homemarket Newscommodities News

Crude Facts: Why short form for oil barrel is bbl, not bl

Crude Facts: Why short form for oil barrel is bbl, not bl

Crude Facts: Why short form for oil barrel is bbl, not bl
Profile image

By Manisha Gupta  Apr 22, 2020 1:19:35 PM IST (Published)

When expressed in short form, oil carrying barrel is referred to as ‘bbl’ and not ‘bl’ though barrel has only one ‘b’ in it.

Crude oil, when considered as unit volume, is measured in terms of a barrel. Canada and US measure crude in barrels having a capacity of 42 US gallons, which equals 159 litres.

Recommended Articles

View All

But when expressed in short form, oil carrying barrel is referred to as ‘bbl’ and not ‘bl’ though barrel has only one ‘b’ in it.
Folklore has it that when oil production began in the 1860s, there was no standard container for oil. So oil and oil products were stored and transported in barrels of all shapes and sizes. The Drake well, the first oil well in the US, was drilled in Pennsylvania in 1859, and an oil boom followed thereafter.
The oils were stored and transported in barrels which were also used for storing fish, beer, molasses and other such stuff. The 40-gallon whiskey barrels were commonly used by the oil producers as they were readily available on demand.
Read:
But using various types of barrels and containers for crude was causing issues of quality as well as trust.
This was 2 gallons more than the 40-gallon standard used by many other industries. The extra 2-gallon was to allow for evaporation and leaking during transportation. These 42-gallon crude barrels were painted in blue and called blue barrels, and abbreviated as "bbl", guaranteeing a buyer that it was 42-gallon barrel of crude.
By 1872, the standard oil barrel was firmly established as 42 US gallons. The standard was adopted by petroleum producers association in 1872 and by US Geological Survey & US Bureau of Mines in 1882.
And now even as crude is transported or moved in oil tankers and via pipelines on ground and under water, prices of crude continue to be expressed in terms of barrels, and blue barrels at that.
Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!

Top Budget Opinions

    Most Read

    Market Movers

    View All
    Top GainersTop Losers
    CurrencyCommodities
    CompanyPriceChng%Chng