Upstream

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DEFINITION of 'Upstream'

Operations stages in the oil and gas industry that involve exploration and production. Upstream operations deal primarily with the exploration stages of the oil and gas industry, with upstream firms taking the first steps to first locate, test and drill for oil and gas. Later, once reserves are proven, upstream firms will extract any oil and gas from the reserve.

BREAKING DOWN 'Upstream'

Oil and gas companies can generally be divided into three segments: upstream, midstream and downstream. Most large oil companies are known as "integrated" because they combine upstream activities with midstream and downstream operations, which take place after the production phase through to the point of sale.

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