT
OIL, HEAVY OIL
dependency, natural resource
Although the dependency of economies and government spending in
many countries has been widely reported, the International Monetary
Fund has provided a formal definition
of the concept: where natural resource exports have accounted for
either at least 25% of a country's exports over the previous few years or
at least 25% of a government's
budget. The IMF identified 34 countries which fit that definition in 2008.
Natural resource dependency is
linked to the concept of RESOURCE CURSE.
depletion
The decline in production that begins
to appear in oil reservoirs as RESOURCES
become exhausted. Global depletion
is currently estimated at between 3%
and 5% per year. The impact can be

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


managed by implementing suitable
'depletion policies' such as ENHANCED OIL
RECOVERY. See also: HUBBERT CURVE, PEAK OIL,
PLATEAU PRODUCTION.
"The most important depletion policy instruments have been the frequency in licensing rounds, awards of licenses, and use of
the fiscal system."
- Chatham House 2010
development well
A well drilled at an existing oil field
which is already producing. Many
fields require continuous drilling of
new wells to maximise production,
and development wells can far outnumber the WILD CAT WELLS that were
made to discover the resource in the
first place.
diesel
One of a series of PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
produced out of CRUDE OIL during
FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION, commonly used to
power our cars as a heavier alternative to PETROL using a special compression engine. Diesel is also widely
used by military vehicles.
discovery well
see WILDCAT WELL
downstream
The series of operations that take
place once oil has been found and
produced out of the wellhead. Sometimes divided into midstream and
downstream, with transport and the
REFINING
process taking place midstream and marketing and distribution occurring in the downstream
phase. See also: UPSTREAM, INTEGRATED
ENERGY COMPANY

"ConocoPhillips announced it would separate its profitable 'upstream' oil exploration


and production business from the low-margin downstream jobs of refining and marketing."
- Economist 2011
drilling mud
A mixture of clay, water and chemicals pumped down a well to make
drilling more effective, by lubricating
and cooling the mechanism and
flushing rock cuttings to the surface.

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


Also known as 'drilling fluids'.
dry well
A well which is drilled but fails to produce oil or gas in commercially viable
quantities. Sometimes known as a DRY
HOLE. See also: COMMERCIALITY, APPRAISAL WELL,
DEVELOPMENT WELL

Dubai crude
One of three global BENCHMARK CRUDE oils.
Also known as Fateh, it is produced in
the United Arab Emirates and was for
many years the only CRUDE OIL GRADE in
the Middle East freely traded on the
SPOT MARKET.
Dutch disease
A factor in the RESOURCE CURSE, so named
after the crisis following large gas discoveries in the Netherlands in the
1960s, whereby large inflows of foreign PETRODOLLARS can have damaging
consequences for an economy. As the
local currency appreciates, the producing country's non-commodity exports become less competitive on
world markets, and inflation can occur on the domestic market.
elephant field
A field with RESERVES totalling over 1 billion barrels. See also: GIANT FIELD
energy mix
The combination of energy sources
used to satisfy a country or region's
energy consumption. The energy mix
evolves over time in response to
changing lifestyles and technologies.
For example, oil has dropped from
about half of global primary energy
consumption in 1973, when the oil
crisis tripled prices overnight, to
about a third today, while use of
NATURAL GAS has risen, particularly with
the development of SHALE GAS. Many
countries are now trying to diversify
their mix to maximise modern renewables such as solar and wind power,
which now account for 3% of total
global energy consumption.
"A diversified mix of energies will increase
security of supply."
- European Commission 2007

42
energy security
The concept that energy is so essential to modern economies that governments need to plan to ensure security of access, even when the industry itself is in the hands of the
private sector. This often involves trying to diversify energy sources. For
example, the USA seeks to diversify
from Middle Eastern oil, or Europe
from Russian gas.
enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
A set of technologies to increase the
RECOVERY RATE of a producing field and
offset DEPLETION. Methods can include
injecting natural gas, chemicals, or
water into a field to increase pressure, as well as HORIZONTAL DRILLING. They
account for an increasingly important
part of global oil production. See also:
DEPLETION

environmental impact assessments


(EIA)
Carried out by companies before beginning a project to identify any possible environmental, social or economic impacts, both positive and
negative, and any measures needed
to mitigate. Contracts now often specify the implementation of such studies but although various best practice
initiatives exist at a global level such
as those of the Global Reporting Initiative in Amsterdam or the International Petroleum Industry Environmental
Conservation
Association
(IPIECA) in London, they are rarely
specified in contract. EIAs are rarely
made public, existing as a document
held between companies and host
governments.
Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI)
The major existing TRANSPARENCY mechanism in the oil industry. EITI started
in 2002 and now has 35 countries as
members or candidates. To achieve
compliance, a government and the oil
companies have to release information about the payments they have
made to each other, in a process
overseen by civil society. EITI's cur-

