Business Trends: The downstream dilemma: Past, present and future of downstream energy

The oil industry’s interest in the downstream segment of the business has known ups and downs. This article reviews the past, present and projected future of the downstream sector and its companies. The past: Growing up vertical At the start of the modern history of the industry, the “vertically integrated” model—in which oil companies participate in all segments of the industry, from the wellhead to the end customer—reigned supreme. In the U.S., John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co., founded in 1870, came to dominate the oil industry through acquiring crude oil wells upstream from its refineries, along with transportation systems and marketing outlets further downstream. In Europe, mean

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