Upstream is the term used for the stages of operations in the gas and oil industry that involve exploration and production. Gas and oil companies are broadly divided into three segments, upstream, midstream, and downstream. Companies specializing in upstream largely deal with the exploration and initial production stages of oil and gas. Certain large ‘integrated’ oil companies even combine upstream activities with midstream and downstream operations. Paul Favret is an eminent industry professional who has developed innovations and issued eight US patents for various upstream oil and gas exploration approaches
The upstream sector of the oil and gas industry essentially includes all the stages involved right from the preliminary exploration to the extraction of the resource. Upstream firms can be involved in activities coming under the entire life cycle of the oil and gas industry, or just focus on a part of the upstream sector. Exploration and production (E&P) is another name for the upstream oil sector, and is considered to be a better representative of what actually happens occurs in this stage of development of a natural gas asset or/and oil asset. The exploration and production segment is the earliest portion of the oil and gas production process, and companies under this broadly focus on locating and extracting commodities from the earth.
The exploration stage involves searching for hydrocarbons, which are the key components of natural gas and petroleum. Land surveys are performed quite commonly for the purpose of identifying the areas that are most promising. Their objective is to locate particular minerals underground to estimate the amount of oil and gas reserves prior to the drilling process. Geologists study the formations of layers of sediment within the soil and rocks to identify if oil or natural gas is present or not. Paul Favret himself has an academic background in geology.
The upstream process also involves seismology that makes use of significant vibrations taking place as a result of explosives or machines for the creation of seismic waves. The manner in which these waves interact with a reservoir containing gas and oil assists in pinpointing the location of the reservoir. The drilling process starts off once it has been determined that there can be reserves beneath the ground.
Petroleum exploration involves quite sophisticated techniques, and the technologies used for the process are advancing at a rapid pace. Usually, exploration takes place in an area having high potential to hold a resource, ideally due to the known petroleum deposits nearby and local geology. Further exploration is completed in high-potential areas to delineate a resource. The geochemical and geophysical analysis is carried out by making use of techniques like drilling and assaying, induced polarization (IP) surveys, electrical currents, and more. If a region shows the potential of hosting a resource, exploratory wells are drilled to test the resource. Test drilling is an important component of the exploration phase in the oil and gas sector.