What Are The Differences Between Upstream, Midstream And Downstream Oil Activities?

The O&G (oil and gas) sector is one full of complexities and technical jargon. It’s a world in which many people know a little, whilst relatively few comprehend it with any kind of real depth. Amongst the terms most commonly misunderstood by the layperson, whilst having a cursory Wikipedia browse, are upstream, midstream and downstream oil activities. As terms go, they sound more likely to stem from a geographical background, as opposed to an oil setting, but they’re three of the most important words used across the whole O&G sector.

The team here at TriStone Holdings Ltd., a fast-growing oil and gas investment company in the UK, wanted to shed some light on these terms and their importance in what is one of the world’s leading sectors.

Upstream Activities

When you think about it, the choice to use terms synonymous with the various stages of a river’s course makes sense, as upstream activities refer to points early on within the industry. These include oil exploration (establishing the potential and viability of an asset) as well as the extraction of the oil itself through the drilling process. Without upstream activities, there’d be no oil market. As such, it’s undoubtedly the most important of all the stages. After all, in order for there ever to be demand, there needs to be the existence of a supply in the first place.

Traditionally, there were companies who specialised in one or maybe two of the stages of the oil cycle. Now, however, the large O&G companies tend to diversify across all three stages in order to better streamline their operations.

Midstream Activities

Midstream refers, unsurprisingly, to the stages between production and final refining/processing of the raw material. Typically, these include transportation (via pipeline, tanker ships, HGVs and more) as well as storage and some initial processing. It’s worth noting, though, that the majority of the processing takes place within downstream activities. In fact, midstream activities often fall under the umbrella of downstream activities because they overlap so frequently.

Watertight logistics form an integral part of successful midstream activities, with oil needing to be transported from one place to another, exactly when it’s needed. Thanks to innovative Artificial Intelligence systems, and the increased automation of infrastructural setups, the efficiency of midstream activities is continually being improved, year-on-year. In turn, this is enabling oil companies to come ever closer to truly optimal levels of production.

Such digital innovation is also bringing with it other benefits like improved safety and control. The digital age is one begrudged by some people. However, anyone in the O&G industry knows how crucial it is to further not just midstream operations, but the industry as a whole. Here at TriStone Holdings Ltd, we’re committed to pursuing these kinds of technologies to help provide best return for our investors.

Downstream Operations

This is the stage where the bulk of the refining is carried out. Downstream activities help convert raw materials into something usable and market-ready. The oil refining process comprises many stages; in essence, however, it boils down to separating from one another the various hydrocarbons of which crude oil is primarily composed. The refining process also helps remove sulphur from the end-product, which ultimately helps reduce harmful sulphur dioxide emissions further down the line.

The marketing and subsequent distribution of the finished petroleum product can also be thought of as a downstream activity, marking the very end of the petroleum cycle.

What Are TriStone Holdings Ltd Focused On?

As a company, we are primarily interested in the pursuit of onshore upstream activities, exploring previously developed prospects across the Cherokee Basin region, in the US state of Kansas. The areas explored by TriStone Holdings Ltd.’s team indicate a significant upstream potential for oil production, both now, as well as the potential for further natural gas developments in the future.

We have extensive and well-established connections with leading midstream and downstream players, that leaves us well placed to tackle these upstream operations with our full energies.

Contact Us

Hopefully, after reading this blog post, you’ll have garnered a better understanding of what it is that industry professionals are talking about when they mention the terms upstream, midstream and downstream. So, if you’d like to find out more about TriStone Holdings Ltd, and our oil and gas investment company, then get in touch! Contact us today on 0800 055 7079.


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