Integripedia Topic

Explore this topic

One of the three major sectors of the oil and gas business, Midstream refers to the transportation and storage of crude oil and natural gas. After production, petroleum products can be transferred by pipeline, rail, truck, oil tanker or barge for further refining and/or marketing. When not being transported, these products are temporarily held in storage tanks or floating storage vessels. A facility consisting of many storage tanks and transportation pipelines is referred to as a terminal. The other two major sectors of the oil and gas business are Upstream (exploration and production) and Downstream (refining and marketing).


Crude-by-Rail is the act of transporting crude oil from one location to another by the use of railroads. Crude-by-rail is often used as an alternative to other methods of transportation like pipelines or oil tankers. Railways are able to carry tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil per day. The U.S. crude-by-rail infrastructure stretches across the entire United States, however it is more concentrated in the eastern half of the country.

Transporting flammable crude oil over the rails can be dangerous for both communities and the environment. For this reason the crude-by-rail industry is heavily regulated. Regulations govern train speeds, equipment materials, inspection intervals, and more. In the U.S., many regulations affecting the crude-by-rail industry are issued by Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Association (PHMSA).

There are also strict construction standards in place when it comes to the construction of railcars transporting crude oil. Of course, even with these intensive safety standards in place accidents still happen. This is why it’s essential that crude-by-rail operators follow applicable regulations, stay versed on all safety procedures and best practices, and perform timely and proper inspections.

Topic Tools

Share this Topic

Contribute to Definition

We welcome updates to this Integripedia definition from the Inspectioneering community. Click the link below to submit any recommended changes for Inspectioneering's team of editors to review.

Contribute to Definition
Articles about Midstream
    Videos related to Midstream
    • Published on January 3, 2018

      The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a new 11-minute safety video describing the events leading up to the October 21, 2016 toxic chemical release at the MGPI Processing plant in Atchison, Kansas. The video, titled "Mixed Connection,...

    • Sponsored Video Published on August 18, 2015

      30-minute interview on the evolution of reliability and its role within the energy and process industries with Ryan Sitton, Texas Railroad Commissioner.

      Events related to Midstream
      • Jan 21 - Oct 21 2021
        Location: Online Webinar Series
        Hosted By: IPEIA
        Dates: January 21, 2021 - October 21, 2021
        Online Events
        News related to Midstream

          Inspectioneering Journal

          Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

          Company Directory

          Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

          Talent Solutions

          Discover job opportunities that match your skillset.

          Case Studies

          Learn from the experience of others in the industry.


          Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

          Industry News

          Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.


          Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

          Expert Interviews

          Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

          Event Calendar

          Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.


          Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.


          Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.


          Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.