Downstream

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 It’s not just doctors and scientists that need STEM education. America’s shifting economy is demanding more trained workers in many different sectors. See how Travis Brooks got the hands-on education he needed to become a technician at the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery. Visit The Atlantic to learn more.

Spindletop Oil Well Centennial

Many were praising the wisdom of the vertically integrated oil company business model pioneered by John D. Rockefeller Sr. when ExxonMobil and Chevron today posted higher than expected third quarter earnings that were buoyed by their downstream operations. Oil price decreases weighed on upstream performance, which is typically where these companies generate most of their… Keep reading →

Delta Air Lines Buys Philadelphia Area Oil Refinery From ConocoPhillips

It’s been a little over two years since Delta Airlines took the plunge into the refining business as part of its fuel cost control strategy. The refinery posted a $19 million profit in the third quarter, but has run into problems complying with the renewable fuel standard. The refinery was reconfigured to maximize jet fuel… Keep reading →

General view of an oil refinery

A new documentary called Pump seeking to promote alternative fuels in the US takes aim at the existing downstream oil products complex and suggests change is afoot. The movie is due out in September and today Submarine Deluxe, in association with Fuel Freedom Foundation and iDeal Film Partners released the trailer that can be viewed… Keep reading →

High Gas Prices Prompt Bush's Decision To Lift Ban On Offshore Oil Drilling

EPA’s proposed update for petroleum refinery emission standards includes benzene concentration monitoring for the first time. On May 15, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule updating toxic air pollution standards for petroleum refineries located near neighborhoods.  It is the first EPA proposal requiring monitoring of air concentrations for benzene around fence… Keep reading →

New York Culinary Experience 2014 Presented By New York Magazine And The International Culinary Center - Day 2

The changing global oil refining picture has seen several mid-range to large companies spin off their downstream operations in recent years, but the trend has yet to travel up the food chain to the world’s largest oil companies, despite pressure from investors to do so. Examples of companies that divested downstream assets include Hess and… Keep reading →

Extended Drought Pushes Corn Prices To Record Highs

Ethanol requirements for U.S. gasoline appear to be losing friends and influencing the wrong people, with calls growing to reform or scrap the government mandates altogether. The Environmental Protection Agency in November proposed reducing the amount of renewable fuels, including corn-based ethanol, that oil refiners must blend with gasoline. The rule is a centerpiece of… Keep reading →

Chevron Announces 7.2 Billion Dollar Quarterly Profit

Chevron announced earnings of $5.0 billion for the 3rd quarter, down from $5.3 billion in the corresponding reporting period last year. Upstream operations outperformed the company’s refining and marketing business, which was hit by thinner product margins. “Our third quarter earnings were down from a year ago,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson in a… Keep reading →

Global Issues Impact Oil Price

The US became a net-exporter of oil products like gasoline and diesel fuel in 2011 for the first time since 1949 and oil product exports have steadily increased since that point. US refiners found a new lease on life – after several East Coast refinery closures – by purchasing Bakken crude at a discount to… Keep reading →


Your favorite Exxon station is very likely not owned or operated by Exxon and the same is true for the rest of the major oil companies. The Chevron’s and BP’s of the world largely distanced themselves from the branded retail gasoline business following the mega-mergers of the late 1990′s and early 2000′s due to financial and regulatory factors.

In fact, these businesses – that most people still refer to as gas stations – are now thought of by the industry as convenience stores that sell motor fuels. The downstream segment – refining and marketing – of the oil and gas business has been marginally profitable for decades. But the vertically integrated model first championed by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil remains attractive to the majors because owning refineries provides a guaranteed market for their often highly-profitable upstream businesses of finding and developing oil and gas. The upstream was often thought of as subsidizing the downstream, as Steve Coll described it in his book about ExxonMobil, “Private Empire.” Keep reading →

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