Different Sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry

Posted on Nov 19 2013 - 7:00am by Cathy Brunetti

oil tanks industryThe oil and gas industry is divided into different sectors. If you’re thinking of relocating to Calgary and starting a career with one of the engineering firms there, you may want to know these sectors.


The upstream oil sector is also known as the exploration and production sector. This involves all the activities done out in the field to discover crude oil and natural gas. It also includes drilling wells and extracting the resources to the surface.

Oil and gas companies search areas for potential oil and gas reserves and then perform tests to analyze the size and composition of the resource. They will drill initial wells to explore the area, and if they find satisfying results, they’ll proceed with the extraction process. Among those who work in this sector are geoscientists, hydrogeologists, and drilling and completions engineers.


Midstream activities involve the gathering and refining of crude oil and gas. Processing and transporting of these resources also fall under this sector. Transportation options may range from connector pipelines to massive cargo ships. In Calgary, transmission pipeline firms are major players in the midstream petroleum sector. This sector also deals with the storage of oil and natural gas, balancing the supply and demand fluctuations. It helps in ensuring a steady supply of energy products.


The downstream sector is the one responsible for bringing oil and gas products to the consumer. It deals with the refining of pure crude oil. The refining process works by converting crude oil into useful products such as fuels, petrochemicals, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, asphalt, and lubricants. Downstream activities also involve sales and distribution of such by-products. Any plant that processes raw materials is considered part of the downstream production phase. Those that combine both upstream and downstream processes are called integrated companies.

Our society is highly dependent on the oil and gas industry. This industry practically keeps the world turning. A career in any of the sectors of the oil and gas industry can certainly bring in considerable rewards.