One of the three principal groups or series of hydrocarbon compounds that occurs naturally in crude oil. Commercial petroleum aromatics are benzene, toluene, and xylene



A biodegradable transportation fuel for use in diesel engines that is produced through the transfer of organically- derived oils or fats. It may be used either as a replacement for or as a component of diesel fuel


A fuel made from renewable biological sources. Biofuels include ethanol, methanol, and biodiesel. Biofuel sources include, but are not limited to: corn, soybeans, flaxseed,rapeseed, sugarcane, palm oil, raw sewage, food scraps, animal parts, and rice


Plant material such as wood, grains, agricultural waste, and vegetation that can be used as an energy source


Any process that uses complete living cells or their components (eg, bacteria, enzymes, chloroplasts) to obtain desired products


Petroleum that exists in the semisolid or solid phase in natural deposits – it is the molasses-like substance which can compromise anywhere from 1 to 18 per cent of the oil sand

Bottom-of-the barrel (residual) fuel

Heavy residual fuel oil, often high in sulphur and metals, that remains after the lighter portion has been distilled off



Canada Deuterium Uranium. It's a Canadian-designed power reactor of PHWR type (Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor) that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide) for moderator and coolant, and natural uranium for fuel

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

The removal and storage of carbon dioxide from high-emitting processes such as coal-fired power generation or cement manufacture before it enters the atmosphere

Catalytic cracking

The fluidised catalytic cracking process of breaking up heavier hydrocarbon molecules into lighter hydrocarbon fractions (see Cracking)

Cellulosic ethanol

Ethanol derived from plant material such as switch grass, wood chips instead of food grade grains such as corn. Its production is much more energy efficient than that for conventional ethanol

Circulating Fluidised-Bed (CFB) boilers

Used with a variety of fuels, particularly successful at burning those of poor quality. When the flow of air reaches a certain velocity, it causes the solid particles to lift (or fluidise) and combustion occurs in this fluidised zone

Clean energy

Clean energy is energy that is produced without burning fossil fuels. Examples include wind, solar, hydro-electricity, geothermal, nuclear power


The use of a single plant to simultaneously produce power and heat or steam from a single energy source

Coke (petroleum)

Also known as petcoke, is a high carbon content solid residue from an oil refinery process, which can be used as a boiler fuel to produce steam and electric power. Often has a higher heat content than coal


Processes for thermally converting and upgrading heavy residual oil into lighter, higher value products. A by-product of this process is petroleum coke

Combined cycle

An electric power generating technology which combines the power production of a gas turbine and of a steam turbine. The steam turbine is fed by steam produced by recovering the gas turbine exhaust gas heat in a heat recovery steam generator


A natural gas liquid that precipitates from, or is stripped out of, natural gas. It is a by-product of natural gas production


AMEC's web-based integrated project management system


The production of lighter oils by breaking down heavy oil molecules. This process increases the yield of light distillates (gasoline and diesel) from crude oil



Process of removing asphaltic materials from reduced crude using liquid solvents (propane, butane, pentane) to extract non- asphaltic compounds


The retirement of a facility, including decontamination and/or dismantlement


A term often used to refer to offshore projects located in water depths greater than around 600 feet where floating drilling vessels and floating oil platforms are used, and unmanned underwater vehicles are required as manned diving is not practical

Delayed coking

A semi-batch coking process that raises the temperature of the heavy oil residue to nearly 1000oF. The residue resides in the drum for a specific cycle time, usually 12 to 24 hours. During this time, the heavier material cracks into lighter components and petroleum coke. Depending on coke quality, the coke can be used either as a fuel or in other applications such as the manufacturing of steel or aluminum


The refining or processing of crude oil into finished fuel products



Engineering and construction


EBITDA is a supplemental, non generally accepted accounting principal (GAAP) financial measure. EBITDA is defined as earnings or loss before taxes, interest expense, depreciation and amortisation

Energy-efficiency ratio

A number representing the energy stored in a fuel as compared to the energy required to produce, process, transport, and distribute that fuel


Engineering, procurement and construction


Engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance. EPCM also refers to engineering, procurement and construction management



Front-end engineering and design


Material fed into a processing unit

Flue Gas Desulfurisation

Process used to remove sulphur oxides from the combustion gases of a boiler plant or fluid catalytic cracking unit before discharge to the atmosphere. Also referred to as scrubbing


