Crude Oil Quality Association



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Welcome to the Crude Oil Quality Association!

The Crude Oil Quality Association (COQA) is dedicated to the belief that maintaining the integrity and consistency of the refining characteristics of crude oil streams is of importance to all parties involved in crude oil activity, from production locations to the refinery.

To this end, we hold three meetings annually.  These meetings are open to the public and we welcome your attendance and involvement.

Upcoming Events

  • Mid 2015 COQA Meeting to be in Minneapolis, MN

    Dates: 10 – 11 Jun, 2015
    We are pleased to announce that our mid-2015 COQA meeting will be June 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis, MN.  Besides being an ideal location, they promise us beautiful weather!
                                                      Exterior Hotel
    As of May 19, the hotel is able to extend the group rate a few more days.  So, if you're considering coming, you can still get the group rate of  $169 per night.  So book now!  Hotel reservations can be made through the online link: .

    The format will be as follows:
    • Wednesday afternoon, June 10- 1:30- 4:00 pm Crude by Rail Subcommittee
    • Wednesday evening, Advisory (4:00- 5:00 pm) and Executive Board (5:00- 6:30 pm) meetings
    • Thursday, June 11- General meetings, starting with breakfast at 7am.  Meetings will conclude about 4:30 pm.  (The full agenda will be out as soon as it is available.)

    Preliminary agenda is as follows:   

    • George Shaffner, Senior Vice President, Marathon Petroleum
    • Ron Fisher, BP- Asphaltene precipitation; North Sea crude assays
    • Colin Stewart, Special Projects Director, Intertek, Aberdeen, SCOTLAND- "Sceptic to Convert, It's a Pipeline Story"
    • Dr. Didier Lambert, TOPNIR
    • Dr. Arden Strycker, SGS
    • Kirk Watztoni, Northern Tier Energy
    • Dr. Adam Magyar, Amspec
    • Chad Wocken, Energy & Environmental Research Center, Grand Forks, ND- An update on the DOE work regarding Crude Oil Flammability/Ignitability 
    • Crude by Rail Subcommittee Report
    • CCQTA Project Update
    • Dennis Sutton, COQA- "What You May Have Missed- Highlights of Recent Crude Oil Events"

    For meeting registration, you may pay the $100 fee at the door by cash, check, or credit card, or to pre-register, just call Dennis Sutton at 419-306-0375. 

    If you are interested in  providing event sponsorship, please contact Dennis Sutton.

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  • New Orleans to host COQA 2015 Fall Meeting

    Dates: 22 – 22 Oct, 2015
    IMG_0417Mark your calendars now as the Fall 2015 Crude Oil Quality Association (COQA) meetings  will be Wednesday and Thursday, October 21 & 22.  The format will be the same as we usually follow with subcommittee discussion, Advisory and Executive Board meetings on Wednesday, followed by the general meetings on Thursday, October 22, beginning with breakfast at 7:00 am.

    The meeting fee will be $100.  Sponsoring companies are provided two complimentary registrations and supporting member companies receive one complimentary registration.

    Our venue will be the Astor Crowne Plaza- New Orleans French Quarter hotel. The hotel is attractively located in downtown New Orleans, right on the edge of the French Quarter, with numerous restaurants close by. Our group rate will be $199/night.  


    The link for booking hotel reservations will be added to the site within a few weeks.

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  • Crude Oil: Sampling, Testing, and Evaluation

    Dates: 26 – 28 Oct, 2015
    This ASTM course is an  excellent opportunity for those wanting to learn detailed information on the sampling and testing of crude oils.  The 3 day course is taught by Harry Giles, Executive Director Emeritus of the Crude Oil Quality Association (COQA).

    These courses are offered periodically with the next one being October 26-28 in New Orleans, LA.

    For more information, check out the ASTM web site.
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News and Announcements

  • Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule Regarding Transportation of Crude by Rail

    by Dennis Sutton | May 01, 2015
    The topic of crude oil quality as it pertains to the movement of crude by rail has been a significant part of recent COQA meetings.  Our meetings have included discussion on crude properties, and specifically the sampling, testing, and characterization of these materials.

