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

  • COQA New Orleans, March 13-14, 2019

    Dates: 13 – 14 Mar, 2019
    HIL_ExteriorCOQA is once again headed to New Orleans! Save the date and plan to join us.

    Tour Registration (March 13th to St. James Terminal, Details Below, Space Limited)

    General Conference Registration

    Complimentary Conference Registration
    For: Corporate Member Representatives, Event Sponsors, Press, Retirees, Speakers

    Hilton Riverside, New Orleans (2 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130)

    COQA Room Block: Guestroom Reservations Link
    Phone: (504) 561-0500
    Cut-off date for COQA room block reservations is March 6th, 2019

    Wednesday Session: Kabacoff Room, Riverside Building
    Thursday Session: Jefferson Ballroom, Main Building, 3rd Floor

    Tour Information (guests welcome)
    **registration first come first serve, space limited, deadline is February 22nd**
    Join COQA to tour the St. James terminal (Plains All American) and more! Your registration (only $30) will include:
    - transportation to/from/around the sites
    - tour of St James (Plains) docking facility, metering and sampling stations, lab, control center, tanks
    - visit to rail facility (with tour, time permitting)
    - viewing of local pipeline facilities
    - all safety gear provided
    - lunch provided (Crawfish Boil)
    - return to Hilton Riverside in time for subcommittee meetings

    You may find RBN Energy’s current blogs about St. James particularly relevant to our St. James tour


    Wednesday, March 13th

    7:30-8:00am: Arrive in the lobby of the hotel to board the bus for another COQA tour!
    8:00am-1pm: Bus tour to St. James terminal and neighboring facilities. Lunch provided.
    2:00pm-3:00pm: Additives Subcommittee Meeting
    3:00pm-3:20pm Satbir Nayar, XOS, Update: Metals Testing Methods
    3:20-4:00pm: Domestic Sweet Monitoring Program Subcommittee Meeting
    4:00-5:00pm: Advisory Board Meeting
    5:00pm: Executive Board Meeting

    Thursday, March 14th

    7:00am-8:00am: Breakfast buffet provided by COQA
    8:00am-4:30pm: Main Program

    Speakers (titles/topics tentative)
    One Hour Roundtable Discussion, Nalco Champion, Baker Hughes GE, Dorf Ketal, Q2 Technologies, Suez
    H2S and Crude Quality

    Meghan Conan & Amy Meacock, ASTM Training and eLearning
    ASTM Proficiency Testing and Training Programs: Helping You Work Better

    Suzanne Lemieux, American Petroleum Institute
    API Quarterly Industry Outlook

    Gus Vasquez, Argus Media
    The Evolution of US Export Markets

    Matthew Goitia, Peaker Energy
    Crude Quality, Liquidity/Debt Cycles, and Energy Infrastructure Development

    Noah Dean, Intertek Caleb Brett
    West Permian Producers Crude Quality Group

    Randy Segato, Suncor
    Quality of Partially Upgraded Crudes

    Aaron Dillard, P66
    Review and Highlights of Argus Americas 2019

    Domestic Sweet Monitoring Program
    Specifications Implementation in 2019 and Program Wrap-up


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    Add event to: ICal Outlook Google Calendar
  • COQA Oklahoma City, May 29-30, 2019

    Dates: 29 – 30 May, 2019
    Save the date and plan to attend COQA's summer 2019 conference in Oklahoma City. Our plan is to do this conference a little differently, with a FULL DAY TOUR of Cushing terminal facilities on May 29, and then a full day of meetings on May 30th.

    Our venue will be the Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City (1 Park Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102). More information on the tour and presentations will be forthcoming.

    Add event to: ICal Outlook Google Calendar

News and Announcements

  • RBN Energy Blog Highlights WTI Crude Quality

    by Dennis Sutton | Nov 20, 2018

    RBN Energy’s daily blog, published November 19, 2018, titled The Race Is On - Houston Crude Oil Futures Contracts Compete For Market Share by Laura Blewitt provides an excellent overview of the three futures contracts involving WTI crude oil.  Included are details of the logistics and crude quality specifications associated with each contract.

    These three similar, but different contracts are:

    • CME Group’s Light Sweet Crude delivered at Cushing- described in NYMEX Rulebook Chapter 200.  The COQA has been instrumental in development of the new specifications that will take effect January 2019.  Data for streams at Cushing can be found on the data portal

    • CME Group’s WTI delivered at Houston.  This new contract was launched November 5, 2018, and details are found in NYMEX Rulebook Chapter 201.

    • Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) contract, officially called “Permian WTI (Houston)”.  Quality specifications are found in Magellan’s BridgeTex and Longhorn pipeline tariff documents. API Gravity, Sulfur, Vapor Pressure, and BS & W data are shown on the ICE web site.

