Oil and gas

Join the EI» Manage your membership»
Join the EI» Manage your membership»

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?

Further action needed to cut North Sea oil and gas emissions says NSTA

10/04/2024

Meanwhile, Equinor continues to work towards decarbonising Norwegian oil and gas production operations, reporting that the Sleipner field centre, the ...

Read more »

Saudi Aramco CEO calls phasing out oil and gas a ‘fantasy’

27/03/2024

Nasser made the controversial statement while speaking at CERAWeek in Houston, Texas, US, last week. Explaining his reasoning, he firstly pointed out ...

Read more »

US geothermal power could increase to 90 GW by 2050

27/03/2024

The DoE report predicts that geothermal energy production across the country could rise to 90 GW or more by 2050, a 20-fold increase. Next-genera...

Read more »

Oil major joins supply chain to support e-NG development

27/03/2024

TotalEnergies, Engie, Mitsubishi Corporation, Osaka Gas, Sempra Infrastructure, Tree Energy Solutions (TES), Tokyo Gas and Toho Gas are pooling their ...

Read more »

UK budget extension of windfall profits tax disappoints leading offshore energy industries body OEUK

13/03/2024

David Whitehouse, Chief Executive of Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), decried the decision to extend the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers –...

Read more »

Events and training

Good practice guidance for carbon capture projects

17/04/2024

The launch of the Energy Institute's good practice guidance for carbon capture.

Read more »

Safety Critical Task Analysis April 2024

22/04/2024 - 24/04/2024

5 X 1.5hr seminars (and Bonus material) on Human Factors Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA). 

Read more »

What are the main emissions? Recent remote sensing reveals top methane sources in oil & gas

30/04/2024

What are the main emissions?Insights from recent remote sensing studies into the top sources of methane emissions from the oil and gas industryRemote ...

Read more »

Economics of the Oil and Gas Industry - October 2024

14/10/2024 - 15/10/2024

A 2-day introduction to the economics of the oil and gas industry. This course is suitable for students who are new to the oil and gas industry.

Read more »

Introduction to LNG - October 2024

21/10/2024 - 22/10/2024

This 2-day training course provides an introduction to the LNG chain. Suitable for students who are new to the LNG sector and/or those with a non-tech...

Read more »

Technical guidance publications

Guidelines for integrity management of the splash zone in offshore environments

2024

The Splash Zone is one of the most aggressive environments for an offshore asset and the equipment exposed to such conditions. It is the region interm...

Read more »

Guidance on ALE for offshore structures supporting wind turbines

2024

Offshore wind turbines have been operational now for some twenty years and current and future planned projects will significantly increase the global ...

Read more »

IP 601: Petroleum products – Determination of boiling range distribution by gas chromatography method – Part 4: Light fractions of crude oil

2024

ScopeThis document specifies a method for the determination of the boiling range distribution of petroleum products by capillary gas chromatography us...

Read more »

IP 545: Determination of boiling range distribution by gas chromatography method – Part 3: Crude Oil

2024

ScopeThis document describes a method for the determination of the boiling range distribution of petroleum products by capillary gas chromatography us...

Read more »

IP 599: Determination of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) in aviation turbine fuel - Gas Chromatography using heart-cut and refocusing

2024

This standard specifies a method for the identification and quantification of selected fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) species, see Table 1, inaviation...

Read more »

You may also be interested in

Shale gas collection

The Shale gas Collection addresses the scientific and technological aspects of shale gas and its development. You can also download our publication: An Energy Essentials guide to shale gas

Refining collection

Explore the locations and capacities of European refineries and discover who participates in the EI correlation schemes on our interactive map

Working offshore collection

Interested in working offshore? Find useful information and contact addresses, including short courses, recruitment services, caterers, medical services, construction yards, operating companies and drilling contractors

Oil & Gas Commercial and Management training

The EI offers a comprehensive portfolio of oil and gas training courses including those focusing on commercial and management areas.

RGU Aberdeen