The upstream sector is the first chronological step in the oil and gas industry and refers to the exploration and production of oil and gas. The upstream sector involves companies searching for and selecting potential oil and gas locations, evaluating these sites, drilling exploratory wells, and extracting oil and gas if sufficient resources are located.
The first step involves searching for oil and gas, which is carried out by geologists who use different techniques to evaluate sites. The next step involves companies drilling exploratory wells to find out if oil and gas has actually been found and whether it is of sufficient quality and quantity. Drilling exploratory wells is a big risk for companies as it is expensive to do and there is no guarantee of a return.
The final stage in the upstream sector is drilling and operating wells. Once a well is set, it will be able produce oil and gas for many years and may be in operation for over 20 years.
The midstream sector refers to the transportation of oil and gas from the extraction site to the refineries. Transporting natural resources is a complex process that involves compressing fluids to required pressures to be transported on tankers or through pipelines.
The midstream sector also involves the storage, and wholesale marketing of oil and gas. In simple terms the midstream is all about taking oil and gas extracted in the upstream sector and getting it to the downstream processing facilities so that it can be turned into the various finished products.
The midstream sector is often included as an extension of either the upstream or the downstream sector. In fact, some models of the industry only involve the upstream and downstream sectors and do not include the midstream. Ultimately, the midstream sector provides an important link between the upstream and downstream sectors.
The downstream sector refers to the processing, selling and distribution of gas and oil based products. In the Downstream sector crude oil and gas arrives at processing plants where it is refined and eventually turned into various products, which will then be sold and distributed.
Common products produced in the downstream sector include Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Propane, Lubricants, Petrol, Jet Fuel, Plastics, Asphalt and many others. The products created in the downstream sector are extremely important and play a vital part in how the world functions.
As well as refining the downstream sector also includes marketing, customer service and strategic planning for the sale and distribution of finished products. It is this sector which consumers will be most familiar with as they come into daily contact with the products and retail outlets such as petrol stations.
EXPLOSION PROTECTED EQUIPMENT
Protection could well be a two part exercise:
The equipment must be designed and manufactured to appropriate standards for a chosen “Type of Protection” and then must be installed, inspected, maintained and repaired taking into account further standards for these activities.
In Europe, all these activities are subject to the requirements of two European Community Directives:
Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 95 equipment directive) covers everything related to design and manufacture up to the point of “placing the equipment on the market.
Directive 99/92/EC (ATEX 137 workplace directive) covers installation, maintenance and operation of certified equipment in areas where a risk of explosion is present.
Internationally, the IECEx Product Certification Scheme relates to the design and manufacture of equipment and is generally accepted as the basic for national certifications.
IECEx Service Facility Certification and IECEx Personnel Competence Certification Schemes relate to the installation, maintenance, inspection, and repair of the equipment in service.
SAM SYSTEM offers ATEX equipment certification if the equipment is to be sold in Europe and IECEx certification for accessing global markets.