What do the three sectors; Upstream, Downstream and Midstream have to do with oil?

Some people refer to petroleum as rock oil because of where it originated from. Petroleum can actually be traced back hundreds of years ago and was formed when oil and natural gas merged together. It is categorized as a fossil fuel because it is composed of decayed plant and animal matter. “The substance is made up of hundreds of hydrocarbons molecules which can be harvested in two forms – liquid (referred to as crude oil) and vapour (referred to as natural gas). The harvesting process itself is divided into three major divisions – upstream, midstream and downstream.” 

The upstream sector is also known as the exploration and production area. Within this field, workers are exploring and searching for sources of crude oil and natural gas underground. They do this by using advanced machines that can tell you if there is any oil underground and will pull the oil and gas out of the ground by using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology.

The midstream sector is the largest of the two as in this area oil is transported and stored using several different methods such as, pipeline, oil tanker, barge, truck or rail. It is transported to the refinery known as the downstream sector.

The downstream sector is also the “final stage of the process and refers to the refining, processing and purifying of crude oil and natural gas.”  This is where many of the products are made such as, gas, diesel oil, jet fuel, lubricants, heating oil, asphalt, waxes and more.