When It Comes to MMbbl vs. Mbbl, You Can’t Be Too Careful

27 Aug 2018


Fun fact!  MMbbl and Mbbl can mean the same thing.

Our writing team was recently working on a whitepaper and needed to pull some statistics about oil production volume.

We noticed that, in some of the sources we used, “Mbbl” was used to represent thousands of barrels.

In others, “Mbbl” referred to millions of barrels.

In still others, millions of barrels was written as “MMbbl.”

We had to do a bit of cross-referencing and fact-checking to make sure we knew what we were reading (and writing).

The takeaway?

Don’t assume that “Mbbl” means 1,000 barrels or “MMbbl” means 1 million barrels or that you’ll see these abbreviations used consistently across different publications or industries.

If you’re not sure, take the time to verify.

Image by Hafis Fox from Pixabay

And, just for fun, here’s something we stumbled across as we tried to unravel the whole Mbbl vs. MMbbl conundrum:

Some people say that the origin of the abbreviation “bbl” for “barrels” dates back to the late 1860s, when U.S. oil producers decided that 42 gallons should be the standard volume for oil barrels.

When Standard Oil started making the 42-gallon barrels, they made them in one color: blue.

Eventually, “blue barrel” — or “bbl” — became synonymous with 42-gallon oil barrels.

Stephanie Hashagen 
Stephanie’s expertise in English and writing spans over a decade in freelancing and teaching. Stephanie worked as a staff writer and editor for The Houstonian, contributed to The Huntsville Item, freelanced for The Houston Chronicle and spent four years teaching English and reading at the junior high and high school level. She has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University. Stephanie has also ghost-authored several non-fiction and fiction manuscripts, numerous fashion and travel articles, and countless press releases, pitch letters, taglines, and print ads. Her copywriting and journalism experience includes technical copy for Tyco Flow Control and customer communications copy for a major American credit card company. Stephanie has also worked on copy and campaigns for Hilton and Carpet One Floor & Home, North America’s largest floor covering retailer.

At The Writers For Hire, she has overseen, edited, proofread, or written copy for a multitude of clients. Stephanie is an exceptional proofreader, writer, and editor and has a gift for adding a creative flair to projects while keeping copy professional and concise.

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