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About API

Who We Are

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 more than 600 members include 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. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

Although our focus is primarily domestic, in recent years our work has expanded to include a growing international dimension, and today API is recognized around the world for its broad range of programs:


API’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.


We speak for the oil and natural gas industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media. We negotiate with regulatory agencies, represent the industry in legal proceedings, participate in coalitions and work in partnership with other associations to achieve our members’ public policy goals.

Research & Statistics

API conducts or sponsors research ranging from economic analyses to toxicological testing. And we collect, maintain and publish statistics and data on all aspects of U.S. industry operations, including supply and demand for various products, imports and exports, drilling activities and costs, and well completions. This data provides timely indicators of industry trends. API’s Weekly Statistical Bulletin is the most recognized publication, widely reported by the media.


For more than 90 years, API has led the development of petroleum, natural gas and petrochemical equipment and operating standards. These represent the industry’s collective wisdom on everything from drill bits to environmental protection and embrace proven, sound engineering and operating practices and safe, interchangeable equipment and materials. API maintains more than 700 standards and recommended practices. Many have been incorporated into state and federal regulations and they are also the most widely cited standards by the international regulatory community.


Each day, 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, the API Monogram Program verifies that manufacturers are operating in compliance with industry standards. API also 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. Let APIQR’s industry expertise certify your organization to API Spec Q1, OHS 18001.

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.

Events & Training

API organizes seminars, workshops, conferences and symposia on public policy issues. Through API University, we provide training materials to help people in the oil and natural gas business meet regulatory requirements and industry standards.


We are the problem-solvers who tackle the world’s greatest energy challenges—meeting growing demand, fueling economic growth and creating a better tomorrow.

To fulfill this responsibility, our members uphold the following principles:

  1. Advance safe and responsible U.S. petroleum and natural gas production, transportation, refining, marketing and use, and lead the world in meeting the growing demand for affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy.
  2. Continually reduce environmental impacts and improve the health and safety of our employees, operations and communities.
  3. Commit to enhance the integrity of operations across the industry by applying API’s standards, implementing workforce training programs, and participating in performance initiatives. 
  4. Promote free markets and free trade as the cornerstone of our industry’s efforts to compete and innovate to address current and future energy needs.
  5. Support risk-based, cost-effective government regulation and other policies that address critical challenges for industry and set industry-wide standards which promote U.S. innovation, investment and international competitiveness.
  6. Commit to hiring, training and developing a highly skilled and diverse workforce. 

  7. To advance our members’ goals, API:

  8. Commits to be transparent and accountable to members, customers and employees regarding how decisions are made, priorities are set and performance is assessed. 
  9. Emphasizes agility and responsiveness in meeting near-term challenges, while pursuing long-term value-creation and competitiveness for our industry, supported by science, data and analysis.
  10. Maintains a safe, inclusive work environment that is enriched by diversity and values open communication, hard work, respect and adherence to the highest ethical standards.
  11. Partners with other organizations where appropriate to leverage individual strengths and drive the best outcomes for the natural gas and oil industry.

Our Origins

The American Petroleum Institute traces its beginning to World War I, when Congress and the domestic oil and natural gas 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."  These were companies that had been "independent" of Standard Oil.  They had no experience working together, but they agreed to work with the government to ensure that vital petroleum supplies were rapidly and efficiently deployed to the 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 in the postwar years.  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 shows.

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
  • to foster foreign and domestic trade in American petroleum products
  • to promote in general the interests of the petroleum industry in all its branches
  • to promote the mutual improvement of its members and the study of the arts and sciences connected with the oil and natural gas industry.

API offices were established in New York City, and the organization focused its efforts in several specific areas.


We speak for the oil and natural gas industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media. We negotiate with regulatory agencies, represent the industry in legal proceedings, participate in coalitions and work in partnership with other associations to achieve our members’ public policy goals.


The first effort was to develop an authoritative program of collecting industry statistics.  As early as 1920, API began to issue weekly statistics, beginning first with crude oil production.  The report, which was shared with both the government and the press, was later expanded to include crude oil and product stocks, refinery runs and other data.

API statistics remain one of the most credible sources of industry data and they are used worldwide.


The second effort was the standardization of oil field equipment.  During World War I, drilling delays resulted from shortages of equipment at the drill site, and the industry attempted to overcome that problem by pooling equipment.  The program reportedly failed because there was no uniformity of pipe sizes, threads and coupling.  Thus, the new association took up the challenge of developing industry-wide standards and the first standards were published in 1924.

Today, API maintains nearly 700 standards and recommended practices covering all segments of the oil and gas industry to promote the use of safe, interchangeable equipment and proven and sound engineering practices.


The third major area of activity was taxation.  Initially the efforts included working with the Treasury Department and congressional committees to develop an orderly, logical and easily administered way to tax oil assets.  In the 1930s, these efforts extended to working state governments.  Both the federal and state governments tax highways fuels to fund the building of roads, and the industry supported tougher laws against tax evasion.

This led to the formation of the API state petroleum council network. API now has offices in 21 state capitals and represents members in 33 states, all east of the Rocky Mountains.


In late 1969, API made the decision to move its offices to Washington, DC where we remain today.  With more than 625 corporate members, we are one of the country's largest national trade associations, and the only one that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.

[This short history of API is based on The Story of the American Petroleum Institute, by Leonard M. Fanning, published in 1959, and The American Petroleum Institute: An Informal History (1919 – 1987) by Stephen P. Potter, published by API in 1990]