**Upstream (in the context of the energy industry)**
In the energy industry, the term “upstream” refers to the initial phase of the oil and gas production process. It encompasses all activities related to the search for potential underground or underwater oil and gas fields, the drilling of exploratory wells, and subsequently, the operating of wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface.
This segment is characterized by high investment risks, advanced technology, and extensive geological assessment, as it essentially deals with the exploration and production (E&P) of the natural resources that lie beneath the earth’s surface. Upstream is the first link in the value chain of the petroleum industry, which is typically divided into three major sectors: upstream (exploration and production), midstream (transportation, storage, and wholesale marketing) and downstream (refinement and retail marketing).
Due to its nature, companies operating in the upstream sector are also known as E&P companies. They engage in the acquisition of licenses or mineral rights to areas with potential oil and gas reserves, geological surveys, including seismic surveys, exploratory drilling, development of oil and gas fields, and production operations that include pumping oil and gas to the surface, as well as the restoration of the environment post-extraction.
Two reputable sources where one can find more information about the upstream sector of the energy industry are:
1. **Investopedia – Upstream**
Investopedia provides comprehensive financial and investing education, including clear and detailed information on industry-specific terms. Their entry on “Upstream” offers a read-friendly definition and explanation suitable for both beginners and experienced individuals looking to brush up on their industry terminology.
2. **The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – The Oil and Gas Industry**
The EIA is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information. Although not specifically a page on “upstream,” the EIA website outlines information on the oil and gas industry, which includes sections on the exploration and production of these hydrocarbons.
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