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Glossary

Backwardation
A market where the price for nearby delivery is higher than for further forward months.

Bacteria
Any of a group (as kingdom Prokaryotae syn. Monera) of prokaryotic unicellular round, spiral, or rod-shaped single-celled microorganisms that are often aggregated into colonies or motile by means of flagella, that live in soil, water, organic matter, or the bodies of plants and animals, and that are autotrophic, saprophytic, or parasitic in nutrition and important because of their biochemical effects and pathogenicity.

Bag filter
A row of fabric bags through which a gas stream is passed for the removal of particulate matter.

Ballast
Non cargo load (generally see water) used to make a vessel without cargo heavier and more stable.

Ballast water
Water carried in tanks to maintain stability when a ship is lightly loaded and normally discharged to the sea when the ship is loaded with cargo.

Ballasting
Ballasting is the process of taking sea water (or fresh water) on board where the water is gravity fed or pumped into the ships’ ballast tanks and/or specially strengthened cargo holds. The process of pumping out or discharging the water is called de-ballasting or ballast discharge.

Barge
Flat-bottomed boat designed to carry cargo on inland waterways, usually without engines or crew accommodations. Barges can be lashed together and either pushed or pulled by tugs, carrying cargo of 60,000 tons or more. Small barges for carrying cargo between ship and shore are known as lighters.

Barrel
Volume unit corresponding to 159 liters. A barrel of oil corresponds to about 0.137 metric tons.

Barrels per day
Production of crude oil and petroleum products is frequently measured in barrels per day, often abbreviated bpd. A barrel is a volume measure of forty-two United States gallons. Conversion of barrels to metric tons depends on the density of the special product. About 7.3 barrels of average crude oil weigh one metric ton. Heavy would be about seven per metric ton. Light products, such as gasoline and kerosine, would average close to eight barrels per metric ton.

Barrier beach
An accumulation of sand, rock, and other material lying parallel to the coast but separated from it by a channel; a barrier beach measures from a few meters to a few kilometers in width. Large barrier beaches may be identified as barrier islands. They are formed by the action of waves but are usually vulnerable to overwashing or breaching during severe storms.

Basin
A depression in the earth’s crust in which sedimentary materials has accumulated over millions of years. Basins may contain oil or gas reservoirs. Much of the production of gas and oil in the United States come from basins, such as the Appalachian Basin, the Permian Basin, the Los Angeles Basin or the San Joaquin Valley Basin.

BAT
(see Best Available Technology)

BAT – Best Available Technology
A zone of ocean water ranging from about 200 meters to 1,000 meters in depth, generally located along continental slopes. Unlike the abyssal zone, light reaches the upper layer of the bathyal zone, and there is abundant biological activity in the water. The bathyal zone of the world covers a total of about 40 million square kilometers.

Bathyal zone
A zone of ocean water ranging from about 200 meters to 1,000 meters in depth, generally located along continental slopes. Unlike the abyssal zone, light reaches the upper layer of the bathyal zone, and there is abundant biological activity in the water. The bathyal zone of the world covers a total of about 40 million square kilometers.

BATNEEC – Best Available Technique Not Entailing Excessive Cost
Superseded by BAT – Refers to the methodology for the Implementation of Equipment and Processes for Health & Safety and the Environment, the significant difference being that the required technology must take into account the size of the operation and relevant cost.

Bay
A bay is a body of water that is partly enclosed by land (usually smaller than a gulf).

Beach feeding
Placement of extra sand and shingle to replace sand washed away.

Bearing capacity
The load per unit area which the ground can safely support without excessive deformation.

Benchmark crude
A crude oil established as a standard by which the quality of other crudes is measured. Are to mention: the Arabian Light, the Brent Blend, the Bonny Light and the Dubay Fateh.

Benthic
Bottom-dwelling; usually refers to organisms living on the substrate of the bottom of a water body.

Benthos
In freshwater and marine ecosystems, the collection of organisms both attached to or resting on the bottom sediments and burrowed into the sediments. In terms of size, benthos are generally divided into three categories: meiobenthos, the organisms that pass through a 0.5 millimeter sieve; macrobenthos, those that are caught by grabs or dredges but retained on the 0.5 millimeter sieve, and epibenthos, those organisms that live on rather than in the seabed.

Benzene
A colorless, volatile chemical that was first used as an industrial solvent and later as a starting material for the synthesis of other chemicals. Benzene is also a constituent of gasoline that has been determined to cause cancer in highly exposed workers. Because benzene vaporizes readily, persons handling gasoline might experience potentially hazardous, high-dose occupational exposures.

Best Practical Control Technology (BPT)
The best technology for pollution control available at reasonable cost and operable under normal conditions.

Bioavailability
Existence of a substance in a physical and chemical state which can be taken up by living organisms.

Biocenosis
Is the integration of several collectivities of species (animals and vegetables) with the environmental space in which they lives (biotop). Biocenosis and biotop form an ecosystem.