    On May 1, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The rule was developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with Canada.  Canada's Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, joined Secretary Foxx to announce Canada's new tank car standards, which align with those of the U.S.

    The DOT Press Release on this announcement is available here.  The announcement includes links to the summary of the rule and the 395 page entire rule.

    Of particular interest to the COQA membership will be sections on Crude Oil Treatment (page 76) and Crude Classification and Vapor Pressure (pages 218- 234).
  • Interest in WTI/Domestic Sweet Quality

    by Dennis Sutton | Apr 19, 2015
    As the production of North American light, tight oils continues to grow, there has been a great deal of discussion regarding the quality of WTI.  Inquiries regarding WTI have primarily pertained to asphaltene precipitation and the increasing API gravity of the stream. 

    Currently, the NYMEX specs for WTI are a maximum API of 42.0, while the Bridge Tex Pipeline system has a published spec of 36-44 API for WTI.

    In an effort to better define WTI, in addition to the specs set forth by NYMEX, in 2010,  the COQA recommended specs for:
         • MicroCarbon Residue (MCR)
         • Total Acid Number (TAN)
         • Nickel Content
         • Vanadium Content
         • Three boiling range parameters based on High Temperature Simulated Distillation

    For an update on WTI quality, check out the February 2015 COQA presentation by Dennis Sutton.
    Dennis Sutton's presentation February 19, 2015- COQA- Houston

  • Light, Tight Oil Discussion and Baker Hughes Tour Highlight Houston COQA Meeting

    by Dennis Sutton | Feb 23, 2015

    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.                                            COQA_BakerHughes 1_1


  • COQA Partners for the Argus Americas Crude Summit

    by Dennis Sutton | Feb 05, 2015

    The Argus Americas Crude Summit, held January 27-29 in Houston, drew a record crowd of over 450 attendees.  The Crude Oil Quality Association (COQA), once again served as a Partnering Organization for this significant conference.  Speakers at the conference included Matthew Goitia of Peaker Energy Group and Ashok Anand of Enbridge Pipelines, both of whom are also part of the program for the February 19, 2015 COQA meeting in Houston.

    Besides the presentations, there were approximately 16 exhibitors.  Five of the exhibiting companies represented are members of the COQA.  These are:

    • Amspec
    • Baker Hughes
    • Inspectorate
    • Intertek, and
    • Spiral Software/ Schneider Electric.

    The conference began with three keynote talks from the Honorable Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House; Joe Gorder, Chairman, President and CEO of Valero Energy; and Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources. Mr. Gingrich spoke on the geopolitical aspects of the current crude oil price decline expressing that he was “glad” the oil prices were giving Putin a headache as the Russians could withstand a lot of economic pain before it undermined them.

    Overall, the pervasive theme through the program was how to move forward amidst the economic chaos associated with the crude price collapse.
  • Joint COQA/CCQTA Meeting Draws 125 to San Francisco

    by Dennis Sutton | Oct 30, 2014
    The recently concluded joint COQA/CCQTA international meetings in San Francisco, October 30 & 31 drew over 125 attendees from throughout North America!

    The two day conference featured general industry overviews highlighting the on-going changes brought about by the growth in shale play crude, as well as more technical presentations.  After introductory discussions by Dennis Sutton (COQA), and Gerald Bruce (CCQTA) about their respective organizations, Martin Tallett kicked off the program with a presentation on "North American Crude Supply and Logistics".  The Thursday afternoon session focused on light, tight oil and crude-by-rail, and included an update on API's Recommended Practice 3000 (RP3000). 

    Friday morning shifted to activities North of the Border as the Canadian Crude Quality Technical Association (CCQTA) addressed their many on-going industry projects, including recent work with detailed chromatographic analyses on the light oils.

    Friday afternoon featured an overview of current refining challenges provided by Jim Johnson of Marathon Petroleum, the US's 3rd largest refiner.  Three talks addressed specific analytical applications, with Scott Sederberg of Chevron concluding the conference by looking at historical game changers in crude oil production.

    Details can be found under the Meeting Archives section.  



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