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American Petroleum Institute

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American Petroleum Institute (API) represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its membership is involved in the production, refinement, and distribution of the US energy. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, they have developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

Although the focus is primarily domestic, in recent years their work has expanded to include a growing international dimension.

The association's mission is to promote safety across the industry globally and to influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry. API's main purpose on behalf of the industry include advocacy, negotiations and lobbying with government, legal, and regulatory agencies; as well as conducting or sponsoring research on topics ranging from economic analysis to toxicological testing. They collect, maintain, and disseminate statistics on all aspects of the oil and natural gas industry including supply and demand, imports/exports, drilling activities and costs, and well completions.


Convenes subject matter experts to establish, maintain, and distribute consensus standards that enhance operational safety, assure quality, consistency, interoperability, and reliability for the oil and gas industry. API maintains more than 700 standards and recommended practices. Many have been incorporated into state and federal regulations.


The oil and natural gas industry depends on equipment to produce, refine and distribute its products. The equipment used is some of the most technologically advanced available in the search for oil and gas and allows the industry to operate in an environmentally safe manner. Designed for manufacturers of production, drilling, and refinery equipment, API's Monogram Program verifies that manufacturers are operating in compliance with industry standards. API provides quality, environmental, and occupational health and safety management systems certification through APIQR. This service is accredited by the ANAB (ANSI National Accreditation Board) for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

API also certifies inspectors of industry equipment through our Individual Certification Programs, designed to recognize working professionals who are knowledgeable of industry inspection codes and are performing their jobs in accordance with those codes. Through our Witnessing Programs, API provides knowledgeable and experienced witnesses to observe critical material and equipment testing and verification. API’s Training Provider Certification Program provides third-party certification for a variety of oil and gas industry training courses, further ensuring that any training provided meets industry needs.

In helping to improve industry safety, API has a way for service station owners to make sure their contractors have been trained to industry safety standards. API WorkSafe™ is a service station contractor safety qualification program that identifies personnel who have received training for and passed on-line standardized exams covering the latest service station industry safety practices.

For consumers, API provides the API’s Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS). It is a voluntary licensing and certification program that authorizes engine oil marketers who meet specified requirements to use the API Engine Oil Quality Marks. These emblems go directly on each container of oil that retains the certification for and is there to help consumers identify quality engine oils for their gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.


API organizes seminars, workshops, conferences and symposia on public policy issues. API University provides training to assist in meeting regulatory requirements and industry standards.



The American Petroleum Institute traces its beginning to World War I, when Congress and the domestic natural gas and oil industry worked together to help the war effort.

At the time, the industry included the companies created in 1911 after the court-imposed dissolution of Standard Oil and the "independents", companies that had been "independent" of Standard Oil. The industry had no experience working together, but agreed to work with the government to ensure vital petroleum supplies were rapidly and efficiently deployed to armed forces.

The National Petroleum War Service Committee, which oversaw this effort, was initially formed under the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and subsequently as a quasi-governmental body.

After the war, momentum began to build to form a national association that could represent the entire industry. The industry’s efforts to supply fuel during World War I not only highlighted the importance of the industry to the country, but also its obligation to the public, as the original charter demonstrates.

The American Petroleum Institute was established on March 20, 1919 to:

  • afford a means of cooperation with the government in all matters of national concern
  • foster foreign and domestic trade in American petroleum products
  • promote in general the interests of the petroleum industry in all its branches
  • promote the mutual improvement of its members and the study of the arts and sciences connected with the natural gas and oil industry

Modern origins

In late 1969, API moved its offices to Washington, D.C. where they remain today.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s membership includes large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. In one generation, the United States has gone from steadily growing energy dependency to a nation that’s largely in control of its energy destiny. Natural gas and oil now drive the U.S. and world economies, and energy analysts project they will continue in that leading role for decades to come.

Today, growth and decreased emissions have occurred simultaneously. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have plunged to their lowest level in a generation, while CO2 emissions around the globe have risen 50 percent since 1990.


See also

American Petroleum Institute (API) standards