The Oil & Gas Midstream industry serves as the crucial link between the upstream exploration & production (E&P) activities and the downstream refining and marketing operations. It primarily focuses on the transportation, storage, and wholesale marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and refined products. The industry plays a pivotal role in ensuring that hydrocarbons extracted from the earth are efficiently and safely delivered to the places where they are refined, processed, and eventually consumed.

Key Activities

  1. Transportation: This involves moving crude oil from production sites to refineries and transporting natural gas to processing facilities or end-users. Common transportation methods include pipelines, rail, trucking, and shipping.
  2. Storage: Storing crude oil, natural gas, and refined products in storage tanks, underground reservoirs, and salt caverns until they are needed for refining or distribution.
  3. Gathering and Processing: Collecting produced oil and gas from various sources and processing it to meet market standards or for further refining.
  4. Wholesale Marketing: Selling oil and gas commodities in large quantities to downstream entities or other traders.

Revenue Streams

  1. Transportation Fees: Charges for moving oil and gas through pipelines or other transportation methods.
  2. Storage Fees: Revenue from leasing storage capacity to producers, refiners, traders, or other parties.
  3. Gathering and Processing Fees: Charges for collecting and preparing oil and gas for transportation or refining.
  4. Sales from Wholesale Marketing: Profits from buying and selling commodities in the wholesale market.

Market Dynamics

  • Infrastructure Demand: The need for midstream infrastructure often depends on upstream production levels and downstream refining capacity.
  • Regulatory Environment: Pipelines and other infrastructure projects can face regulatory hurdles, environmental assessments, and public opposition.
  • Global Energy Markets: International demand for oil and gas, geopolitical events, and global economic conditions can influence midstream operations.
  • Technological Advancements: Innovations in pipeline materials, monitoring systems, and transportation methods can impact efficiency and safety.


  1. Infrastructure Development: Building new or expanding existing infrastructure can be capital-intensive and time-consuming.
  2. Operational Risks: These include pipeline leaks, equipment failures, and other incidents that can lead to environmental damage and financial losses.
  3. Regulatory and Environmental Concerns: Midstream projects, especially pipelines, can face opposition due to environmental, land use, and indigenous rights concerns.
  4. Price Volatility: Fluctuations in oil and gas prices can influence the volume of commodities being transported and stored.


  1. Digital Transformation: Adoption of digital technologies for pipeline monitoring, predictive maintenance, and operational optimization.
  2. Energy Transition: As the energy mix evolves, there’s growing interest in transporting and storing renewable gases, such as hydrogen or bio-methane.
  3. Safety and Environmental Initiatives: Efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of midstream operations and enhance safety protocols.
  4. Diversification: Some midstream companies are diversifying into related areas, such as water handling and disposal, especially in regions with significant hydraulic fracturing activities.

Key Metrics

  • Pipeline Utilization: The volume of oil or gas transported compared to the pipeline’s total capacity.
  • Storage Utilization: The amount of storage space in use compared to total available capacity.
  • Operational Uptime: The percentage of time midstream facilities are operational without interruptions.
  • Safety Incidents: Tracking of spills, leaks, and other safety-related incidents.

Major Players

  • Pipeline Companies: Entities that own and operate large pipeline networks, such as Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, or TransCanada.
  • Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs): A common structure in the U.S. for midstream companies, offering tax benefits and focusing on distributing cash flows to investors. Examples include Enterprise Products Partners and Plains All American Pipeline.
  • Integrated Oil & Gas Companies: Major oil companies that have significant midstream operations as part of their broader portfolio.

Future Outlook

  • Infrastructure Expansion: As global energy demand grows, there will be continued need for expanded and updated midstream infrastructure.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Focus on reducing the environmental impact of midstream operations, including efforts to minimize methane emissions.
  • Integration with Renewables: Exploring synergies with renewable energy, such as using excess renewable electricity to power pipeline operations or transport renewable gases.

Top Companies

  • Enbridge
  • Enterprise Products
  • TC Energy
  • Kinder Morgan
  • Cheniere Energy
  • Williams Companies
  • Energy Transfer
  • MPLX
  • Pembina Pipeline