Oil 101: Introduction to Oil and Gas - Upstream What is Upstream? This Midstream content is derived from our Oil 101 Upstream ebook and can be found in our oil and gas learning community. This Upstream module includes the following sections (use the links below for quick access): -Introduction to Upstream -Upstream Business Characteristics -Oilfield Services -Reserves – Formation and Importance -Production – The First Step in Adding Value -The Unconventional Future of Upstream Upstream What is Upstream? Most oil and gas companies’ business structures are segmented and organized according to business segment, assets, or function. The upstream segment of the business is also known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector because it encompasses activities related to searching for, recovering and producing crude oil and natural gas. The upstream segment is all about wells: where to locate them; how deep and how far to drill them; and how to design, construct, operate and manage them to deliver the greatest possible return on investment with the lightest, safest and smallest operational footprint. Exploration The exploration sector involves obtaining a lease and permission to drill from the owners of onshore or offshore acreage thought to contain oil or gas, and conducting necessary geological and geophysical (G&G) surveys required to explore for (and hopefully find) economic accumulations of oil or gas. Drilling There is always uncertainty in the geological and geophysical survey results. The only way to be sure that a prospect is favorable is to drill an exploratory well. Drilling is physically creating the “borehole” in the ground that will eventually become an oil or gas well. This work is done by rig contractors and service companies in the Oilfield Services business sector. Production The production sector of the upstream segment maximizes recovery of petroleum from subsurface reservoirs.