Amidst the backdrop of two recent crude-by-rail incidents (one in the US and one in Canada), low crude oil prices, and a nationwide United Steelworker strike at US refineries, the COQA meeting February 19 at the Marriott West Loop in Houston attracted 136 attendees. A number of the presentations addressed quality aspects related to light, tight oil. Talks by Kesavalu Bagawandoss, Intertek and Jason Nick of Ametek specifically dealt with vapor pressure measurement.
David Lord of Sandia National Laboratories provided an update on the planned work of the Department of Energy’s project on “Tight Oil Flammability & Transportation Spill Safety”. To date, a literature survey has been completed. The COQA will look forward to future reports on this project as experimental work is conducted.
In his talk “Crude Oil Quality Management in a Volatile Crude Price Marketplace”, Baker Hughes’ Waynn Morgan helped us to recall that crude prices historically have been quite volatile, with a price around $10/bbl in 1998, followed by $130/bbl just 10 years later. The price was about $100/bbl in mid-2014, before the collapse to the current levels of about half of that.
In addition to event sponsorship from Ametek and Analytical Systems KECO, Baker Hughes provided an outstanding tour of their Woodlands Technology Center, where they manufacture drill bits used throughout the world. This tour was given on Wednesday morning, February 18, and was open to all meeting attendees. While the COQA is focused on the crude oil, it was fascinating to learn of the history of drill bit technology, and see the sophisticated robotic manufacturing techniques used to produce today’s drill bits.