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What Is the Oil Industry?

A pumpjack oil well.
A "vertically integrated" oil company operates drilling and refining equipment.
Gas stations are one side of the oil industry's retail business.
Oil may be transported in large tanker trucks.
Vertically integrated oil companies may own or lease their own oil tankers.
Crude oil is separated into products like gasoline and kerosene in cracking towers at oil refineries.
A drill rig is used to drill for oil.
Oil is commonly transported through elaborate systems of pipelines.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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The oil industry is a conglomeration of companies, businesses, and individuals who search for, transport, refine, distribute, advertise for, or otherwise deal with oil and associated products. The process of finding and eventually delivering oil to consumers is complicated and involves several steps, so the oil industry is a significantly large one that includes many people throughout the world. Oil drilling is one of the first stages in the oil development process, and distribution centers such as retail stores or gas stations are one of the last stages; all jobs, people, and processes in between are also a major component of the oil industry.

Advertisers and marketing agencies are also a major component of the oil industry. They are responsible for getting the idea of oil consumption to consumers who will ultimately buy the products. Advertisers and marketing agencies may also work directly with oil companies to design and implement a marketing strategy as well as a company identity. Anything from logo development to press release distribution falls under the category of advertising and marketing, but within the oil industry.

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Retail establishments such as auto parts stores, department stores, gas stations, and more also fall within the oil industry because they deal with products produced by the industry. From motor oil to some cosmetics, retail stores carry countless products developed and distributed by oil companies. Some may even argue that the plastics industry falls within the realm of the oil industry because plastics are petroleum-based. The industry is a complex one that extends into other major industries that use oil to make their own products.

Transportation services also fall within the industry of oil. Tankers can transport large amounts of oil by boat; large trucks can transport it on the road; even airplanes and trains can transport oil to refineries or to retail establishments. Some companies specialize in building pipelines that can transport oil over long distances, making the process of moving oil from drilling locations to refineries quicker and more efficient.

Oil drilling companies are one of the first cogs in the machine of the oil industry. These companies use high-tech drilling techniques to find and extract oil from the earth. They are responsible for the safe and clean extraction of the oil as well as transporting it to refineries, where the oil is changed into usable consumer products. Drilling companies may build complex drilling rigs in the ocean or drilling machines on land as well.

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