During my first week at OCS Group, I learned about the many areas of the oil and gas industry, which include different sectors. In addition, turns out the oil and gas industry even has its own language; terms that I’ve never heard before. I personally thought they were pretty entertaining; for example, “monkey boards”, which is a platform half way up the derrick of the oil rig where the Derrickman has access to the top of the pipe stands. Another term called the “dog house” is a room or shelter for the drilling crew (the industry must love animals). I can go on and on, but in my opinion, the most important thing I’ve learned within the first few days of being in the industry are the different sectors of oil and gas.
Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream
So what is upstream? The best way I remember is “exploration and production”, which involves finding and producing crude oil and natural gas. Companies that focus on exploration and production are Noble Energy, BP, and Apache Corporation to name a few. Crude oil is often found in remote places such as deserts, jungle or the Arctic. Finding oil and gas trapped deep underground and drilling a well is very complicated and expensive. It costs millions to drill a well and only a few are successful. The liquids found underground can be a complicated mixture of water, crude oil and gas. The crude oil and gas need to be separated before they can be safely transported.
The next sector, midstream, involves the collection and transportation of the crude oil, natural gas, and refined products. These products get transported mainly via pipeline, oil tanker, barge, truck or rail.
Lastly, downstream involves the filtering of the raw materials obtained during the upstream phase. Essentially what this all boils down to is the process of refining crude oil and purifying natural gas. The products generated from this section of the process include natural gas, diesel oil, petrol, gasoline, lubricants, kerosene, jet fuel, asphalt, heating oil, LPG, just to name a few.
So, what does OCS Group focus on?
OCS Group Services
OCS Group project and commissioning primarily focuses on the upstream sector. The OCS Group Training facility in Houston provides services including hazardous area, high voltage, regulatory and electrical safety training, and rig inspection training workshops, among other safety training courses. I’ve learned a good place to start learning about regulatory and safety laws and procedures is through the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) website, as well as the American Petroleum Institute (API), which is the only trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and gas industry. One of OCS Group’s new and enhanced hazardous area training course, 500-505 API RP, focuses on terminology and protection concepts utilized in explosive areas.
Regardless of the distinct features each sector has, each plays a critical role in the overall process. Together all three sectors help power the world! Careers in oil and gas can often be exciting, giving one the chance to use increasingly sophisticated technologies and work away from a desk in locations worldwide. The industry is unpredictable, just like Houston weather! However, it is extremely fascinating and requires a lot of research and patience. Another thing I learned- picking up my favorite energy drink before starting the work day powers my day; and essentially, is a good way to absorb all of this new found knowledge to avoid information overload and explode! (pun intended)
Dutta, Sumit. “Introduction to Oil and Gas Industry.” Oil and Gas IQ, Oil & Gas IQ: Global Oil & Gas Intelligence, 9 Feb. 2017, www.oilandgasiq.com/strategy-management-and-information/articles/oil-gas-industry-an-introduction.
About the author : Alise M. Mena is a Business student at the University of Houston-Downtown Marilyn Davies College of Business. Alise is in her 3rd year studying marketing as her major and is currently an OCS Group Business Development Intern.