Oil and gas production and oil refining sector

About the industry

As one of the world’s primary fuel sources, the oil and gas industry has shaped the global economy for decades. The industry has helped transform mobility, transport, electricity provision, heating, cooling, and cooking. In addition to powering our economies, oil and gas is the base ingredient in thousands of manufactured products that businesses and consumers use every day.

In 2020, the oil industry alone accounted for 3 per cent of global domestic product and trade in crude oil valued at 640 billion USD, making it one of the world’s most traded commodities. The industry is highly capital-intensive, attracting more than 511 billion USD in investments in 2020.

In 2019, the oil and gas industry directly employed 11.9 million people. However, the impact on employment is expected to be much higher than this through the creation of indirect and induced employment and business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.


While the industry makes a large contribution to the global economy, the industry has come under additional scrutiny because of concerns about the changing climate. Many companies in the industry face questions regarding the transition to clean energy, the nature of their operations and new business models. This is combined with concerns about working conditions and violations of fundamental principles and rights at work in oil and gas production in some countries, and a growing emphasis on addressing challenges and opportunities for a just transition.

Current Focus

The ILO will convene the Technical meeting on the future of work in the oil and gas industry from 28 November until 2 December 2022 to discuss opportunities and challenges for a just transition to a future of work that contributes to sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions with the aim of adopting conclusions, including recommendations for future actions.