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   Issue 5/6, Winter 2005/Spring 2006

Marketing and Distribution

Overview     Resources on Marketing    
Resources on Distribution    
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While refining is a complex process, the goal is straightforward: to take crude oil, which is virtually unusable in its natural state, and transform it into the wide variety of petroleum products used for a variety of purposes such as heating homes, fueling vehicles and running industry. After the oil processing is completed, downstream activity involves the commercial side of getting the oil products to the market for distribution and consumer use. Most of the major companies involved in the midstream activity of transportation and storage are also the key players in refining, marketing and distribution activities.

After the oil has left the tanker, it enters a web maze of pipes, tubes, towers, and tanks, which is a refinery. Most refineries run twenty-four hours a day. Crude oil is initially stored for a period of time to allow water in the oil to separate out and be drawn off prior to refining.

Marketing is the wholesale and retail distribution of refined petroleum products to business, industry, government and public consumers. The price paid by consumers is intricately linked to the fact that oil is the major commodity of international trade. In other words, the oil industry is influenced by economic and political conditions. Other factors influencing price are rig utilization rates and oil contracts.

Generally crude oil and petroleum products flow to the markets that provide the highest value to the supplier, which usually means the nearest market first because of lowest transportation cost and higher net revenue for the supplier. In practice, however, the trade flow may not follow this pattern due to other factors that may affect the flow, such as refining configurations, product demand mix, and product quality specifications. There are also differences in U.S. regional trade that are the result of various conditions, such as the uneven distribution of both production and refining across the United States.

Gasoline service stations handle the bulk of these sales and oil companies sell their petroleum products directly to factories, power plants, and transportation-related industries. The petroleum industry is one of the largest private employers in the U.S. and only a few largest oil firms handle about half of petroleum produced, refined and sold in the U.S.

BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Issue 5/6: Winter 2005/Spring 2006
Updated July 2013

The Oil & Gas Industry

Table of Contents

Cartels & Organizations
Transportation & Storage
Marketing & Distribution
Natural Gas Industry Trends
Alternative Energy Sources
Company Research
Statistical Sources
News & Analysis
Electronic Resources & Catalog Searches

Drilling Rig Near Sable Island
Image (above): Photograph of
drilling rig near Sable Island.
Courtesy of the Maritimes Region of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.

There are about 200,000 gasoline service stations, most independently owned and operated. In other countries, ownership varies. For example, in Canada it is largely owned by private companies. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is the dominant player for its member countries.1

Selected Resources on Marketing

Inkpen, Andrew and Michael H. Moffett. The Global Oil & Gas Industry: Management, Strategy & Finance. Tulsa, Okla. : PennWell, c2011.
LC Call Number: HD62.4 .I515 2011
LC Catalog Record: 2011006878
Table of Contents

Journal of Petroleum Marketing. Official Magazine of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. Gainesville, FL: Naylor Publications. volume 4, 1991 - present. Monthly.
LC Call Number: HD9561.J65
LC Catalog Record: 91643984

Journal provides articles and news on petroleum marketing, industry trends, industry policies and legislation, latest information and news in petroleum marketing technology, information on marketing seminars, and other industry related events.

Noreng, Oysten. Crude Power: Politics and the Oil Market. I.B. Taurus. c2002. 254 p.
LC Call Number: HD9560.5.N67
LC Catalog Record: 2003266180
Table of Contents
Publisher Description
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

An analysis of both the world's dependency on Middle Eastern oil and of the very dangerous way politics and economics play themselves out in the oil game. Has statistical tables including items on oil prices 1970-2000, Middle east oil exports 1970-2000, oil reserves, and Gulf oil supplies. Annotation by Books In Print.

Petroleum Marketing Annual. . U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Office of Oil and Gas. Washington, D.C. Annual. [1985?] - 2009.
LC Call number: HD9561.P424
LC Catalog Record: 87654128
Issues for 1995 to 2009 available only online in PDF format.

Annual publication that provides information and statistical data on a variety of crude oils and refined petroleum products, presenting statistics on crude oil costs and refined petroleum product sales for use by industry, government, private sector analysts, educational institutions, and consumers.
As a result of the FY 2011 funding level provided to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the following surveys and publications have been suspended: EIA-782B, "Resellers'/Retailers' Monthly Petroleum Product Sales Report;" EIA-863, "Petroleum Product Sales Identification Survey;" and Petroleum Marketing Annual.

Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) External Link

The PMAA is a federation of 48 state and regional trade associations representing approximately 8,000 independent petroleum marketers nationwide. Information from their publications PMAA Journal and PMAA Weekly Review is available but some content is only available to members.