    A summary of the different quality specifications (for the relevant properties) is as follows: 

    CME’s WTI- Cushing

    CME’s WTI- Houston

    ICE’s Permian WTI (Houston)

    API Gravity


    40- 44


    Sulfur, wt %

    0.42% or less

    0.275% or less


    RVP, psi




    MicroCarbon Residue (MCR), wt %

    2.40% or less

    2.40% or less

    Total Acid Number (TAN)

    0.28 mg KOH/g or less

    0.28 mg KOH/g or less

    Nickel, wt ppm

    8 ppm or less

    4 ppm or less

    Vanadium, wt ppm

    15 ppm or less

    4 ppm or less

    HTSD: Light Ends

    < 220°F

    Not more than 19 wt %

    HTSD: 50% point, °F

    470°F- 570°F

    HTSD: Vacuum Resid

    > 1020°F

    Not more than 16 wt %

  • First European Crude Quality Forum held in Aberdeen, Scotland

    by Bill Lywood | Aug 30, 2018

    On July 25, the first ever European Crude Quality Forum was hosted by Intertek at their research and laboratory facility in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Coordinated by Dr. Frederick Stubbins of Intertek, the program included a buffet lunch followed by a half day of technical presentations including:

    • SpeakerThankYou from AberdeenAndrew Duncan, Intertek- Asset Integrity Management
    • Duncan Baillie, LUX Assure- What’s In Your Crude?
    • Frederick Stubbins, Intertek- Total Quality Assurance from Well Stream to Forecourt
    • Dennis Sutton, COQA- Introduction to theCOQA; An overview of North American Crude Oil Quality
    • Katharine Fogg, Essar Oil UK- Opportunity Oil Processing in European Refineries
    • Ruth Downie, Infineum- Wax and Asphaltenes
    Over 40 attendees participated in the event and provided lively, open discussion.
  • Platts Capitol Crude podcast highlights COQA efforts

    by Dennis Sutton | Jul 03, 2018
    The July 2, 2018 Capitol Crude podcast produced by Platts addresses the confusion regarding WTI crude oil and highlights the work of the COQA that has led to the adoption by CME/NYMEX of more comprehensive quality specifications for WTI at Cushing.  The podcast features discussion by John-Laurent Tronche, managing editor, Platts Americas crude oil, and Dennis Sutton, executive director of the Crude Oil Quality Association.  To listen to the podcast, click here.
  • Denver Joint COQA/CCQTA Meeting Draws Record Attendance

    by Dennis Sutton | Jun 07, 2018

    Over 160 attendees gathered May 22-24 at Denver’s Grand Hyatt hotel for the sixth international joint meeting of the Crude Oil Quality Association (COQA) and the Canadian Crude Quality Technical Association (CCQTA).  The meetings featured a half-day session of subcommittee and board meetings, followed by two full days of presentations.

    With the December 2017 announcement by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) that they would begin implementing the COQA recommended specifications for Light Sweet Crude (WTI), beginning in January of 2019, there was a great deal of interest in this topic.  Dan Brusstar, Senior Director of Energy Research at CME emphasized the benefits of the adoption of the COQA specs, including:

    • Mid-continent refiners benefit from stable and certain quality
    • Stable WTI quality will transform the global market, and
    • A “new era” will dawn for global refiners

    An insightful look at the Canadian oil industry was provided by Jeff Gaulin, Vice President of Communications with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).  Jeff discussed the challenge the industry faces in developing trust among Canadians, particularly regarding growth projects.  His talk, which was somewhat of a call to action for the Canadian oil industry, proved rather timely with the announcement the following week that the Canadian government would buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, in order to ensure the halted project gets built.

    Dr. David Lord of Sandia National Laboratories updated the group on the recently released report “DOE/DOT Crude Oil Characterization Research Study”.  Drivers for this research include the open debate on whether the types of crude have significant bearing on the severity of transportation accidents.  Information reported at this time pertained to issues of sampling and analysis methods.  Future work will address combustion experiments and modeling, and comparison of light, tight oil vs. more conventional crude.

  • Amendments Announced to the Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures Contract Specifications

    by Dennis Sutton | Jan 04, 2018

    The Crude Oil Quality Association (“COQA”) is pleased to recognize that CME Group has published a Special Executive Report announcing changes regarding the quality specifications of Light Sweet Crude as defined in their Futures contracts. Their report is accompanied by a Q & A section that provides additional detail. The COQA has been a key resource to CME Group in developing these specifications by providing open forum meetings and the data portal

    The amended specifications add five additional parameters in characterizing West Texas Intermediate (WTI)/ Domestic Sweet crude oil.  These parameters address:

    • Distillation characteristics
    • Vanadium content
    • Nickel content
    • Total Acid Number (TAN), and
    • Micro carbon residue content
    Full Press Release (.pdf)


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