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Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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By Sector

Occupations in the petroleum industry fit in the three categories of upstream, midstream, and downstream. The upstream sector of the industry deals with exploration, removal, and production. This includes seismic, drilling, technical, and supply companies. Employment in the upstream sector fell by 25 percent between 1985 and 1992. However, a massive recovery occurred and employment levels rose between 1994 and 2000. Statistics Canada estimates that in 2001 over 120,000 people were directly employed in the upstream petroleum industry. 

The Midstream sector is focused on transportation for the petroleum industry. It consists of pipeline systems that connect producing and consuming areas. Other midstream areas are facilities that extract sulphur and natural gas, store oil and gas products, and transport materials by truck, rail, and tanker. Estimates on how many people are employed in this sector are hard to discern since it would cover people building the pipelines to oil truck drivers.

In the oil and gas industry downstream refers to the industry that deals with the refining and distributing of oil and gas. On the downstream, employment fell sharply in the early 1990s, but has begun a steady improvement over the last ten years. The future of the downstream sector depends on its ability to compete with refined product imports. If the domestic production increases, then the downstream sector will be able to hire on more people to deal with the increase.

 

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