Oil and gas

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Oil and natural gas remain the world's leading fuels, accounting for nearly 55% of global energy consumption

Oil and natural gas are formed from decaying plant and animal remains that became buried within layers of the earth and subjected to heat and pressure over millions of years. These two types of fossil fuels have been the world’s primary sources of energy for decades. They have enabled advances in quality of life and in all sectors of the economy, from residential lighting, cooking and heating to transportation and industrial manufacturing. However, the low carbon transition has put the oil and gas industry under pressure as these fuels are two of the main sources of greenhouse gases. The industry is associated with environmental disasters such as oil spills, and the prices of the two fuels – especially oil – are highly volatile with fluctuations directly impacted by political and socioeconomic events. Nevertheless, more than 100 countries currently produce oil and/or natural gas and the two fuels are expected to maintain their importance across the energy sector for many decades to come.

The production of oil and natural gas are often coupled as the two are typically found together in nature. The industry is commonly divided into three main operational sectors: upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream sector incorporates the exploration and extraction of crude oil and natural gas reserves, while midstream focuses on transporting and storing the extracted products. The oil and natural gas then reach downstream processing facilities where they are refined, distributed and sold to the end customer. The product that reaches the end customer can take a number of forms including natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, diesel fuel, jet fuel, heating oil, kerosene, asphalt and other petrochemicals. Several trends are currently impacting the future outlook of the oil and gas industry. The use of natural gas has increased across all economic sectors over the last few decades since natural gas – often viewed as a bridge fuel towards a low carbon energy system – burns cleaner than oil or coal for electricity generation. The switch to natural gas is becoming more widespread with the proliferation of the technology to liquify it (to LNG) for transport. Developments in shale gas and oil production have also greatly increased supply in the US, which has had implications in global oil, and increasingly LNG markets. Given a growing world population and continued demand for oil and gas products, discoveries of new deposits and advances in production technology will determine availability of supplies. Developments in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) will also impact the position of oil and natural gas in the long-term energy mix.

You can further explore the three sectors by clicking the links below:

Learn more about oil and gas extraction by exploring our Energy Insights.

For the latest news and articles on exploration and production read New Energy World.

Explore our dedicated collections on Aviation Fuel, Future of Gas, Road Fuels, Shale Gas and Working Offshore.

What's new?

First ever global registry of fossil fuels launched, while North Sea emissions continue to fall

28/09/2022

Launched by Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor, the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels suggests that producing and combusting the world’s fossil fu...

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UK government plans to cut business energy bills and bolster domestic energy security

28/09/2022

A new Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a discount on the wholesale price of gas and electricity. Equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in...

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EU MEPs agree to 45% renewables target

21/09/2022

The 45% target is also backed by the European Commission (EC) under its RepowerEU package. MEPs also agreed to double the number of cross-border ...

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ADNOC to complete first phase of waste heat recovery project as it accelerates GHG emissions targets

21/09/2022

ADNOC claims to produce some of the world’s least-carbon intensive crude and says it is further reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity ...

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New UK Prime Minister unveils new energy bills support package

14/09/2022

The government’s ‘immediate, short-term action to support households’ will see Ofgem’s price cap being replaced with a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ th...

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Events and training

Ageing and Life Extension of Offshore Structures - Free Webinar

11/10/2022

A one-hour FREE webinar that will give you an understanding of managing ageing and life extension of structures for offshore oil and gas installations...

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Hazardous Area Classification - October 2022

11/10/2022 - 13/10/2022

This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...

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Human Factors Foundation - October 2022

17/10/2022 - 21/10/2022

This 5-day learning course delivers a comprehensive introduction into human factors for non-specialists. It provides a practical, engaging and interac...

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EI LIVE Oil and Gas Mergers & Acquisition: Acquiring and Divesting Assets and Companies

24/10/2022 - 26/10/2022

This 3-day virtual online training course focuses on integrating an understanding of Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) activity trends, the pro...

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EI LIVE Asset Management - October 2022

31/10/2022 - 02/11/2022

This 3 half-day training course will help you to understand the aspects involved in managing physical assets to develop and maintain your own strategi...

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Technical guidance publications

Guidelines for the assessment of ageing and life extension of non-metallic components in the offshore oil and gas industry, volume 1: subsea flexible pipes and offshore marine hoses

2022

The intention of this publication is to provide guidance for assessing ageing and life extension (ALE) of non-metallic components in the offshore oil ...

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Guidelines for the assessment of ageing and life extension of non-metallic components in the offshore oil and gas industry, volume 2: composite equipment and repairs

2022

This document captures industry good practice, knowledge and learning on these elements of composite materials. This guidance will provide a star...

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Guidance on the management of the hazard of vessel impact with offshore structures

2022

This publication provides guidance on the management of the hazard of vessel impact with offshore structures.This guidance is considered relevant to m...

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Performance standards for structural safety critical elements

2022

Performance standards (PSs) are defined to provide evidence that risk levels for offshore structures in use by the Oil and Gas Industry remain accepta...

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Guidelines for the management of coatings for external corrosion protection

2022

These guidelines provide information to enable the development of a strategy for management of external protective coatings for corrosion protection o...

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