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Terminology Series   B

If you're new to the oil and gas world, or are even just considering an energy-related job at this stage, our "Oil & Gas Terminology Series" will help you get clued up with some of the industry's jargon.  

This week, we’re focusing on the letter "B", and a handful of key words associated with drilling and measuring units of Oil and Gas.

  1. BARREL OR BARREL OF OIL EQUIVALENT (BOE): A unit of energy used to measure the volume of petroleum and related products. It’s based on the approximate energy released by burning one barrel or crude oil.

  2. BBL:  Refers to a barrel of oil. One barrel of oil is approximately 35 imperial gallons or 159 litres. Oil companies typically use BBL to report on their production. You many sometimes see it listed as Mbbl which refers to one thousand barrels or MMbbl which refers to one millions barrels.

  3. BCF: Refers to a billion cubic feet of natural gas. It’s used to measure the amount of natural gas that is untapped or currently being pumped.

  4. BCM: Means a ‘billion cubic metres’ and is generally used to measure natural gas. One billion cubic metres (BCM) is equivalent to 35.31 cubic feet.

  5. BIT: A drilling tool used to cut a cylindrical hole in the earth’s crust – sometimes referred to as a ‘drill bit’ or ‘rock bit’. It can be used during the discovery or extraction process of both crude oil and natural gas. The diameter of the hole it creates can vary from 3.5inches up to 30 inches and it can create hole depths of up to 30,000 feet.

  6. BLOCK: A geographical area of land in which an oil or gas reservoir lies. A ‘Block’ will be awarded to drilling and exploration companies and the land mass is usually measured in 1000s of sq. kilometers.

  7. BLOW-OUT: When well pressure exceeds the ability of the wellhead valves or drilling mud, which causes oil and gas to 'blow' to the surface – in other words it’s an uncontrolled release of either crude oil and/or natural gas. In some cases, blow-outs can be extremely dangerous – an accidental spark can lead to a fire breaking out.

  8. BlOW-OUT PREVENTER: A specialised mechanical device or valve which prevents blow-outs. It’s used to both seal and monitor the well in order to control pressures associated with drilling oil and gas.

  9. BOREHOLE: The hole made by the drill, which includes the open hole or uncased portion of the well. It can refer to the inside diameter of the wellborn wall or in other words, the rock face that bounds the drilled hole.

  10. BTU: Means ‘British thermal unit’ which is a measurement unit of the heating value of a fuel.


NES Global Talent has helped thousands of candidates to kick-start their oil and gas career. If you're ready to make that next career step, search for oil and gas jobs or register on our site for job updates. Not sure the industry is for you? Check-out our candidate support to see how we help you prepare for your next role, and read about how we look after you whilst you're on assignment to be rest assured that you're in good hands.

Did you miss our last Terminology blog? Last time we focussed on a handful of keywords begining with the letter 'A' 


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