About Petrochem Glossary of Terms

Whether you’ve been in Petrochemical for years or are new to the field, there’s a lot of jargon to know. Read up on the terms that will make you sound like an expert.

Petrochem Geek Speak

Certificate of Completion
Awarded upon completion of an assigned set of courses in a particular subject area, usually taken at a community college.
Certification
The verification that you have the skills or knowledge to perform a certain job. Often requires passing an exam.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are devices that make industrial components without direct human assistance. They use computer-coded instructions that are sent to computerized machinery, which allows factories to fabricate parts accurately and quickly.
Computer-aided design (CAD)
Computer-based systems for product design that may incorporate "what-if" capabilities to optimize product designs. In many cases, CAD-generated data is used to generate tooling instructions for computer-numerical-control (CNC) systems.
Crude Oil
Chemical substance that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs. Crude oil is refined to produce a wide array of petroleum products, including heating oils; gasoline, diesel and jet fuels; lubricants; asphalt; and many other products used for their energy or chemical content.
Downstream
The oil and gas industry is usually divided into three major parts: upstream, midstream and downstream. Downstream, commonly referred to as Petrochemical, is the refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products made from crude oil and natural gas.
Exploration & Production
Often referred to as "E&P," this term refers to the process of finding oil or natural gas and then retrieving it from below the Earth's surface. Also referred to as "upstream."
Geology
The science that deals with the earth's physical structure and substance.
Hydrology
The branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth's water, especially its movement in relation to land.
Lean Manufacturing
A manufacturing practice that aims to reduce wasted time, effort or other resources in the production process.
Midstream
The oil and gas industry is usually divided into three major parts: upstream, midstream and downstream. Midstream involves the transportation (by pipeline, rail, ship, oil tanker or truck), storage, and sale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products.
Natural Gas
A gaseous mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, the primary one being methane. Natural gas is mostly used for generating electric or thermal energy. It can also be used to make fertilizers, fuel, paint, and many other items.
Oil & Gas
A large industry that finds crude oil and natural gas and refines it into every day products such as gasoline, heating fuel, plastics, rubber, paint amoung many other products. Made of upstream, midstream, and downstream activities.
OSHA
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal organization that ensures safe and healthy working conditions for Americans by enforcing standards and providing workplace safety training.
Pension Plan
Retirement pension refers to a plan that is designed to provide funds to individuals once they stop working.
Personal Protective Equipment
Commonly referred to as "PPE", this is equipment worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. May include safety goggles, ear protection, flame-retardant clothing, breathing protection and biohazard suits.
Petrochemical
Also known as Petrochem. The refining of petroleum crude oil and the processing and purifying of raw natural gas, as well as the marketing and distribution of products made from crude oil and natural gas. The refining process creates important componants of gasoline, heating fuel, plastics, rubber, paint amoung many other products.
Quality Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance
Quality Assurance
Processes and guidelines to ensure that the product created will meet a set of standards.
Quality Control
Processes and measures used to verify the quality of the end product.
Refinery
A plant that manufactures finished petroleum products from crude oil, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, other hydrocarbons, and oxygenates.
Six Sigma
Continious process improvement with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction.
Supply-Chain/Logistics Systems
A class of manufacturing software designed to optimize scheduling and other activities throughout the supply chain.
Upstream
The oil and gas industry is usually divided into three major parts: upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream part refers to searching for potential underground or underwater crude oil and natural gas fields and drilling/operating the wells that bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface.