Barrels Per Day Explained

Barrels Per Day Explained

4 Min.

Barrels Per Day is a vital metric in the oil industry, representing the daily production of barrels of oil. It impacts oil prices and is crucial for understanding the energy market. Explore its significance, alternate measurements, and global influences.


Barrels per day (B/D), often abbreviated as bbl/d, is a fundamental measure in the oil industry. It quantifies the daily production of oil in terms of barrels. For instance, you might come across statements like "Country ABC can potentially produce five million barrels per day." The volume of oil contained in one barrel equates to approximately 42 U.S. gallons or 35 imperial gallons, weighing roughly 0.134 tons. This metric holds substantial importance in understanding the dynamics of the oil market, particularly oil prices.

The Relationship between B/D and Oil Prices

The price of oil is closely tied to the daily production rate measured in barrels per day. There is often an inverse correlation between the number of barrels produced daily and the prevailing oil prices. When the daily production increases, oil prices tend to fall due to oversupply. Conversely, when production decreases, prices typically rise as the market experiences a shortage.

OPEC's Role

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, commonly known as OPEC, is a significant influencer in the world of barrels per day oil production and global oil prices. Established in 1960, OPEC consists of 13 member countries that collaborate in the production and export of oil to global markets. Their collective influence is substantial, and they often engage in coordinated efforts to regulate production levels in response to fluctuating oil prices. These coordinated actions help stabilize oil prices and maintain profitability for their member countries.

Historical Roots: Why Barrels?

The choice of barrels as the unit of measurement for oil production is rooted in the history of the oil industry. When oil was first discovered in Pennsylvania, it was stored in whiskey barrels, which were readily available at the time. As a result, the quantity of oil produced was linked to the number of barrels it filled. This historical practice has endured, and today, oil production is still referred to in terms of barrels per day.

Alternate Measurements in the Oil Industry

Barrels per day (B/D) is the foundational measurement when discussing oil production, but the industry also employs other metrics to quantify oil-related activities.

Million Barrels Per Day (MMB/D)

In addition to the basic B/D measure, the oil industry frequently uses million barrels per day (MMB/D) to denote substantial quantities of daily oil production. This metric is especially useful when discussing the output of large oil-producing regions or countries.

Thousand Barrels Per Day (KBPD)

The abbreviation KBPD stands for a thousand barrels per day. It's commonly used to express oil production in situations where B/D would result in unwieldy numbers. This metric simplifies discussions about moderate-sized production levels.

Barrel of Oil Equivalent (BOE)

The concept of a barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is employed when converting the energy contained in non-oil products, such as natural gas, into the equivalent energy value of a barrel of oil. This standardization allows analysts and investors to compare the production values of various energy sources on a common scale. It simplifies the evaluation of energy companies with diverse energy portfolios.


Barrels per day is a significant metric in the oil industry as it measures daily oil production and directly influences oil prices. Production levels and prices are closely correlated, and organizations like OPEC play a crucial role in managing global production. The historical connection between oil and barrels remains relevant, and the industry also uses alternative measurements like million barrels per day, thousand barrels per day, and barrels of oil equivalent to discuss production levels and energy sources. Understanding B/D is crucial for comprehending the dynamics of the oil market, the factors impacting oil prices, and the global collaborations that stabilize this vital industry.

Barrels per day (B/D)
Million Barrels Per Day (MMB/D)
Thousand Barrels Per Day (KBPD)
Barrel of Oil Equivalent (BOE)
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