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Crude Oil Quality Association
(COQA)

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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

ASTM "Crude Oil: Sampling, Testing, and Evaluation" Course

  • Dates: 04 – 06 Nov, 2019
Holiday Inn Riverwalk
San Antonio, TX

This extensive 3-day class covers the sampling, analysis and evaluation of crude oil. You'll gain an understanding of crude oil analytical measurement, composition and classification; quality variations and what causes them; sampling (both manual and automatic); inspection, assays and test methods; basic crude oil evaluation; quality case studies; current challenges and future needs in characterization, and much more.

For detailed information and early bird registration, please visit the Crude Oil: Sampling, Testing, and Evaluation course page on the ASTM website.

News and Announcements

  • Cushing Tour Complements Oklahoma City Meeting

    by Dennis Sutton | Jun 12, 2019

    The mid year 2019 COQA meeting was held in Oklahoma City, OK May 30 at the downtown Skirvin Hotel, with a featured tour of the Cushing, OK terminal facility preceeding the meeting.  Approximately 75 people participated in the Cushing tour, with over 115 present for the program.

    cushing intertek lunchRecent heavy rains did not dampen the spirits of the group as tour hosts Enterprise, Enbridge, and Plains offered an excellent overview of the activities and growth planned for Cushing that could bring total storage capacity to 100 million barrels, while Intertek hosted a barbeque lunch for the group.  Bloomberg’s Sheela Tobben’s June 4 article titled “Building Boom Shows Cushing Oil Hub Hasn’t Lost its Allure”  provides a detailed look at the storage and pipeline projects planned for Cushing.  

    A blend of technical talks and broader, more commercial presentations having a mid-Continent emphasis highlighted the program.  David Braziel (RBN Energy) addressed the effects of US exports and showed the largest projected production growth in the next 5 years coming from the Permian, Eagle Ford, and Bakken, while Europe and Asia have had the biggest gains in receiving US crude.  Dan Brusstar of CME Group updated the group on the recently implemented WTI specs emphasizing that all refiners, both domestic and foreign, benefit from stable and certain quality.  Josh Baskett of Continental Resources, the #1 producer of Bakken crude, discussed the future of marketed barrels, including some of the concerns expressed by foreign buyers of US crude.  In particular, international buyers have been leery of US barrels due to some receipts being poorer quality than expected, and concerns of inconsistent quality.  Chris Baltimore’s (Argus) article on the meeting titled “Survey: Quality is King” emphasized the WTI specs and noted COQA’s role in developing them.  

    Complete details of the presentations are available under the “Meeting Archives” tab on the top of the page.

  • 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 crudemonitor.us.

    • 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

    37-42

    40- 44

    36-44

    Sulfur, wt %

    0.42% or less

    0.275% or less

    <0.45%

    RVP, psi

    <9.5

    <9.5

    <9.5

    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 the COQA; 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.

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