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?

Norwegian tax break will increase gas and oil supply to Europe

01/02/2023

Some 35 projects have been greenlighted in the last two and a half years as operators have been scrambling to get their plans of development and opera...

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BP predicts carbon emissions could fall more steeply than estimated previously

01/02/2023

This year’s report explores the key trends and uncertainties surrounding the energy transition out to 2050. The three main scenarios considered – ‘Net...

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FPSO sets sail for Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project

01/02/2023

The FPSO set sail from Qidong, China, to travel 12,000 nautical miles via Singapore to its final destination in about 120 metres depth of water, aroun...

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US to boost annual renewables investment to $114bn by 2031

01/02/2023

‘The IRA will completely reshape the renewables supply chain in the US, incentivising the reopening of shuttered facilities as well as provide opportu...

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AI will accelerate tipping points for crucial green technologies

01/02/2023

The report states that the deployment of low-carbon technologies is being facilitated and accelerated by AI and digital enablers, with key technologie...

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Events and training

FREE Webinar - An introduction to striving for excellence using Tripod Beta

22/02/2023

It is often said half the money spent on selling washing powder is a waste of money; but which half? It is the same with striving for excellence. Wher...

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EI LIVE | Human Factors Safety Critical Task Analysis - March 2023

27/03/2023 - 31/03/2023

A 5-day training course on Human Factors Safety Critical Task Analysis (SCTA). Delegates will be able to facilitate SCTA sessions of their own and kno...

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Hazardous Area Classification - March 2023

28/03/2023 - 30/03/2023

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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Oil & Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - Nigeria

16/04/2023 - 20/04/2023

OIL & GAS INDUSTRY FUNDAMENTALS

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Economics of the Oil and Gas Industry - Nigeria

16/04/2023 - 20/04/2023

ECONOMICS OF OIL & GAS INDUSTRY TRAINING

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Technical guidance publications

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

2023

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

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

2023

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

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

2023

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

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IP 497: Petroleum products – Determination of sulfur content of automotive fuels – Wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (ISO 20884:2019)

2023

This document specifies a wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (WDXRF) test method for the determination of the sulfur content of liquid,homogeneo...

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IP 467: Determination of the high temperature stability of middle distillate fuel

2023

This standard specifies a procedure for the assessment of the relative stability of middle distillate fuels under high temperature ageing conditions w...

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