Guide to researching the oil and gas industry

This guide will help "fuel" your research
This guide will help “fuel” your research


The purpose of this guide is to point business researchers to some key resources when researching the oil and gas industry.  The guide lists several  of the key and highly recommended resources when analyzing the industry and researching the companies in the industry.  I’ve listed the databases and resources below, with recommendations on how to find the best information in the quickest fashion.  This guide will save you time and help you find the best information available for this industry.

Plunkett Research

  • Plunkett Research has a section for Energy & Utilities, where you can find Market Research and Statistics for the overall market.  This would be a good resource to look at to get a general overview and basic understanding of the industry.


  • IbisWorld is a good place to get started for a good overview of the industry.  A search for oil yields several relevant reports.    IbisWorld also has, under the Business Environment section, a number of economic reports that could be very useful.

First Research

  • First Research provides industry profiles on over 600 industry segments covering the competitive landscape, products, operations, technology finance, regulation, and more.
  • Simply search for “oil” to get some excellent reports.

Passport GMID

  • Passport GMID has some excellent reports about petroleum extraction and refining that addresses industry growth, competitive environment, buyers, suppliers, bargaining power, and more.
  • Use the Industry –> Industrial browse tab to browse by Energy & Utilities industries, then narrow to your specific industries.
  • Also, use the Search feature (top left) to search for “oil” or “petroleum” to retrieve global production and consumption statistics and data.
  • Passport GMID also offers essential macroeconomic information that can be really useful in performing a PEST analysis.  This video shows you how to find information from GMID that addresses the broad Political, Economic, Social, and Technological trends affecting industries.  This video shows you how to find information from Passport GMID for your PEST analysis.



  • OneSource is another fantastic resource for company and industry information.
  • It has company news,  financials, SWOT analyses, ratio comparisons, peer analysis, stock reports and more.
  • To find information on the , search for “oil” and look for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction, Refineries, and other related industries.   I prefer the Freedonia Reports when looking at the U.S. industry, and the BMI reports when looking at international markets.
  • For company info, simply search for you company.

S&P Net Advantage

  • S&P NetAdvantage  is a key tool to use when researching this industry.
  • S&P NetAdvantage has industry reports for both “Oil & Gas Production” and “Natural Gas Distribution” which are updated every six months.
  • The industry reports can be very useful in performing a PEST analysis, particularly when addressing the “economic” area.   To find these reports, click on the Industry Tab in NetAvantage, then select the industry in the drop-down menu.  Be sure to look for the “downloadable company data” link on the left side of the page as well which will give you information about the companies mentioned in the reports.
  • It has stock reports and company financials for major companies.
  • The Compustat Excel Analytics are great when analyzing companies.  This video shows you how to find them.

Mergent Online

Hoover’s Online

Business Source Complete

Business Source Complete has a lot of useful information that can take your research to the next level. I’ve listed here last not because it is the least important, but because I would us articles and reports from Business Source Complete to fill in the gaps of your research.  You will find Industry Profiles (search for something like “oil industry”), and Trade Publications that can enhance the broad coverage of other industry reports.


LexisNexis Academic

  • LexisNexis is a great source for company or industry news, company profiles, legal cases, financials, family trees, accounting publications, law journals, and more.
  • This is an especially good resource when looking for legal issues facing companies in the industry.

 SEC Filings

The 10-k (annual SEC filings) for individual companies contain financial information for companies, as well as textual descriptions of business strategies, risk factors, competition, and more.  Look in Part 1, Item 1 and Item 1A for this information in a company’s 10-K report.  As an example, take a look at the 10-K for Chevron Corporation and look at the Business and Risk Factors sections.  You will notice that Chevron uses some of the same language found in reports like IBISWorld and others.  You might also look at similar 10-K’s for other companies in the industry.

Citing in APA

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