Petroleum Marketing Monthly (PMM) . U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Washington, D.C. Monthly. Available online from the issuing agency from 1999 forward.
LC Call Number: Current Issues Only
LC Catalog Record: 87008441

Provides statistics on crude oil costs and refined petroleum products sale for use by industry, government, private sector, educational institutions, and consumers. Data on crude oil include domestic first purchase price, the f.o.b and landed cost of imported crude oil, and the refiners' acquisition cost of crude oil. Refined petroleum product sales data include motor gasoline, distillates, residuals, aviation fuels, kerosene, and propane.

Privatization and Deregulation in the Gulf Energy Sector. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research.
c1999. 156 p.
LC Call Number: HD9502.P35P75
LC Catalog Record: 99901769
Table of Contents
Publisher Description
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

Papers ... presented at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), at the Third Annual Energy Conference entitled Privatization and deregulation in the Gulf Energy Sector, held in Abu Dhabi, 25-26 October 1997.

Strategic Positioning in the Oil Industry: Trends and Options, edited by Paul Stevens. I.B. Taurus. Publisher.
1998. 146 p.
LC Call Number: HD9560.5.S787
LC Catalog Record: 2002512920
Publisher Description
Table of Contents
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information

A selection of papers presented to the Second Energy Conference held by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, October 26-27, 1996. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Upton, Howard and Robert N. Renkes, ed. Petroleum Equipment Lexicon : Terms Used in Petroleum Marketing Operations Tulsa, Okla. : Petroleum Equipment Institute, c1995.
LC Call Number: TN865 .U68 1995
LC Catalog Record: 96142264

World Oil Trade: An Annual Analysis and Statistical Review of International Oil Movements. Blackwell Publishing Co., Frequency varies: Annual or Semi-Annual. [1979?] to present.
LC Call Number: HD9560.1.W67
LC Catalog Record: 99111880

A matrix of international oil movements (imports/exports) between countries.

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Selected Resources on Distribution

Alternative Fuels Data Center - Natural Gas Production & Distribution

The web site includes basic information, laws/incentives, station information as well as some information on natural gas vehicles. There are also maps/data, case studies, and other publications.

Distribution of Natural Gas: The Final Step in the Transmission Process. U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. [PDF format: 210 KB / 14 p.]

This report analyzes the role of local distribution companies (LDCs) and transmission pipelines in delivering natural gas supplies to ensure customers, focusing upon the years 1996 through 2006. It also examines the changing dynamics of natural gas end-use markets, especially the trend toward large-volume users such as electric power generation plants and large industrial users receiving greater portions of their supplies from mainline natural gas transmission pipeline companies rather than the traditional LDC.

Oil and Geopolitics in the Caspian Sea Region. edited by Michael P. Croissant and Bulent Aras, Tulsa, OK : PennWell Pub. Co., Annual. 1994 to the present.
LC Call Number: HD9576.C372 O36
LC Catalog Record: 99015398

Divergent viewpoints and conflicting assessments from perspectives of political science, international relations, geography, journalism, and other fields, reflect the lack of resolve on the ground as the region is still being fought over by global oil companies and their client governments. Synopsis by Books News, Inc.

Distribution and Production of Oil and Gas Wells by State. U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Online from 1990 forward.

Includes statistics on number of oil and gas wells, annual production, and rate per well.

International Oil and Gas Ventures: A Business Perspective, edited by George E. Kronman, Don B. Felio, and Thomas E. O'Connor ; with the assistance of Mindy S. Kronman. Tulsa, OK : Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2000. 446 p.
LC Call Number: HD9560.5.I557
LC Catalog Record: 00057622

Contributors from various aspects of the international oil exploration and production (E & P) business examine business and management aspects of oil ventures. Themes include key components of E & P in the global marketplace, international E & P strategic issues, partnerships and alliances, and international operations. Annotation by Book News, Inc.

Oil and Gas Wholesale Distribution. External Link

A directory of oil and gas industry distribution companies and suppliers. Sponsored links appear at the head of the page.

Prescott, C.N. "New Design Uses Ambient Pressure Insulated LNG Pipeline Offshore." Oil and Gas Journal. Volume 103, Issue 28, July 25, 2005. pp. 50-58.
Publisher's Link External Link

Based on a presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference, May 2-5, 2005, in Houston, Texas, this article describes a new pipeline design intended to reduce pipeline costs and maintenance while improving product reliability.

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Library of Congress Catalog Searches

Additional works on the marketing and distribution of oil and gas in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in accessing the catalog. Please see the individual sections of this guide for catalog searches relating to those topics. For assistance in locating the many other subject headings which relate to this subject, please consult a reference librarian.

 1. World Book. 2003. pp. 345-346.

Last Updated: 10/27/2015

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