API President & CEO, Jack Gerard
Most in the energy business know the American Petroleum Institute as a Washington DC-based oil and natural gas industry lobby, but some may be surprised to learn the organization’s first initiatives were the creation of an authoritative statistics program and an industry standardization drive.
The representative of an industry that is often portrayed as being simultaneously conservative and yet technologically innovative has been moving quickly into twenty-first century communications, leveraging social media and a variety of internet tools in efforts to build a conversation around its key areas of interest. Breaking Energy profiled API’s launch of Vote4Energy, an effort intended to put energy voters at the heart of the 2012 election cycle, here.
API was founded in 1919 in New York City and transparency was part of the group’s original remit. The Institute’s first act was to generate a weekly US crude oil production report that was shared with the government and press. Secondly, API sought to address the lack of uniformity regarding pipe sizes, threads and coupling that prevented the industry from pooling its oil field equipment in an effort to speed up drilling during World War I.
Over the years, the institute has undergone significant change – moving to Washington DC in 1969 to more effectively focus its lobbying efforts – but industry standardization and best practices remain some of its core functions. This was the topic discussed on March 7th in New York’s capital city of Albany, where API hosted a Hydraulic Fracturing Best Practices Workshop – one of several conducted across the country.
API’s existing hydraulic fracturing guidance dates back to 2009 with document “HF1” that covers well construction and integrity. HF2 covers water management, HF3 surface impacts, Standard 65-2 deals with isolating flow zones during well construction and Recommended Practice 51-R addresses environmental protection both onshore and offshore.
The organization is currently formulating additional hydraulic fracturing guidance, and according to API executive David Miller, the trade group remains committed to transparency throughout the process. HF4 is dedicated to “Community Engagement,” and anyone can comment as part of the standard-creation process. All comments are reportedly considered and API will follow-up without regard to the comment’s outcome – i.e. whether or not it is incorporated into the new standard.
On the social media engagement front, the public can now connect with API via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn You Tube, Flickr, RSS feeds and even a mobile phone app.