Biocides
Special types of antimicrobial agents that kill a very broad spectrum of target microorganisms. They are described as “biocidal”.

Biodegradable
Capable of being eaten or otherwise decomposed by some kind of living creature. Bacteria and fungi are the main culprits; we usually use the word edible for things that can be eaten by animals. It is important to consider the timescale involved – paper is biodegradable, but can kick around for a very long time before succumbing. Most synthetic polymers are not particularly biodegradable, but many are susceptible to breakdown by ultraviolet radiation from the sun and will crumble away in about the same time as an equivalent sheet of paper.

Biodegradation in situ
Microbial treatment of soil in place to encourage contaminant to break down. It involves aerating the soil and adding nutrients to promote growth of micro-organisms.

Biodiversity
The variety of flora and fauna in a given ecosystem; there are four levels of biodiversity: genetic, population, community, and landscape ecology; biodiversity depends on the variety of native habitats and the integrity of their landscape linkages; agrobiodiversity – the variety of domesticated and wild plants and animals present in a given farming system and their habitat and ecological contexts.

Bioenergy
Useful, renewable energy produced from organic matter. The conversion of the complex carbohydrates in organic matter to energy. Organic matter may either be used directly as a fuel or processed into liquids and gases.

Biofilters
Filters constructed of biologically active materials, such as compost, straw, wood chips, peat or soil, that contain microorganisms that break down volatile organic compounds and oxidizable inorganic gases and vapors into non-malodorous compounds such as water and carbon dioxide.

Biofouling
The gradual accumulation of waterborne organisms (as bacteria and protozoa) on the surfaces of engineering structures in water that contributes to corrosion of the structures and to a decrease in the efficiency of moving parts.

Biofuels
Biomass converted to liquid or gaseous fuels such as ethanol, methanol, methane, and hydrogen.

Biogas
A product of decomposing organic matter such as manure or food processing wastes using anaerobic bacteria. Biogas is primarily composed of methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. Optimum Utility Systems can design useful applications for biogas such as heating, absorption cooling, and generating electricity using an engine or microturbine.

Biogeochemical cycles
Movements through the Earth system of key chemical constituents essential to life, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus.

Biogeography
A subfield of geography that tries to explain why organisms occur the way they do, where they do. For that purpose, biogeography produces inventories of organisms, investigates spatial distribution patterns of organisms, and studies the interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environment.

Bioherm
A body of rock built up by or composed mainly of sedentary organisms, e.g., hard corals, calcareous algae or mollusks, and enclosed or surrounded by rock of different origin.

Biological denitrification or Denitrification
Reduction of nitrogen oxides (usually nitrate and nitrite) to molecular nitrogen or nitrogen oxides with a lower oxidation state of nitrogen by bacterial activity (denitrification). Nitrogen oxides are used by bacteria as terminal electron acceptors in place of oxygen in anaerobic or microaerophilic respiratory metabolism.

Biological oxidation
Decomposition of complex organic materials by microorganisms. Occurs in self-purification of water bodies and in activated sludge wastewater treatment.

Biological Oxygen Demand (Bod)
Amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down the organic materials in a given volume of water at a certain temperature over a specified time period.

Biomass
Energy resources derived from organic matter. These include wood, agricultural waste and other living-cell material that can be burned to produce heat energy. They also include algae, sewage and other organic substances that may be used to make energy through chemical processes.

Biome
A major regional ecological community characterized by distinctive life forms and principal plant or animal species, such as a tropical rain forest (see), a tundra (see), a grassland (see), or a desert (see)…

Biomonitoring
Biological Monitoring (Biomonitoring) – sampling the biota of a place (e.g., a stream, a woodlot, or a wetland) repetitively to monitor change over time.

Biopesticides
Naturally occurring biological agents used to kill pests by causing specific biological effects rather than by inducing chemical poisoning. The idea is based on mimicking processes that arise naturally (e.g. protecting the coffee bean by its caffeine content), and is argued to be favorable to conventional chemical pesticides as it is more easily biodegradable and more target specific. A pesticide in which the active ingredient is a virus, fungus, or bacteria, or a natural product derived from a plant source. A biopesticide’s mechanism of action is based on specific biological effects and not on chemical poisons.

Biopile
Soil pile constructed to allow aerobic bioremediation by aeration, possibly supplemented with water and nutrients.

Bioreactors
A controlled environment used to grow microorganisms. A device or apparatus in which living organism and especially bacteria synthesize useful substances (as interferon) or break down harmful ones (as in sewage). An apparatus, such as a large fermentation chamber, for growing organisms such as bacteria or yeast that are used in the biotechnological production of substances such as pharmaceuticals, antibodies, or vaccines, or for the bioconversion of organic waste.

Biorefinery
A factory incorporating a number of processing steps, including pretreatments, separations, and catalytic and biochemical transformations, for the production of chemical and fuel products of biomass.

Bioremediation
The use of plants or microorganisms to clean up pollution or to solve other environmental problems.