43
rent chair is the British politician
Clare Short.
farmout agreement
The sale of rights to a discovery once
oil has been struck. Also known as a
'farm-down', this is a common practice among smaller exploration companies funded by seed and venture
capital but who cannot then bear the
costs of getting the oil out of the
ground alone. The 'farmee' usually
pays the 'farmor' a sum on signature,
and bears a proportion of operational
costs. There may or may not be an
agreement for the farmee to be involved in actual production activities.
See also WORKING INTEREST
flaring, gas
Oil production is sometimes accompanied by ASSOCIATED GAS. When infrastructure to capture the gas does not
exist, the gas is often burned at the
wellhead, or flared, to get rid of it.
This is a waste of energy as well as a
source of greenhouse gas. According
to the World Bank, the top five gas
flaring countries in the world are Russia (26%), Nigeria (11%), Iran (8%),
Iraq (7%) and Algeria (4%). The Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership
was set up in 2002 to address the
problem, grouping companies, governments and international agencies
such as the UN. The World Bank estimates the total amount of gas flared
was reduced by 22% between 2005
and 2010.
"The annual 35 bcm of gas flared in Africa
alone is equal to half the continents power
consumption."
- Financial Times 2012
floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG)
A concept being developed by Royal
Dutch Shell to access OFFSHORE gas
fields which might otherwise remain
'stranded'. Instead of the need for
costly seabed PIPELINES to onshore processing facilities, the idea is to build a
platform which floats above the field
on the sea surface and can liquify the
gas into LNG ready for shipping directly to market. The first FLNG facility

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


is due to be completed in 2017.
fracking
see HYDRAULIC

FRACTURING

fractional distillation
How crude oil is refined into usable
products like PETROL and NATURAL GAS.
Crude oil enters one of a series of
chambers, each one hotter than the
last. Individual products such as DIESEL
or GAS OIL are distilled out of the mix at
each stage.
frontier exploration
High-risk exploration activities in unchartered territories, or in challenging
environments such as Somalia. See
also: WILDCAT WELL
fuel oil
One of the heavier, more viscous
products obtained from the FRACTIONAL
DISTILLATION of crude oil. Fuel oil mostly
has industrial uses in engines and furnaces.
futures contract
An agreement between two parties to
buy and sell a specified quantity of
CRUDE OIL, with the price agreed today,
and the delivery and payment to take
place at a specified date in the future. The main crude oil futures markets are the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Futures combine with the SPOT MARKET to form the
overall trading environment for oil
and gas.
gas to liquids (GTL)
see LIQUEFACTION
gasoline
see PETROL
giant field
Sometimes defined in terms of RESERVES
(exceeding one billion barrels) and
sometimes in terms of production
output (exceeding 100,000 BARRELS PER
DAY). Even larger super-giant fields are
generally those whose reserves exceed five or even ten billion barrels.
However the definitions remain con-

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


tested. See also:

ELEPHANT FIELD

groundwater
Water held in rocks beneath the water table. It can be polluted or depleted during the drilling process,
particularly HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. See
also: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
gusher
A well from which oil gushes without
being pumped, and an icon of oil exploration during the 19th and 20th
centuries, perhaps most memorably
depicted in the 1956 film 'Giant' starring James Dean. Nowadays thought
of as wasteful and polluting, gushers
usually happen as the result of technical failures.
heavy oil
More viscous grade of crude oil with a
lower API GRAVITY than LIGHT OIL. Production of heavy oil is becoming more
common around the world despite
greater extraction and processing
costs, because light oil supplies have
dwindled. Extra-heavy oil, such as
that found in the Orinoco belt of
Venezuela, is generally defined as
having an even lower API Gravity of 7
to 11. See also: OIL SANDS
horizontal drilling
A type of directional drilling which allows drillers to access pockets of reserves that are harder to reach by a
vertical well, often used as a cost-effective technique at OFFSHORE locations.
In 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
accused Kuwait of using horizontal
drilling to steal Iraqi oil and used it as
a pretext to invade in the first Gulf
War. See also: ENHANCED RECOVERY
hydraulic fracturing
Also known as FRACKING, it involves
shooting water, sand and other compounds at rock structures at such
high velocity that they produce small
fractures through which CRUDE OIL and
NATURAL GAS can then be extracted. The
development of fracturing in the
United States since 2005 has led to a
massive increase in SHALE GAS production, despite environmental and