Floating, production, storage and off loading vessel



A process that converts any carbon-containing material into a synthesis gas, often called syngas, composed primarily of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Syngas can be used as a fuel to generate electricity by gas turbine or used as a basic chemical building block for a large number of uses in the petrochemical and refining industries



This exposes heavy fuel oil to hydrogen at high pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst to reduce sulphur and produce lighter oils by cracking the heavy oil molecules. Predominant process for producing diesel from heavier feedstocks


In situ

In its original place; in position; in situ recovery refers to various methods used to recover deeply buried bitumen deposits, including steam injection, solvent injection and fire floods

Independent Power Producer

A producer of electricity that is not regulated as a utility by a state or federal authority


Basic physical and organisational structures needed for the operation of a society or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function. The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, water supply, sewers, power grids, telecommunications, and so forth

InSAR - Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar

The technology is used to protect people, wildlife and the environment by monitoring areas threatened by landslides and earth fissures.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)

A process configuration integrating gasification (see above), syngas treatment and washing section and finally a gas turbine combined cycle to produce electric power with minimum environmental impact


Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Natural gas (primarily methane) that has been liquefied by reducing its temperature to - 260oF at atmospheric pressure

Low-NOx burners

Coal or oil burners designed to minimize the formation of nitrogen oxides, also known as NOx, during the combustion of fuel in boilers

Lump-sum turnkey project

Fixed price project for which all components are within a single supplier’s responsibility



Processes that go beyond simple separation and dehydration, but are typically not as advanced as refinery processes. Generally involving LNG, LPG, GTL, CTL, CTM, etc



Any of several compounds containing potassium, especially soluble compounds such as potassium oxide, potassium chloride, and various potassium sulphates, used chiefly in fertilisers

Programme management

The process of managing multiple ongoing inter-dependent projects. Programme management provides a layer above project management focusing on selecting the best group of programs, defining them in terms of their constituent projects and providing an infrastructure where projects can be run successfully but leaving project management to the project management community

Project management (PM)

The application of modern management techniques and systems to the execution of a project from start to finish, to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, quality, time and cost, to the equal satisfaction of those involved

Pulverised Fuel (PF) boilers

Usually in the higher capacity range (over 200 megawatts), fuelled by pulverised solid coal or petroleum coke. Traditionally, customers are utilities


A unique process that chemically breaks down organic materials, literally cracking their molecules, by heating them up in an oxygen-starved chamber. It's a closed process that doesn't involve combustion, so emissions are strictly controlled, and three materials emerge at the end of it: a synthetic methane-like gas, a diesel-like oil and carbon-rich char



Energy generation from natural resources such as sunlight (solar), wind, rain, tides (water), biomass and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished)



Purification of a gas by washing it with a liquid in a tower

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

A control system consisting of catalyst material and an ammonia injection system that reduces NOx pollution into more basic non-polluting elements (water and nitrogen). These NOx compounds are by-products of the combustion process found in boiler and gas turbine flue gas

Steam methane reforming

A heater that converts methane into hydrogen by the use of steam


Subsea is a general term frequently used to refer to equipment, technology, and methods employed to explore, drill, and develop oil and gas fields that exist below the ocean floors. This may be in 'shallow' or 'deepwater' to distinguish between the different facilities and approaches that are needed

Supercritical boilers

Operate at pressures beyond the supercritical point for steam, allowing the steam to convert directly from a liquid to a vapour without needing a steam separation device such as a boiler drum. This increases the steam’s ability to absorb more heat from the fuel resulting in a more efficient power plant, reducing fuel consumption as well as emissions such as carbon dioxide


Subsea Umbilicals, Risers and Flowlines (offshore project piping)



Facilities for processing oil, water and gas; the upper processing section of an offshore oil or gas production platform


Unconventional oil

Unconventional oil is petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than the conventional (oil well) method. Oil industries and governments across the globe are investing in unconventional oil sources due to the increasing scarcity of conventional oil reserves. The oil sands are a type of unconventional oil deposit

Underground mining

Underground hard rock mining refers to various underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals, mainly those minerals containing metals such as ore containing gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, nickel and lead but also involves using the same techniques for excavating ores of gems such as diamonds


The exploration, production and transportation of oil and gas



Heating of heavy oil residue to a high temperature to crack some of it to lighter components to reduce the viscosity of the stream


Waste heat recovery

A process to recover heat from fluid, which otherwise would be lost to the atmosphere

Waste-to-energy (WTE)

A technology to produce electric power and heat by burning waste materials in a suitable boiler. These materials can include municipal solid waste, or its fractions, refuse-derived fuel, etc

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