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In energy companies, relating to exploration and production operations. For example, an oil company's operations related to discovering new oil reserves and the pumping of new oil from the ground are considered upstream. Upstream operations may also include initial operations like political risk analysis. Some companies provide upstream operations exclusively, but most are integrated, providing both upstream and downstream operations.
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Of or relating to earnings or operations at a firm that are near or at the initial stages of producing a good or service. For example, exploration and production are upstream operations for a large integrated oil company. Compare downstream.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.