44
safety concerns associated with the
procedure. See also: ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY
hydrocarbons
Compound existing exclusively of hydrogen and carbon; the majority of
naturally occurring hydrocarbons are
found in CRUDE OIL, and all oil and gas
products as well as coal are hydrocarbons.
Hubbert's curve
A mathematical model developed in
1956 by the US geologist Marion King
Hubbert which depicts the life cycle
of a drilling operation as a bell
shaped curve and predicts extraction
rates will slow once peak production
at a field has been reached. It is
widely disputed but is seen as the
foundation of PEAK OIL theory. See also:
DEPLETION, PLATEAU PRODUCTION
International Energy Agency (IEA)
Created in 1974 in response to the oil
crisis, the IEA first had the mandate
of coordinating energy policy among
consumer countries, particularly global disruptions of supply. Based in Paris, it has evolved into an influential
government-sponsored think tank
and is sometimes seen as "the consumers OPEC".
integrated energy company
A company active in all stages of the
value chain, from exploration through
production to shipping and refining,
to distribution and retail marketing of
fuel products. Most SUPERMAJORS are integrated energy companies.
international oil company (IOC)
A private sector oil company with operations in many countries. The
largest IOCs are SUPERMAJORS and the
largest historically were the SEVEN
SISTERS. The term is often used in contrast to NATIONAL OIL COMPANIES, stateowned entities created after waves of
RESOURCE NATIONALISM in the 1960s and
1970s led to nationalisation of the
sector in many countries.
joint venture (JV)
A well-established feature of the oil

45
and gas industry whereby two or
more companies agree to share
profit, loss and control in a certain
project, common in the 'UPSTREAM sector where projects can be too big for
a single company to finance on its
own. Partners can be from both the
public and private sectors.
"JVs are a useful way of gaining the benefits of collaboration without the economic
and political risk associated with a merger
or other business combination."
- Ernst & Young 2011
kerosene
The primary source of fuel for many
types of aircraft, produced from
FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION. Until the invention
of electricity it was the main source
of lighting in the home, as it was used
in lanterns, and it was the most
widely used product of PETROLEUM before the invention of the motor car.
LIBOR
The London Interbank Overnight
Rate, a rate of interest often used in
the financial terms which govern oil
contracts.
licensing round
An event at which oil and gas acreage is opened up by a government to
competing bids by exploration and
production companies or consortiums. Licenses are then awarded to
the most attractive bid. Competitive
and TRANSPARENT licensing rounds are
seen as key to efficient management
of a nation's resources and are often
implemented by using auctions which
publicly state the criteria under which
bids will be judged. See also: BLOCK,
WORKING INTEREST

light oil
Light crude oil is made up of smaller
molecules than HEAVY CRUDE OIL and
therefore produces a higher percentage
of
commercially
valuable
products (like gasoline and diesel)
when refined, thus fetching a higher
price on global markets. See also:
GRADES OF CRUDE OIL , HEAVY OIL

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


liquefaction
Conversion of gases to liquid form,
usually for ease of storage and/or
transport.
liquefied natural gas (LNG)
NATURAL GAS which has been converted
into liquid form by cooling it to approximately 162 C (260 F), for
ease of storage and transport. This
expensive process is used when a gas
pipeline is unavailable to transport
the gas produced to the marketplace.
The first LNG plant was built in Algeria in 1962. Qatar accounts for 25 percent of global LNG production. LNG's
market position has been challenged
in recent years by the explosive
growth in SHALE GAS inside the United
States, leading to recalculations of
how much gas the US, once seen as a
major LNG market, will import in future years. See also: LIQUEFACTION
liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
Often referred to as 'liquefied petroleum gas', an example of an ASSOCIATED
GAS produced as a byproduct of oil extraction and refining, which is popular
as a fuel for domestic use in India and
other countries without reliable oil or
natural gas supplies.
local content
The purchasing of local goods and
services and training and development of national staff as a result of oil
production with the goal, from the
host government side, of maximising
broader economic growth as a result
of the oil industry and building national expertise which over time allows full national control of the industry. Local content is often a negotiation point between companies and
governments stipulated in the terms
of contracts. Brazil is sometimes seen
as one of the most successful examples of local content application.
metering
Measuring the amount of oil or gas
produced out of a well or flowing
down a PIPELINE for commercial purposes. Meters can now measure

