A book review by Nicholas Newman energy journalist at www.nicnewmanoxford.com
Like every business, there soon develops a specialised technical vocabulary, this is certainly the case of professionals involved in oil logistics, storage, operations and oil trading. This third edition of ‘Oil Traders Words’ by Stefan van Woenzel is designed for such energy game practitioners. This book contains more than 2,000 terms, definitions, abbreviations and phrases that are used every day by oil traders and those working in the industry.
For instance, do you know what `AA’, `Cramming’ or even ` REACH’ means for oil traders?
Well, `AA’ in this case does not stand for Britain’s Automobile Association, but Stefan van Woenzel defines `AA’ as a shipping clause Always Afloat, which is a legal clause designed to prevent vessels when they arrive at a berth from touching the ground during loading or un-loading.
As for ‘Cramming’ it’s not some student spending all his spare time studying for an exam, but instead the practice of charging a customer for services without his knowledge or consent.
However, `REACH’ means the European Union’s regulations on chemicals and their safe use.
I will leave you to read the book to find out what `charter parties’ mean.
As for some of the words of wisdom mentioned and explained in this book by Stefan van Woenzel, I think many of them would sound familiar to the Ferengi character Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, such as ‘I am a student of the market and my job is to learn’ means the trader never stops learning. Whilst, ‘In times of crisis, always blame the one, not in the room’, which means there are not many friends in the business because this is a money game.
Stefan van Woenzel’s book is designed as a communication aid to allow people involved in the global oil trading world including oil traders, operators, contract personnel, claims departments, controllers, storage people, shipping agents, oil brokers, energy journalist’s, regulators and policy makers, et cetera to communicate clearly, effectively, efficiently and precisely. In addition, all those students undertaking training in the energy game.
I hope that this book should help avoid some of the recent notorious trading losses that some traders have experienced in the past few years.
What is more, I especially appreciated the practical career advice; Stefan provides in his foreword to the book, he advises traders, who are seeking to be successful, to get out of the office. They need to promote themselves by networking, not only at stuffy business meetings, dinners and conferences but by also getting out in the real world and participating in a sport like golf or sailing with colleagues, customers and rivals. As an energy journalist and consultant of some years’ experience, I have gained many opportunities from playing golf or sailing with industry clients.
This book is available in both Amazon Kindle and paperback formats. The author warns that this book is not meant to be used as legal documentation related to commercial or operational decisions.
Overall, I found this a very useful book, which I will recommend to my colleagues in the energy game whether they are traders, academics or fellow energy journalists. I cannot wait for Stefan van Woenzel, to add in the next edition of this book, to include a section covering electricity and emissions trading, since, in many parts of the world, such practices are growing in importance.
About Stefan van Woenzel
Born 21-05-1967 Rotterdam, The Netherland. Working since 21-09-1988 First at Van Ommeren (Vopak) till 1998 then at Statoil ASA in Stavanger, Norway from 1999 till today. “The Oil Traders’ Word(s)” is my contribution to the oil industry.
Why am I the person who can write this book?
Because I start to become the furniture in the business. I am 25 years working in the oil industry. Done commercial logistic, blending and customs plus shipping documentation. I did Gasoline trading around refinery assets and marketing systems including paper activity for hedging and speculative purposes. I did Heavy fuel Oil trading around the refinery, bunkers, blending but also on a global basis in Singapore and North America. Then I did Crude Oil trading, a very different world compared with products.
Today, I do business development for crude trading. I heard so many words and expressions in our business and I have seen so many people struggling with the meaning of that business language. I see also that people do not ask questions and that is a big concern. I have always been curious about every thing that happens in the oil market and that’s what I still am. I am very happy with the result of the book. Got some good reviews and feedback from the oil market is great and much appreciated. I did not write to become a millionaire. I made this book because I had something that could contribute something to the youngsters entering our oil world. Just remember, my book is not a piece of scientific work. It is not school theory. The book is written straight from practice with my insights and interpretation. It is not meant for the use of commercial contracts. Use it is a guide that will aid you through the jungle of trading jargon.
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