In today's world, almost everything is tied to the cost of oil. This black ruler has her own unit of measure - 1 barrel of oil. Often this phrase is found in modern economics. Many people constantly use it in their conversations, but few people know what it is equal to. Our article was created to eliminate economic illiteracy!
What is a barrel and where did it come from?
A barrel of oil is a standard unit of volume in the oil trade, which is equal to 42 gallons or 159 liters.
When oil production did not reach industrial scale, its popularity was not so high and there was practically no trade, so there was no need to establish a single measure of volume.
After American industrialists got down to business, oil was able to displace whale oil, which was used to light houses and streets. Kerosene, obtained in the process of oil refining, has wonworldwide popularity, and the demand for oil began to grow exponentially. In this regard, the oilmen had to look for a single container in which it would be convenient to transport and sell raw materials.
Initially, wooden whiskey barrels were used to transport oil, but their volume was not always the same: if the volume was larger, traders suffered losses. This was the main reason for establishing a single volume measure for oil trading.
In August 1866, at the next meeting of independent oilmen, a single volume of marketable oil was established - 42 gallons. This value was not chosen by chance. In barrels with a volume of 42 gallons, fish and other products were traded - this was the maximum allowable weight that a person was able to lift on himself, and the minimum volume that was profitable to transport.
After another 6 years, the American Petroleum Association officially recognized the oil barrel as the standard for trading fossil fuels.
Surely many wondered why the English abbreviation for 1 barrel of oil uses a double letter "b" (bbl). Many agree that the second "b" came into use after the well-known "Standard Oil" began to paint its kegs blue, thereby ensuring that the container accurately contained 42 gallons.
However, this version failed, after the discovery of a document in which the designation bbl occurs 100 years beforediscovery of oil-bearing regions. In the 18th century, this designation was indicated on cargo that had nothing to do with hydrocarbons - honey, rum, whale oil, etc.
Thus, it still remains a mystery where such a name for a measure of volume came from. However, no one is in a hurry to solve it, as this will not affect the quotes in any way.
Different oil - different volume
It is known that oil produced in different parts of the world has different densities. So, the lightest is American WTI oil; a slightly heavier European marker is recognized - Brent; Russian grade Urals is considered one of the heaviest. Depending on the density, when calculating the weight of 1 oil barrel of different oil, you have to enter different values. For example, 1 ton of Russian oil fits into 7.29 barrels, and European - into 7.59. That is why Urals oil is cheaper than other grades.
So how many barrels in a ton?
As mentioned earlier, the number of barrels depends on which grade the black gold belongs to. Both OPEC and the CIS countries have their own classification. According to yearbooks published by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, there are 7.6 barrels of fossil fuels in a ton of Saudi fossil fuels, and if counted backwards, 1 barrel contains 0.132 tons of hydrocarbons.
Algerian oil is slightly lighter - one ton fits in 7.9 barrels, and if we again take the reversevalue, then 1 barrel is equal to 0.126 tons of black gold.
Many well-known international publications that publish conversion rates from tons to barrels take into account Russian oil not as a weighted average of Ural and Siberian oil, but as an arithmetic average. On the one hand, this is not entirely correct, but no one is revising the established standards. Thus, it turns out that 1 barrel of black gold for Russian hydrocarbons is 137 kg.