The Book of OIL: Volume Four (2013-2014): An Oral History.

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A barrel is one of several units of volume applied in various contexts; there are dry barrels , fluid barrels (such as the UK beer barrel and US beer barrel ), oil barrels and so on. For historical reasons the volumes of some barrel units are roughly double the volumes of others; volumes in common usage range from about 100 to 200 litres (22 to 44 imp gal; 26 to 53 US gal). In many connections the term " drum " is used almost interchangeably with "barrel".

Since medieval times the term barrel as a unit of measure has had various meanings throughout Europe, ranging from about 100 litres to 1000 litres. The name was derived in medieval times from the French baril , of unknown origin, but still in use, both in French and as derivations in many other languages such as Italian, Polish and Spanish. In most countries such usage is obsolescent, increasingly superseded by SI units . As a result, the meaning of corresponding words and related concepts (vat, cask, keg etc.) in other languages often refers to a physical container rather than a known measure.

In the international oil market context, however, prices in United States dollars per barrel are commonly used, and the term is variously translated, often to derivations of the Latin / Teutonic root fat (for example vat or Fass ). [1]

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The Book of OIL: Volume Five (2015) -

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