A business entity that engages in the exploration, production, refinement and distribution of oil and gas. Given the high entry costs relating to many oil and gas industry operations, many of the world's largest oil and gas companies, like Chevron Corporation and Exxon Mobile, are integrated. Typically, integrated companies divide their various operations into categories: upstream, which includes all exploration and production endeavors, and downstream, which is confined to refinement and marketing activities.
Because integrated oil and gas companies are involved in so many facets of the fossil fuel industry, often their business bottom lines can be counterintuitive. For example, during times of rising crude prices, an integrated oil and gas company may actually have lower profit margins than a non-integrated rival as a result of having greater downstream than upstream capability, or vice-versa.