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


many different CRUDE OIL GRADES flowing
down one pipe to up to 0.15 percent
accuracy. See also: BUNKERING
midstream
see DOWNSTREAM
migration
The process whereby conventional oil
and gas resources gradually 'migrate'
away from the SOURCE ROCK where they
were generated into CAP ROCK which impedes their rising to the surface and
leaking. It can take millions of years
for oil and gas deposits to migrate a
few kilometres within rock formations.
muds
see DRILLING

MUD

naphtha
Similar in form to petrol (gasoline),
naphtha is produced from FRACTIONAL
DISTILLATION. It is primarily used in the
chemical industry, including to make
lighter fluid, cleaning solvents and
fuel for camp stoves, and can also be
further refined through CRACKING to produce more valuable products such as
high octane gasoline.
national oil company (NOC)
A state-owned oil exploration and
production company, usually used in
contrast to the idea of IOCS. Because
of the wave of nationalisations
caused by RESOURCE NATIONALISM, the
NOCs now represent 18 out of the
biggest 20 oil companies in the world,
measured in terms of their oil and gas
assets. Some NOCs are run on corporatised lines and have started to compete internationally, notably CNPC
from China, Algeria's Sonatrach, Petronas from Malaysia and Petrobras
from Brazil. Petrobras and Colombia's
Ecopetrol also have minority private
sector shareholders.
natural gas
Primarily methane. It occurs naturally
and is used as a fuel.
natural gas condensates
see CONDENSATES, NATURAL GAS

46
nodding donkey
A device used in oil production when
the pressure inside a well is not sufficient to force oil to the surface, consisting of a long beam which 'dips' in
and out of the well to extract crude. A
common feature of oil landscapes
also known as a 'pumpjack' or
'grasshopper pump'.
non-associated gas
NATURAL GAS found in reservoirs where
no liquid HYDROCARBONS are present or
where no significant quantities of liquid hydrocarbons exist. Contrasts
with ASSOCIATED GAS.
offshore
The drilling of wells into the seabed.
Offshore drilling began in the nineteenth century and significant production was achieved on Venezuela's
Lake Maracaibo in the 1920s but
modern techniques began in the Gulf
of Mexico in the 1940s. Offshore is
generally regarded as drilling that
takes place on the continental shelf in
less than 200 metres of water, but in
recent years deep offshore has
evolved with drilling in water deeper
than 2,000 metres. Offshore is often
controversial because of environmental risks but is a growing component of global production and is
particularly significant to production
in Brazil, West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico and increasingly the Levantine
basin. See also: PRE-SALT
oil in place (OIP)
CRUDE OIL estimated to exist in a field
or a reservoir. Not all that oil will be
extracted, however, because of the
properties of a rock formation. The
exact percentage will depend on the
RECOVERY RATE.
oil sands
An UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY SOURCE, made up
of a mixture of sand, water and
BITUMEN. Usual techniques cannot be
applied here and extraction often resembles mining more than conventional drilling, using techniques that
are far more energy- and capital in-

47
tensive. Oil sands have only recently
been included in the worlds oil reserves due to high oil prices and
technological advances. The largest
deposits currently known are the Athabasca tar sands in Canada. See also:
HEAVY OIL

oil-backed loan
A loan in which future oil revenues
are pledged as collateral by a producing country. A prominent feature of
Chinese engagement in resource-rich
African countries such as Angola and
Nigeria, and often used to finance
large infrastructure projects.
"If the Government of South Sudan feels
that oil-backed loans are currently necessary to prevent economic collapse, it is critical that robust protections are put in place
to minimize future costs and consequences."
- Global Witness 2012
oilfield service companies
see SERVICE COMPANIES
OPEC
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a cartel formed in
1961 through which 12 member
states agree on a shared quota for
the production and sale of petroleum.
OPEC is intimately linked to the rise
of RESOURCE NATIONALISM and the industry
in all of its member states is dominated by NATIONAL OIL COMPANIES. As of
2012, OPEC produced about 40 percent of the worlds oil. With its large
share of global production, OPEC has
become effective in determining the
price of oil on international markets,
but there can be sharp divergence of
interests between its various members, who are all in different situations as regards their state of
DEPLETION and degree of DEPENDENCY on oil
revenues. See also: SWING PRODUCER
operator
The company within a CONSORTIUM with
overall decision-making authority at
an operational level on an oil or gas
project, usually also with the greatest
financial stake. See also: JOINT VENTURE,
WORKING INTEREST

