• The oil and gas industry supply chain is complex. There are various moving parts and systems to extract, produce and distribute oil & gas products that are so commonly used in everyday life.

    • The oil & gas value chain


      Many countries, cities and industries would consider oil to be one of the most important commodities in the world. Petroleum has many roles in society, the most well-known being a key energy source, however also used to make chemicals and plastics for industrial, commercial and individual use.

      Production of oil and gas products is both resource and technology intensive, where processes can range in complexity from simple onshore projects to challenging and remote offshore projects.

      The oil and gas value chain can be categorized into three sectors - upstream, midstream and downstream. These 'streams' refer to where a company sits in the supply chain. While most companies operate in only one sector, some integrated companies work across two, sometimes all three, sectors.

      • Upstream - Exploration and production 

        The upstream sector of the oil and gas value chain involves the exploration, production and extraction of raw materials. Commonly known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector, processes include searching for hydrocarbon reservoirs, drilling exploratory wells to determine quantity and quality of the location and developing facilities to extract petroleum crude oil and natural gas. 

        E&P is also considered the most high-risk segment in the 'stream', facing constant challenges with increasing energy demands, need for sustainable operations and extracting resources in remote & harsh environments via more complex projects. While there are expectations and requirements to meet, there's a range of Standards designed to improve efficiencies and tackle challenges, these can be found in our 'Extraction and processing of petroleum and natural gas' category. 

        Midstream - Storing and transport

        The midstream sector in oil and gas refers to the transport and storing of raw materials, where depending on the product and location of the site, pipelines, rail, road and maritime transportation may be required.  

        The safe design, construction and operation of pipelines must be considered from the start through to abandonment of a project. ISO 13623:2017 provides specific requirements for the design, materials, construction, operation, maintenance and abandonment of pipeline systems. This International Standard provides guidance for both onshore and offshore projects, production plants, refineries and storage facilities. 

        The ability to identify and manage geohazard risks including natural or human forces, throughout the construction and operational periods for pipelines is critical for the safety and well-being of employees and surrounding communities. ISO 20074:2019 specifies requirements and provides guidance for the management of these geological hazard risks for onshore pipeline systems.  

        Downstream - Refining and retail 

        In the downstream sector, refineries convert the raw materials into usable products for industrial, commercial and residential use. Marketing and distribution of crude oil and natural gas products occurs, where these post-production processes form the usable product to the consumer. 

        Companies looking for a competitive advantage continuously look to enhance operations and performance. API RP 754:2016+ERR1:2017 identifies leading and lagging process safety indicators useful for driving performance improvement for the refining and petrochemical industries.


        The role of Standards in the oil & gas value chain 

        Safety and quality should be instilled within all companies, throughout all processes. A comprehensive quality management system developed to manage supply chain risks and opportunities is essential for product and service suppliers to conform to industry-set Standards. ISO 29001:2020 provides the minimum requirements within the industry to manage quality. 

        Without the right guidance, techniques and processes, the oil and gas value chain can become risky, expensive and time exhausting. Standards are vital to streamline operations, improve communication within the supply chain, implement new technologies and overall improve efficiencies throughout the entire oil and gas value chain.

        • Global interoperability in the oil and gas industry

          What happens when technologies diverge and advance separately in parallel (or even unparallel) streams?

        • Standardization in the oil and gas industry

          Standards enhance the safety of industry operations, help keep costs down, reduce waste, and minimize confusion

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