The oil & gas industry has created a regulated system in where operations find a straightforward path to a final destination. Said path is better known as midstream oil and gas. Midstream processes allow the industry to go from raw materials to finished product with little to no interruption.
However, in order to understand ‘midstream’ processes, it is important to gain a better grasp on the other major areas of the oil & gas industry.
The oil & gas industry breaks down into three basic parts: 1) UPSTREAM is the exploration & production stage of things; and 2) DOWNSTREAM is where the refined materials are distributed for commercial, residential, and industrial applications
The third part is MIDSTREAM. Midstream services bridge the gap between these two elements. It is where the unrefined materials like crude oil & natural gas are processed, transported, and stored. Transportation is a major part of midstream because consumption of refined materials is usually in a different location than exploration & production. They utilize well-regulated & effectively connected pathways to transport of materials via pipeline, trucks, tankers, and the railroad.
Due to their integral role, companies specializing in midstream oil & gas processes are a key factor in how well the industry runs. For all that is in place to keep midstream services effective, however, there are some hurdles that can prove to be tougher to manage over time. For example:
- navigating physically rough terrain is a near-constant issue, which is why having different avenues for transportation proves beneficial
- changes in governmental policy & looming adverse geopolitical issues can also bring the industry to a halt
- real-time monitoring is important to maintain safety; testing of materials is a constant, as is the need to keep materials moving under the right conditions
Of course, a particular issue midstream oil & gas faces includes the lasting effects on the environment. Local, state, and federal agencies have worked to make sure the oil & gas industry meets the strictest of standards. These standards apply when accessing, storing, and transporting raw/refined materials. Midstream oil and gas companies have invested heavily in their environmental remediation personnel & processes. They want to be able to know what is going on at all times. Moreover, they want to be able to act fast if a problem arises. Far too often, remediation efforts were often handled outside of the midstream company, leading to delays in action. By having personnel readily available, work can be done to contain an issue.
Midstream oil & gas requires a keen understanding & utilization of state-of-the-art technology keep things in check. Few industries require as much real-time monitoring. This is to ensure the safety of employees, the communities in which they are located, and the environment. The guiding documentation for the industry as a whole is ISO-20815. This is related specifically to petroleum, petrochemical, and natural gas industries — production assurance and reliability management.
Keep in mind that remediation is not to be considered the ONLY protocol midstream companies have in place. In many respects, it is a failsafe to be tapped if needed. The heavy lifting, so to speak, lies with their diverse & multi-disciplined engineering divisions. Their job is to design processes that proactively take into consideration any, and all, things regarding possible adverse issues as a preventative measure so as to plan around them. This proactive work is important so that they do not leave the team on the ground reacting & possibly being unprepared.
But the most effective midstream oil and gas processes are coupled with equally stellar upstream & downstream work. Touch base with our team her at CCI Culberson Engineering & Construction to learn more about our industry-leading work in oil & gas.