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


Peak Oil
The controversial idea that the world
will soon run out of oil and gas.
Everyone agrees that oil and gas, as
depletable resources in contrast to renewables, will run out sometime. But
peak oil says that moment is very
close because global oil production
has already peaked. The theory relies
on HUBBERT'S CURVE.
petrochemicals
Chemicals derived from PETROLEUM or
other fossil fuels, largely used in the
plastics industry. There are currently
4,000 chemicals classified as petrochemicals.
petrodollar
Since oil sales are generally denominated in US dollars, petrodollars are
the funds from oil sales. The dollar
denomination has had implications
for linkages between the oil industry
and the US economy which has led
some producers, notably Venezuela in
recent years, to debate ending it.
petrol
Or gasoline, one of the key products
of crude oil used mostly for transport.
petroleum
The term of art to denote both crude
oil and petroleum products produced
by REFINING. The terms "oil" and "petroleum" are sometimes used interchangeably.
pipeline
A pipe, usually underground, used to
transport oil or gas over long distances. Although pipelines can be
constructed underwater most oil
transport by sea is done by tankers.
Because pipelines are so expensive
and significant ones often cross multiple national borders, pipeline negotiations often involve complex geopolitics.
plateau production
Keeping production out of a mature
oilfield steady for a number of years.
This usually involves using ENHANCED OIL
RECOVERY
techniques
to
mitigate

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


DEPLETION.

play
A slang term commonly used in the
industry for an investment decision.
"International players are taking a closer
look at Australia's Cooper-basin shale
play."
- Petroleum Economist 2012
possible reserves
Have a 10 percent certainty of being
produced. Combined with PROVEN
RESERVES and PROBABLE RESERVES in the industry term 3P. See also: RESERVES
pre-salt
Oil and gas deposits that are found
beneath huge layers of salt, deep in
the rocks. Pre-salt deposits could not
be exploited commercially until recently because of technological limitations but now represent a significant
portion of projected future finds. The
most famous pre-salt region is Brazil's
Tupi field, under 2,000 metres of water and a further 5,000 metres of salt,
sand and rock. See also: OFFSHORE
probable reserves
Have a 50 percent certainty of being
produced under current market conditions. Probable and PROVEN RESERVES are
often combined in a definition known
as 2P, which is the most common way
to assess the amount of oil a field is
likely to produce. See also: RESERVES
production sharing contract (PSC)
An agreement between a company
and a host country on the percentage
of oil each party will receive after
specified costs and expenses have
been paid under COST RECOVERY. Under a
PSC, the company generally gives the
state cash payments in the form of
ROYALTIES and income tax. Also known
as a production sharing agreement
(PSA). See also: CONCESSION, SERVICE
CONTRACT

profit oil
The portion of revenues divided up
between participating parties and a
host government in a PRODUCTION SHARING
CONTRACT, once the operator has re-

48
covered its investment by deducting
COST OIL production.
"As the profit oil is split between the companies and the state, the cost of allowable
expenditures is passed on to the state in
the form of reduced profit oil."
- Civil Society Coalition on Oil in
Uganda 2010
project financing
Arrangements for capital linked to individual production projects. Even
SUPERMAJOR oil companies use financing
from banks and financial instruments
such as bonds extensively because of
the
increasingly
capital-intensive
nature of oil exploration and production. Global investment in UPSTREAM has
risen from about US $100 billion in
2000 to about $600 billion in 2011, a
level which the industry anticipates is
likely to hold or rise in the next decade.
prospective resources
see RESOURCES
proven reserves
Classified as having a 90 percent certainty of being produced at current
prices, with current commercial terms
and government consent, and are
also known in industry as 1P. See also:
RESERVES

recovery rate
The amount of oil that will be extracted compared to the amount of oil in
place. Historically rates of 25 percent
were common but rates are now
rising to 50 percent and above because of extensive use of ENHANCED OIL
RECOVERY.
refining
Processes which convert crude oil and
gas into usable products, such as
FRACTIONAL DISTILLATION and CRACKING. Refining is a huge industry in its own right
but with volatile profit margins in recent years which have caused some
INTEGRATED ENERGY COMPANIES to consider
getting out of it.
rent
A revenue stream that accrues above