Biosensors
A technology in which enzymes or antibodies are used to detect sugars and proteins in body fluids, contaminants in water and gases in air.

Biosparging
The process of injecting pressurized air beneath the water table to promote mass transfer of volatile organic compounds out of the groundwater and mass transfer of oxygen into the groundwater.

Biosphere
Portion of the solid and liquid earth where organisms live.

Biostrome
A layer of rock composed of the remains of various fossilized animals, such as crinoids and coral.

Biosurfactant
A surface-active agent produced by microorganisms (see Surfactant).

Biota
The plants and animals of a specific region or period, or the total aggregation of organisms in the biosphere.

Biotechnology
The use of biological processes, as through the exploitation of living organisms or biological systems, as a component in the development or manufacture of a product or in the technological solution to a problem.

Biotic
1) Referring to life. 2) Influences caused by living organisms.

Biotic component
Element belonging to a living organism system.

Biotope
The ‘habitat’ (i.e. the environment’s physical and chemical characteristics) together with its recurring associated community of species, operating together on a particular scale.

Bioturbations
The turning and mixing of sediments by organisms. Bioturbation refers to the physical and biological activities that occur at or near the sediment surface which cause the sediment to become mixed. Burrowing and boring by organisms in this way, can increase the compaction of the sediment and usually destroys any laminations or bedding. During bioturbation, some organisms precipitate minerals that act as cement.

Bioventing
The process of supplying oxygen in situ to oxygen deprived soil microbes by forcing air through unsaturated contaminated soil at low flow rates. This stimulates biodegradation and minimizes stripping volatiles into the atmosphere. Frequently used to remediate soil under structures since it is relatively non-invasive.

Bitumen
Solid, or semisolid viscous hydrocarbon with a colloidal structure, brown to black in colour, obtained as a residue in distillation of crude oil by vacuum distillation of oil residues from atmospheric distillation. Bitumen is used mainly in road construction and is also known as asphalt.

Blackout
The emergency loss of the source of electricity serving an area caused by failure of the generation, transmission, or distribution system.

Blending
The technique of combining two or more petroleum liquids to produce a product with specific characteristics.

Bloom
A rapid temporary increase in the population of aquatic photosynthetic microorganisms (eg, phytoplankton or cyanobacteria) to the extent that the water becomes discoloured and, if the microorganisms are toxin-producers, unfit for drinking.

Blow out
An uncontrolled flow of gas, oil or other fluids from a well.

BOD
(see Biologic Oxygen Demand)

Boil off
A natural phenomenon which occurs when liquefied natural gas in a storage vessel warms to its boiling point and gases evolve. Boiling Point The highest temperature that can be reached by a liquid, under a given pressure, when heat is applied externally and evaporation occurs freely from the surface.

Bond energy
The energy required to break a given chemical bond.

Boom cat
A tractor equipped with a boom used in laying pipe.

BOP (Blow Out Preventer)
A device used to prevent the escape of oil, water, or gas when a pressurized pocket is penetrated by a drill.

Bottom
The underside of the hull (see) that sits in the water.

Bottom outlet
An opening at a low level from a reservoir generally used for emptying or for scouring sediment and sometimes for irrigation releases. Also referred to as Low-Level Outlet or Sluiceway.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopaty (BSE)
A degenerative disease of brain tissue (“encephalopathy”). BSE is caused by prions and results in the deposition of amyloid tissue that causes a breakdown of brain tissue leaving the infected brain with a “spongy” (“spongiform”) appearance. Also known as Mad Cow Disease.

Brent blend
UK Brent Blend is a blend of crude oil from various fields in the East Shetland Basin. The crude is landed at the Sullom Voe terminal and is used as a benchmark for the pricing of much of the world’s crude oil production.

Broker
An intermediary between a buyer and a seller in a highly organized market.

Brokerage
Commission or fee charged by a broker (see). It is characteristic of the broking profession that they operate only in highly organized markets where margins are relatively small.

BS 7750
The first national standard for environmental management, published by the British Standards Institution in 1992. It preceded ISO 14001 and has been withdrawn, to be replaced by ISO 14000 (see); BS and ISO standards were very similar, except that the BS required making public the lists of aspects and regulations.

BTU (British Thermal Unit)
The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit (technically from 60°F to 61°F). It is used to compare the heat producing value of different fuels.

Bunkering
Ships and aircraft refuelling in international transportation, irrespective of the flag of the carrier, consisting primarily of residual, distillate, and jet fuel oils.

Butadiene
A colorless, flammable gas, C4H6, soluble in alcohol but not in water, usually derived from butane or butene: used chiefly in the manufacture of rubber and paint, and in organic synthesis.

Butane
Butanes are colourless, odourless, gaseous hydrocarbons. The compound in which the carbon atoms are linked in a straight chain is called normal butane, or n-butane; the branched-chain form is isobutane. Both occur in natural gas and in crude oil and are formed in large quantities in the refining of petroleum to produce gasoline.

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