The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. It claims to represent nearly 600 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry.
The association describes its mission as to promote safety across the industry globally and influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry. API's chief functions on behalf of the industry include advocacy, negotiation and lobbying with governmental, legal, and regulatory agencies; research into economic, toxicological, and environmental effects; establishment and certification of industry standards; and education outreach. API both funds and conducts research related to many aspects of the petroleum industry.
Although some oil was produced commercially before 1859 as a byproduct from salt brine wells, the American oil industry started on a major scale with the discovery of oil at the Drake Well in western Pennsylvania in 1859.
The American Petroleum Institute was founded on 20 March 1919 and based in New York City.
In 1959, at a symposium organized by the American Petroleum Institute and the Columbia Graduate School of Business for the centennial of the American oil industry, the physicist Edward Teller warned then of the danger of global climate change. Edward Teller explained that carbon dioxide "in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect" and that burning more fossil fuels could "melt the icecap and submerge New York".
In 1969, the API decided to move its offices to Washington, DC.
API Standards Committees are made up of subcommittees and task groups that works and maintain these standards. The committees and subcommittees are:
Committee on Standardization of Oilfield Equipment & Materials (CSOEM)
SC2- Subcommittee on Offshore Structures
SC5- Subcommittee on Tubular Goods
SC6- Subcommittee on Valves & Wellhead Equipment
SC8- Subcommittee on Drilling Structures & Equipment
SC10- Subcommittee on Well Cements
SC11- Subcommittee on Field Operating Equipment
SC13- Subcommittee on Drill Completion & Fracturing Fluids
SC15- Subcommittee on Fiberglass & Plastic Tubulars
SC16- Subcommittee on Drilling Well Control Equipment
SC17- Subcommittee on Subsea Production Equipment
SC18- Subcommittee on Quality
SC19- Subcommittee on Completion Equipment
SC20- Subcommittee on Supply Chain Management
SC21- Subcommittee on Materials
Committee on Refinery Equipment (CRE)
SCAST - Subcommittee on Aboveground Storage Tanks
SCCM - Subcommittee on Corrosion & Materials
SCHTE - Subcommittee on Heat Transfer Equipment
SCIMI - Subcommittee on Inspection and Mechanical Integrity
SCOPV - Subcommittee on Piping & Valves
SCPRS - Subcommittee on Pressure-Relieving Systems
SOEE - Subcommittee on Electrical Equipment
SOICS - Subcommittee on Instruments & Control Systems
SOME - Subcommittee on Mechanical Equipment
Pipeline Standards Committees
Safety and Fire Protection Committee (SFPS)
API Committee on Petroleum Measurement (COPM)
Committee on Evaporation Loss Estimation
Committee on Gas Fluids Measurement
Committee on Liquid Measurement
Committee on Measurement Accountability
Committee on Measurement Quality
Committee on Production Measurement & Allocation
Committee on Measurement Education & Training
API also defines the industry standard for the energy conservation of motor oil. API SN is the latest specification to which motor oils intended for spark-ignited engines should adhere since 2010. It supersedes API SM.
API also defines and drafts standards for measurement for manufactured products such as:
Precision thread gauges
Plain plug and ring gauges
Thread measuring systems
Metrology and industrial supplies
Precision machining and grinding
ISO 17025 registered calibration
API RP 500 and RP 505 classify the locations for electrical equipment in hazardous areas.
API has entered petroleum industry nomenclature in a number of areas:
API gravity, a measure of the density of petroleum.
API number, a unique identifier applied to each petroleum exploration or production well drilled in the United States.
API unit, a standard measure of natural gamma radiation measured in a borehole.
"Non-API", an item (e.g., tubular connector) not conforming to API standards
"Non-API", (informal) slang term for anything out of the norm.