About the Energy Industry | LSU Energy Program

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About the Energy Industry

The oil and gas industry comprises one of the world’s largest and most important industries. This industry includes stages of exploration and production of oil and natural gas to individual energy consumption. The four sectors that comprise the oil and gas industry:

  • Upstream
  • ​Midstream
  • Downstream
  • Service

Upstream oil and gas is often called exploration and production (E&P) sector. In this sector companies explore prospective crude oil and natural gas fields, drill exploratory wells, and extract crude oil and raw natural gas. This sector is charged with finding oil and natural gas fields and bringing the raw material to the surface.

After upstream companies have extracted the oil and natural gas, midstream companies step in to transport this product to refineries or distributors. Transportation methods include railroad, oil tanker, barge, or pipeline.

Downstream companies receive the raw product from upstream companies in order to convert into a useable format for consumption. For example, refineries take crude oil and process it into gasoline for a car or plastic for water bottles.

energy graph of how upstream, midstream, downstream and service are connected