49
and beyond a normal economic return on activity or profit. The concept
was first developed by economists
Adam Smith and David Ricardo in the
18th and 19th centuries. It dominates
the economics of the global oil industry because of sharply varying
costs of production for a commodity
sold at roughly the same price. For
example, it could cost US $5 to produce a barrel of oil in Libya and $60
in some fields in Canada, yet both sell
for the same price, meaning the margins are massively different. Economists differentiate between rent and a
normal return on capital, or profit,
and argue that it should be treated
differently. Rent encourages rentseeking, an integral part of the
concept of RESOURCE CURSE.
reserves
A subset of oil and gas RESOURCES,
which are commercially viable to extract. Definitions used around the
world still differ somewhat but there
is increasing standardisation under a
series of definitions produced by the
US Society of Petroleum Engineers
(SPE). Reserves are further divided
into the sub-categories: PROVEN RESERVES,
PROBABLE RESERVES, AND POSSIBLE RESERVES .
Classification of reserves can be crucial to the value of a company, as it is
a key way for a company to show its
assets through BOOKING RESERVES.
reserves-production ratio
The number of years a country can
continue producing at its current rate
given the level of its PROVEN RESERVES.
BP's Statistical Analysis for 2012 estimated the global R/P ratio at 54
years. At one end of the spectrum are
the United States, Norway and the
United Kingdom with respectively 10,
nine and seven years production left.
At the other, Saudi Arabia has 65
years left, Kuwait 97 years and Iran
99 years.
resource diplomacy
The use of state diplomacy to negotiate access to natural resources. For
example, the United States has used

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


resource diplomacy in the Gulf, and
China is increasingly using it in Africa.
resource nationalism
The political feeling that control of
natural resources should be in the
hands of the countries which own
them. Resource nationalism grew in
the oil industry as a result of dominance by the SEVEN SISTERS and led to
the creation of OPEC and nationalisation of the industry in many countries, leading to the rise of the NATIONAL
OIL COMPANIES.
resource-backed loans
see OIL-BACKED LOANS
resources
All quantities of petroleum which are
known to exist including those which
are not, at that time, considered to be
commercially viable to extract. This
can change as technology develops
and with higher oil prices. For example, the OIL SANDS were previously
classified as RESOURCES but are now
RESERVES.
resource curse
The theory that natural resource
wealth can sometimes paradoxically
create negative development outcomes in producing countries, due to
weakened government institutions,
neglect of other key sectors of the
economy (known as DUTCH DISEASE),
corruption, high income inequality
and pollution. Sometimes called the
'paradox of plenty'. See also: RENTS
"The resource curse is not inevitable.
What's needed is transparency and accountability."
- Petroleum Economist 2011
royalties
A percentage share of production, or
of the value of the production which
goes to the government regardless of
the rate of production or costs to the
operator. Royalty rates often change
incrementally
as
production
increases. In calculating revenue flows
from an oil project, royalties take precedence, with other categories such
as COST OIL and PROFIT OIL subordinate.

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


CONCESSION type contracts are almost
entirely based on royalties.
royalty interest
In contrast with a WORKING INTEREST, the
ownership of a portion of revenues
produced from an operation without
bearing the ongoing production costs.
See also: ROYALTY, PRODUCTION SHARING
CONTRACT

"It's generally recommended that investors


without deep pockets and a solid working
knowledge of oil and gas exploration stick
with limited liability royalty interests."
- Investopedia
sedimentary basin
Geologically, areas where there have
been huge deposits of organic matter
millions of years ago which may then
have
become
compacted
and
'cooked' into oil and gas. Because of
continental shifts and other geological movements, such areas can now
be deep inland even if they were originally underwater. For example, the
Texas and Oklahoma oilfields of the
United States are part of a sedimentary basin formed in what was an extended Gulf of Mexico while in Libya
oil-bearing formations of the Sirte
Basin extend a thousand kilometres
inland, into the Sahara desert. See
also: CAP ROCK, ANTICLINE
"The sedimentary basins in New Zealand
that are likely to contain oil and gas are
young (less than 80 million years old)."
- Encyclopedia of New Zealand 2012
seismic survey
Technology similar to ultrasound used
to build a picture of underground rock
structures during early stage oil and
gas exploration. Seismic works by
sending out sound pulses and using
the measurements of how and when
they return to estimate rock structures, since different kinds of rock offer different levels of resistance to
the signals. Combined with information from an APPRAISAL WELL these surveys form the basis for further investment decisions. Seismic data has increased exponentially in recent years
with the development of data acquisi-

