The heart of the downstream petroleum industry.The heart of the downstream petroleum industry.

It is a long path from finding oil in the ground to using it in detergent to wash dishes after dinner. Before we put gasoline into our fuel tanks or pick up some Tupperware at the grocery story, the petroleum in these products passes through a refinery, and probably to a chemical plant.

In the oil industry, "Upstream" refers to petroleum exploration and development. "Downstream" refers to pipeline, refining, and chemicals.

As captured in the illustation below from the US Department of Energy, of all the petroleum produced, only about 20% of it goes to put gas in our cars. The rest goes to fueling our economy - literally! Take a moment to look at your credit card - it's plastic! (part of those"other products").

barrel illustration

Petroleum Technology

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