A book review, by energy journalist Nicholas Newman
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 unloading.
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 from Amazon in 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 Oil Traders Words 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.