50
tion and interpretation technology.
See
also:
ANTICLINE,
SOURCE
ROCK,
COMMERCIALITY

service companies
Oil companies which do everything
but actually own or bid on resources
with governments. The oil industry
has been subject to outsourcing since
the 1980s meaning that SUPERMAJORS often contract large parts of their operations to service companies. The
largest, such as Schlumberger and
Halliburton, employ tens of thousands
of employees and can win single field
contracts worth hundreds of millions
of dollars.
service contracts
An agreement whereby a foreign oil
company is contracted to produce a
country's oil reserves on a simple fee
basis. The state maintains sole rights
over the RESERVES, and the contractor is
compensated by a fee per barrel, plus
COST RECOVERY. See also: PRODUCTION SHARING
CONTRACT, CONCESSION
Seven Sisters
A term coined in the 1950s to describe the oil companies which dominated the early years of the global oil
industry. They were Anglo-Persian Oil
Company (now BP), Gulf Oil, Standard
Oil of California (Socal) and Texaco
(now Chevron), Royal Dutch Shell,
Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) and
Standard Oil Company of New York
(Socony) (now ExxonMobil). See also:
INTERNATIONAL OIL COMPANY

shale gas
NATURAL GAS formed from being trapped
within shale rock formations; currently the source of 20 percent of US
natural gas production due to the increase in HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, or FRACKING,
and predicted to increase in importance in the future by the EIA.
showing, oil or gas
When a company announces that oil
has been found in an exploratory
well. Exploration companies often use
showings to make dramatic public announcements to boost their profile

51

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY

and share price, but a showing does


not necessarily mean that COMMERCIALITY
will be declared.
signature bonus
Lump sum of money paid up front by
companies to governments upon
signing a PRODUCTION SHARING CONTRACT or
CONCESSION
agreement.
Sometimes
used as the deciding factor in a tiebreaker between bidders.
"Under the last bid round in Libya, Occidental paid $1 billion as a signature bonus"
slant drilling
see HORIZONTAL

DRILLING

sour oil
CRUDE OIL GRADES which have high sulphur, decreasing their market value,
in contrast to SWEET OIL.
source rock
Organic-matter rich rocks- typically,
shales, sandstones or carbonates- in
which petroleum forms, if it is subjected to high temperatures over prolonged periods of time. See also: CAP
ROCK

sovereign wealth fund (SWF)


Government-held investment funds to
hold budgetary surplus, often resulting from RENTS as a method of better
managing resource revenues by investing rather than spending, and increasingly popular as an attempt to
shield against the RESOURCE CURSE. In
2012 SWFs were estimated to hold
nearly US $5 trillion.
"Although sovereign-wealth funds hold a
bare 2% of the assets traded throughout
the world, they are growing fast."
- Economist 2008
spot market
The global market where oil can be
traded dynamically. Before the spot
market appeared in the 1970s, oil
was traded largely in long-term fixed
contracts. But now a single shipment
of oil can be traded up to ten times
from the time it leaves a producing
country to the time it reaches port.

spudding
The very start of the drilling process
at a new well by getting rid of any
bits of rock, dirt or other sediment.
stabilisation fund
A fund used to smooth government
income between one year and the
next to mitigate the high volatility of
revenues that economies with natural
resource DEPENDENCY suffer from. Stabilisation funds are different to SOVEREIGN
WEALTH FUNDS.
strategic reserves
Government-held stocks of crude to
guarantee a country against economic breakdown in the case of major
world turbulence, and a key part of
ENERGY SECURITY. These reserves were developed after the 1973 oil crisis. Up
to five billion barrels are held globally
in such reserves, with the United
States alone holding nearly a billion
barrels.
subsidies, energy
Most oil exporting countries have traditionally heavily subsidised energy
at home. Over time the cost of these
subsidies has become crippling to
many state budgets, but they are almost impossible to remove politically.
subsoil rights
Who owns resources under the
ground. In many countries, subsoil
rights belong to the state which is
why the state develops an oil industry
when deposits are found. In the
United States, by contrast, subsoil
rights attach to the landowner at the
surface, which is what triggered oil
rushes in Texas, Oklahoma, and elsewhere.
super-giant field
see GIANT FIELD
supermajor
The world's largest publicly owned oil
and gas companies and the modern
day equivalent of the SEVEN SISTERS,
considered to be BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total,
with ConocoPhillips sometimes also

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY


included.

