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oil rig equipment

Upstream, midstream, and downstream are the three components that onshore oil and gas are separated into. The terms downstream and upstream oil and gas production is a reference to the location in the supply chain of an oil or gas company. 

What is Upstream Oil and Gas Jobs?

Companies that produce, extract, or identify the raw materials are performed upstream oil and gas production. Therefore, upstream oil and gas refer to the beginning of the supply chain.

Recovering raw materials, identifying deposits, and drilling wells are all part of upstream oil and gas operations and productions.

Upstream industry is the portion of the oil and natural gas industry that is responsible for finding crude oil and natural gas deposits, along with producing them. Upstream industry is sometimes known as the exploration and production or E&P sector. This part of the petroleum industry includes all activities that happen out in the field including drilling wells, trucking supplies, and mining oil sands. In addition, it includes planning and preparation—including environmental studies and engineering plans.

The industry’s upstream oil and gas jobs sector employs a wide array of different specialties, including but not limited to:

  • Lease Analysts
  • Geologists
  • Geophysicist
  • SCADA Technician
  • Flowback    
  • Water Transfer
  • GIS Analyst
  • BOP Testing
  • Mud Engineer
  • Roustabout
  • Rig Hand

What is Midstream Oil and Gas Jobs?

The midstream sector involves transportation (by pipeline, rail, barge, oil tanker or truck), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products. Midstream operations can include a combination of elements from the upstream and downstream oil and gas jobs sectors. 

The midstream sector covers transportation, storage, and trading of crude oil, natural gas, and refined products. In its unrefined state, crude oil is transported by two primary modes: tankers, which travel interregional water routes, and pipelines, which most of the oil moves through for at least part of the route. Once the oil has been extracted and separated from natural gas, pipelines transport the products to another carrier or directly to a refinery. Petroleum products then travel from the refinery to market by tanker, truck, railroad car, or more pipelines. Tankers deliver petroleum by transporting oil and refined products from other countries to the U.S. to make up the difference between domestic products and demand. Tankers also transport oil along the Gulf coast. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, heavily impacts the transportation industry, as it requires vessels that transport cargo from one U.S. port to another U.S. port must be built in the United States, and majority owned and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. 

See more information and resources on Modes of Transportation and Storage in this guide.

Roles in midstream oil and gas jobs include:

Downstream Refinery

What is Downstream Oil and Gas Jobs?

This refers to the last step in the production process and is where refiners of natural gas processors and petroleum crude oil can be found. These people are the ones who ultimately deliver usable products to their users or customers.

The downstream oil and gas jobs sector covers refining and marketing.

While refining is a complex process, the goal is straightforward: to take crude oil, which is virtually unusable in its natural state, and transform it into petroleum products used for a variety of purposes such as heating homes, fueling vehicles and making petrochemical plastics.

Downstream Oil and Gas jobs processes are involved in refining depending on the wanted end product. Hydrotreating is used to remove unwanted elements, such as sulphur and nitrogen from hydrocarbons; cracking breaks molecules into smaller fragments to produce gasoline and other lighter hydrocarbons. The gasses produced by cracking are used to create other products like synthetic rubber and plastics. When making gasoline, refiners need high octane numbers to prevent engine knocking. Despite knowing the dangers of lead, tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline in the United States in the 1920s in order to increase the octane. Since the U.S. government banned lead in vehicle gasoline in 1996 as part of the U.S. Clean Air Act, refineries use alkylation and reforming to develop high-octane gasoline.

Refineries are usually located near population centers to facilitate marketing and distribution of final products.

Roles in downstream oil and gas jobs include:

Markpointe Recruiters have extensive knowledge and networks to find the right candidate within a range of oil and gas jobs disciplines. Contact us today to solve your hiring needs.