Glossary of Fuel Industry Common Terms
- 30 September 2016
The terminology around fuel and fuel pricing can be confusing. Terms such as West Texas Crude, Biodiesel, LPG and LNG are frequently used, but are they all names for the same thing? The short answer is ‘yes’. The long answer is that while all these terms refer to fuel, their small differences make a big difference to how and why these fuels are used.
Below is a summarised glossary of just some of the many terms, acronyms and abbreviations that are used every day in the global fuel industry.
Biodiesel: can be used alone, or as an additive to reduce the level of particulates, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from diesel. Biodiesel is usually derived from a plant, such as a soybean oil.
Biofuels: refers to fuel that has been produced from biological processes rather than ‘fossils’. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants or biomass.
Clean Diesel: This refers to the new generation of ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) fuel, or ‘cleaner diesel’, which contains 97 percent less sulphur. The refining process reduces the sulphur content of diesel fuel to 15 parts per million (ppm) or less. Since 2006, almost all of the diesel fuel sold in Europe and North America is a form of ULSD due to both on-road and off-road vehicles converting to clean diesel power.
Crude Oil: another term used to describe Petroleum. The terms Crude Oil and Petroleum both refer to the natural, unrefined petroleum product which is composed of a mix of liquid, gas and solid hydrocarbons.
Dated Brent Crude: Brent Crude refers to the benchmark assessment of the price of physical, light North Sea crude oil. Dated Brent Crude refers to physical cargoes of crude oil that have been assigned specific delivery dates. The Dated Brent Crude price reflects the tradable, repeatable spot market value of the most competitive grade.
Diesel: Diesel fuel and diesel oil are less about the precise mix of hydrocarbons than the type of engine that it powers. A Diesel engine is completely different to the petrol-powered combustion engine.
Diesel particulate: part of the complex mixture that contributes to diesel exhaust. The level of diesel particulate has been reduced since catalytic converters and was introduced to diesel exhaust systems and the reduced level of sulphur content in diesel fuel has also reduced diesel particulates. Filtered fuel further reduces the organic and inorganic particulates.
Final Filtered Diesel®: Diesel fuel that has been passed through a fine micron diesel fuel filter before it enters a vehicle’s fuel tank. A fuel filter is designed to remove contaminants and larger particulate matter that may have occurred during the fuel supply chain.
Fuel Oil: Also called ‘Heating Oil’, Fuel Oil is another by-product of petroleum. Fuel oil is used in the same way as coal was once used in houses as fuel for domestic heaters. Fuel is still used for some domestic heaters and in ships and trains.
LNG: The abbreviation of Liquified Natural Gas, which consists mostly of methane. The energy density of LNG is comparable to propane and ethanol. LNG contains only 60 percent of the energy that diesel contains and 70 percent of regular petrol.
LPG: The abbreviation of Liquid Petroleum Gas, also referred to as Propane or Butane and it can sometimes include a variation of butane, called isobutane. LPG is produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. LPG can be used as a low emissions fuel and is commonly used in buses and taxis.
Malaysian Tapis Crude Oil: comes from a single oil field in Malaysia and sets the benchmark price for crude oil in Australia. The USA uses West Texas Crude as the benchmark crude oil price for the US market.
Mini tanker: also known as a minitanker, typically a mini tanker is used to describe a small fuel tanker that is primarily used for direct into equipment or onsite refuelling.
MOPS95: the Singapore benchmark price of petrol. This is the key price benchmark for petrol in Australia.
Petroleum: is not the same as petrol. Petroleum is the general term used for a naturally occurring oily, flammable, bituminous liquid that is a complex mixture of gaseous, liquid and solid hydrocarbons. Petroleum is the raw product that is refined into fuel, naphtha, benzene, kerosene, paraffin, plastics and lubricating oils.
PPM: this is an abbreviation for parts per million. It can also be expressed as milligrams per litre (mg/L) This measurement is the mass of a chemical or contaminate per unit volume of water. One ppm is very small. Try thinking about four drops of ink in a 55-gallon (220 litres) barrel of water.
Singapore: Singapore is the largest regional refining and distribution centre for the Asia Pacific region. What happens in Singapore effects the fuel supply and pricing in Australia.
Singapore Gasoil 10ppm: the Singapore benchmark for diesel fuel, comprising 10ppm sulphur. This is the
S&P Global Platts (Platts): S&P Global Platts is the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI): Also referred to as ‘West Texas Crude’, this is another benchmark oil used in oil pricing. WTI is described as a light sweet grade of crude oil due to its low density and sulphur content. WTI is refined mostly in the Midwest and Gulf coast states of the USA.
The most important thing to know about fuel of any kind is how to get quality fuel at the most competitive price. At Bulk Fuels Australia, we use detailed industry knowledge to help our customers get the best value bulk fuel for their business – anywhere around the country. For further details about our bulk fuel, Final Filtered Fuel or on-site refuelling and storage solutions, get in touch today. Call 1300 57 9990