A little known anniversary passed in 2013, which marked a hundred years since the first purpose-built, drive-up gas station was opened. The oil industry has been around for over a hundred and fifty years, since John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1865, becoming the first oil “baron”. Industry operations are commonly divided into upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas, covering all aspects of the process from prospecting for new sources to transportation, refining and marketing of petroleum products.
What is the oil and gas upstream sector?
The upstream oil industry is concerned with identifying new sources of oil and natural gas. These could be underground or undersea oil and gas fields. As well as exploration, upstream oil is also concerned with the actual process of production – drilling, operating and maintaining oil wells.
The three major producers of crude oil worldwide are Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S., in that order. The U.S. was producing about 8.7 million barrels of crude oil a day in 2104. A recent change in the upstream oil industry has been the shift towards unconventional gas, with corresponding changes in the processing and transportation of natural gas.
The midstream oil and gas sector is concerned with the transportation of crude oil to the destinations where it will be refined and turned into gasoline and other petroleum products.
What is the oil and gas downstream sector?
The downstream oil sector deals with the processes of refining petroleum products, as well as the marketing and distribution of refined petroleum products. Crude oil is refined and processed at refineries to produce a variety of products. Petroleum products include fuels, petrochemicals, and other products: petrol or gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, home heating oil, fuel oils, waxes and lubricants, asphalt, fertilizers and pesticides, plastics and synthetic rubber and pharmaceuticals. Petroleum products are this used for almost all aspects of daily living.
Downstream oil and gas jobs include safety and managerial functions and the downstream industry hires personnel to fill some of the following process positions: hazard analysts and plant operators, tax accountants and contract managers, maintenance supervisors and instrument engineers.