Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Oil and Gas Fundamentals

Introduction to the Downstream Petroleum Industry

Course Code: N618
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
2 days
4 sessions


This course has been designed for downstream (refining, transportation, and marketing) sector employees, suppliers, government regulators, industrial petroleum buyers, or others interested in gaining a broad understanding of the refining, supply, and marketing of petroleum products. The course provides a North American perspective on this industry describing its infrastructure, processes, logistics, regulatory aspects, and future challenges.


"This course gives a very comprehensive overview of the downstream petroleum sector. It is especially useful to gain an understanding of how it all fits together when it comes to refining, distribution and retail."

Duration and Training Method

This is a classroom or virtual classroom course comprising lectures, case studies, and practical exercises.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Develop a broad understanding of the key elements of refining: processes, infrastructure and issues.
  2. Explain petroleum basics: types, uses, and characteristics.
  3. Understand the principles of petroleum supply: how production is managed to meet market demands.
  4. Understand how petroleum products are distributed across the continent.
  5. Characterize the issues and challenges surrounding petroleum products, alternative fuels and engine technologies, and the environment.
  6. Develop an understanding of the key players and infrastructure involved in petroleum marketing.
  7. Examine and evaluate petroleum pump prices using the “Pump Price Margin Model” and through historical analysis of price data.
  8. Better understand issues pertaining to the downstream petroleum sector and the public, particularly in regards to pricing and price regulation.
  9. Develop a holistic understanding of the entire downstream petroleum industry.

Key topics:

  1. Introduction: What is “Downstream”?
  2. Crude Overview
  3. Refining Basics: Processes, Infrastructure and Issues
  4. Petroleum Basics: Types, Uses, and Characteristics
  5. Supply: Managing Production to Meet Demand
  6. Distribution: Moving Petroleum across the Continent
  7. Petroleum Products and the Environment: Issues and Challenges
  8. Marketing Overview: The Players and Infrastructure
  9. Understanding Pump Prices - The Pump Price Margin Model
  10. The Downstream Sector and the Public: Prices and Regulation
  11. Understanding Pump Prices - Historical and Comparative Views
  12. The Future of the Downstream Petroleum Industry

A wide range of participants have found the understanding gained to be invaluable: downstream industry employees; upstream producers; suppliers to the downstream sector; government regulators; industrial petroleum buyers; and anyone else who requires a broad understanding of the refining, supply, and marketing of petroleum products.

CEU: 1.6 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 16 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.