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Oil and Gas Industry: A Research Guide

This guide covers the business of oil and gas for researchers interested in the history, regulations, production, transportation and storage, marketing and distribution, statistical sources, and company research.

Introduction

Oil Field, Saratoga, Texas. 1908. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Oil and gas are major industries in the energy market and play an influential role in the global economy as the world's primary fuel source. The processes and systems involved in producing and distributing oil and gas are highly complex, capital-intensive and require state-of-the-art technology.

This guide looks at the business of oil and gas and is intended to serve as a research aid to sources worldwide, with a specific emphasis on the United States. It covers a brief history of the oil and gas industry, an overview of companies and organizations, statistic and pricing resources, and regulations. The industry is often divided into three segments:

  • upstream, the business of oil and gas exploration and production;
  • midstream, transportation and storage; and
  • downstream, which includes refining and marketing.

These three areas are reflected in the organization of the guide. Renewable and alternative energy companies are discussed in our Green Business: Sources of Information Guide.

Online Glossaries and Reference Guides

The following glossaries are freely available online and can be useful in understanding the terminology used in these industries.

Reference Books

The oil and gas industry has been covered at length in books and other publications. Throughout this guide, specific resources are recommended within a particular subtopic of oil and gas. Below are books that provide a good overview of the entire industry and may be useful starting points. The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.