Downstream

DEFINITION of 'Downstream'

The oil and gas operations that take place after the production phase, through to the point of sale. Downstream operations can include refining crude oil and distributing the by-products down to the retail level. By-products can include gasoline, natural gas liquids, diesel and a variety of other energy sources.

BREAKING DOWN 'Downstream'

Most large oil companies are known as being "integrated" because they combine upstream activities, which include exploration and production, with downstream operations. Some prefer to divide downstream operations into mid and downstream, with the refining process taking place midstream and the distribution occurring in the downstream phase.

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