The Oil Traders’ Word(S): Oil Trading Jargon

Stuck for words?

A book review by Nicholas Newman of Stefan van Woenzel new book ‘The Oil Traders’ Word(S): Oil Trading Jargon’.

Sometimes, you can be at a meeting and you have no idea what they are talking about. This is especially the case with the specialised technical business dialect used by oil traders. For instance, do you know what ‘AAA’, ‘going long’ or even ‘lay days’ means?


You will need to know at least some of these terms when you are involved in sending crude oil from Brazil to Germany via a large oil tanker across the Atlantic to Rotterdam, where it is refined and the resultant products are barged up the Rhine to a terminal in Frankfurt.

Well, AAA in this case does not stand for the American Automobile Association but Stefan van Woenzel defines ‘AAA’ as the American Arbitration Association, which provides recognised independent arbitration services between clients.

As for ‘going long’ it’s not some cricket term, but the purchase of a commodity like crude for storage, supplies or speculation.

However, ‘lay days’ means the period of time described in the charter party during which time the owner must tender his ship for loading.

I will leave you to read the book to find out what ‘charter parties’ mean.

This book includes various oil terms and definitions derived from day to day experience for general trading, paper trading, risk, logistics, refinery, oil documentation, HSE, oil traders words of wisdom and conversion formulas. Well, this book provides you with a good clearly written definition of what  are these terms and many others mean.

This new book “The Oil Traders’ Word(s): Oil Trading Jargon” by Stefan van Woenzel, Lead Negotiator Crude at Statoil ASA, provides you with more than 2000 most commonly used oil trading related definitions.

As for his‘old traders words of wisdom’, I especially liked ‘sell in May and stay away’. Since most traders decide to go away on holiday in May, leaving fewer trading opportunities to participate in. Whilst, ‘I am a student of the market and my job is to learn’ means that since the market is always evolving, you need to be constantly learning to keep ahead of the game.

Stefan van Woenzel, book is designed as a communication aid to allow people involved in the global oil trading world including oil traders, operators, contract personnel, claims departments, controllers, storage people, shipping agents, oil brokers, energy journalist’s, regulators and policy makers, et cetera to communicate clearly, effectively, efficiently and precisely.

Hopefully, this book should help avoid some of the recent notorious trading losses that some traders have experienced in the past few years.

In addition, I especially appreciated the practical career advice; Stefan provides in his foreword to the book, he advises traders who are seeking to be successful, to get out of the office. They need to promote themselves by networking, not only at stuffy business meetings, dinners and conferences, but by also getting out in the real world and participating in a sport like golf or sailing with colleagues, customers and rivals. As an energy journalist and consultant of some years’ experience, I have gained many opportunities from playing golf or sailing with industry clients.

This book is available in both hardback, paperback  and  e-book format. The author warns that this book is not meant to be used as legal documentation related to commercial or operational decisions.

Overall, I found this a very useful book, which I will recommend to my colleagues in the energy game, whether they are traders, academics or fellow energy journalists.

Price £24-95

  • · Paperback: 560 pages
  • · Publisher: AuthorHouseUK (29 Jun 2012)
  • · Language: English
  • · ISBN-10: 1468586041
  • · ISBN-13: 978-1468586046
  • · Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.1 x 22.9 cm
  • · http://www.oiljargon.com/index.html

Electricity Prices in Europe

Energy prices are a crucial factor for industry and business. They have a great impact on both competitiveness and productivity.  At European level energy prices, in particular for gas and electricity, are monitored by Eurostat. Their data reveal a number of interesting aspects about the energy market in Europe. In the figure below we have selected some countries showing significantly different price levels for electricity for industrial consumers.

Electricity prices for industrial consumers in Europe.

Italy is a good example for electricity prices well above the EU average which in 2010 was 0.105 EUR/kWh. For the Italian industry electricity is therefore about 35% more expensive than for the average industrial consumer in Europe. Finland, on the other hand, is one of the cheaper places of the continent with its price level being almost 35% below average.

France is also among those countries with relatively low electricity prices for the industry. Its electricity bill is significantly lower than the one for German (0.115 EUR/kWh in 2010) or UK (0.995 EUR/kWh in 2010) consumers.

The introduction of a carbon tax would affect those countries in very different ways. Especially Germany and UK might feel its consequences, since their energy mix contains a large proportion of coal-fired power plants. France, on the other hand, with its very strong nuclear sector would be affected to a much lower degree.