Biggest Producer of Natural Gas

All You Need to Know About the Three Sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is one of America’s biggest economic driving forces — and currently, the U.S. is the biggest producer of natural gas on earth, and one of the largest oil-producing countries.

With such a massive industry comes a great number of interesting nuances and different jobs that can be performed. There might actually be much more to oil production rigs and the companies that operate them than you thought possible!

Want to know more about the ins and outs of the oil and gas industry? To get you started, here’s a quick guide to the three most prominent sectors of this industry:


The upstream sector of the oil industry, commonly called the exploration and production (EandP) sector, involves the production end of the oil business. The upstream sector includes exploration for potential oil reserves — both onshore and offshore — and then subsequently drilling these reserves with production rigs to bring oil and gas to the surface.


In the midstream sector, workers gather, process, refine, store and transport the oil and gas produced by the upstream sector. Midstream sector workers may also be involved in the wholesale marketing of crude oil and petroleum. They also work to apply technologies and equipment that increase the efficiency of these midstream processes, such as automated communications and pipe leak detectors.


The downstream sector is the sector with which the average consumer is most familiar. This sector refines crude petroleum and oil and processes and purifies natural gas for consumer products. Gasoline, jet fuel, asphalt, natural gas and much more are all products we use every day that come from the downstream sector.

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