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Oil and Gas Industry Segments

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The upstream oil and gas segment is also known as exploration and production, or E&P because it encompasses activities related to searching for, recovering, and producing crude oil and natural gas.

Upstream is all about wells, where to locate them; how deep and how far to drill them; and how to design, construct, operate and manage them to deliver the greatest possible return on investment with the lightest, safest and smallest operational footprint.


As its name implies, the midstream segment of the oil and gas industry encompasses facilities and processes that sit between the upstream and downstream segments. Activities can include processing, storage and transportation of crude oil and natural gas.

In most cases, oil and gas reserves are not located in the same geographic location as refining assets and major consumption regions.

Transportation is a big part of midstream activities and can include using pipelines, trucking fleets, tanker ships, and rail cars.


Processing, transporting and selling refined products is the business of the downstream segment of the oil and gas industry. Key downstream business sectors include:

  • Oil Refining
  • Supply and Trading
  • Product Marketing and Retail

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