See also::

INTERNATIONAL

52
OIL

COMPANY

sweet oil
CRUDE OIL GRADES which have low sulphur, increasing their market value,
in contrast to SOUR OIL.
swing producer
A country which has production capacity significantly above what its actual levels of production are, allowing it
to raise production overnight and
therefore lower market prices. Saudi
Arabia has been the sole swing producer for the last 30 years. Other
countries such as Iraq and Libya
sometimes debate a similar role.
tar sands
see OIL SANDS
tight hole
A drilling well about which all information is kept confidential, most often
used for APPRAISAL WELLS.
transit fees
Fees charged by a country to allow oil
or gas to be transported across its
territory, either by pipeline or through
shipping channels such as the Suez
and Panama Canals.
transparency
Improved access to information such
as revenues, prices and contract
terms, helping to 'follow the money'
and prevent corruption. Transparency
first emerged as a high profile norm
in the 1990s as issues of governance
came to dominate the global debate
on development. A growing movement demanding greater transparency in the oil and gas industry
centres around the EITI initiative. See
also: RENT AND RENT-SEEKING
"Transparency of payments made from a
company to a government can help to
demonstrate the contribution that their investment makes to a country."
- EITI
unconventional energy sources
Any resources accessed by means
other than the conventional oil well

method. This is an umbrella term that


shifts over time, but currently used to
refer to sources such as SHALE GAS, COAL
BED METHANE and OIL SANDS.
"While these reserves may hold the key to
the future oil supply, companies must deal
with the additional time, cost and resources
it takes to extract the unconventional oil."
- Financial Times 2010
unitisation
The way a single oil bearing rock
formation is divided by two countries
when it straddles a border. For example the United Kingdom and Norway have a unitisation agreement in
the North Sea. Unitisation requires
agreed borders, but since the oil
could be sucked from one side of the
border to the other also goes beyond
it to require agreement and cooperation on geological studies and production figures.
unproven reserves
An umbrella term for
and POSSIBLE RESERVES.
see RESERVES

PROBABLE RESERVES

upstream
The capital-intensive, high risk-high
reward initial stages of the industry
involving exploration and production.
See also: MIDSTREAM, DOWNSTREAM, INTEGRATED
ENERGY COMPANY

venting
When ASSOCIATED GAS is simply released
into the atmosphere. Venting is even
more harmful to the environment
than FLARING since methane is many
times more potent as a greenhouse
gas than the carbon dioxide produced
when it is burned.
well completion
see COMPLETION
West Texas Intermediate (WTI)
The US crude oil BENCHMARK, traditionally trading within a few dollars of
BRENT CRUDE. It is a LIGHT OIL with a low
sulphur content, so it is considered to
be a high quality crude. See also:
BENCHMARK CRUDES

53
wet gas
NATURAL GAS containing other hydrocarbons that condense as the gas rises
to the surface and lower temperatures than existed in the reservoir.
Typically, wet gas contains less than
85 percent methane. The natural gas
liquids are generally separated from
the methane to ensure that the natural gas sent to consumers has a consistent thermal energy content;
though wet gas is sometimes more
valuable than DRY GAS, as the liquids
are themselves sellable commodities
such as butane. See also: DRY GAS,
CONDENSATES

wildcat well
An exploratory well into rock structures not known to contain oil
RESOURCES, under conditions of little or
no geological certainty. A high risk
"make or break" venture for drilling
companies. If the well is in a field that
has not produced before it is known
as a "new-field wildcat". If it is more
than 3 kilometres away from any producing well it is called a "rank wildcat". If the well discovers oil, it is
known as the "discovery well" of that
field. See also: APPRAISAL WELL DEVELOPMENT
WELL

working interest
The percentage stake taken by a
company in an oil or gas operation,
where they are liable for a proportion
of the ongoing operating costs but
also has a claim to a share of the
profits. This contrasts with a ROYALTY
INTEREST.
See also: PRODUCTION SHARING
CONTRACT, COST RECOVERY

JARGON BUSTER: GLOSSARY