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Glossary of Industry Terms

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Octane

A performance rating for gasoline; the higher the octane number, the greater the anti-knock quality of the gasoline. Knocking is the result of abnormal combustion in the engine.

 

Oil Sands

Naturally-occurring mixtures of bitumen, water, sand and clay that are found mainly in the Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake areas of Alberta, Canada.

Open Pit

A method of surface mining where toil sands are too deep for strip mining but accessible through deep excavations.

 

Operator

The company responsible for managing an exploration, development or production operation.

Organic Theory

The most widely accepted theory of the origins of petroleum. It postulates that organic materials become deeply buried over time and heat and pressure transform them into hydrocarbons.

 

Orphan Wells

Abandoned wells for which the license operators have ceased to exist or cannot be traced.

 

Outcrop

Bedrock exposed at the earth's surface.