||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (October 2011)|
|American Petroleum Institute|
American Petroleum Institute logo
|Membership||400 companies in petroleum industry|
The American Petroleum Institute, commonly referred to as API, is the largest U.S trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. It claims to represent about 400 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry.
The association’s chief functions on behalf of the industry include advocacy and negotiation 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. The current CEO is Jack Gerard.
Standards and certification 
API distributes more than 200,000 copies of its publications each year. The publications, technical standards, and electronic and online products are designed, according to API itself, to help users improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their operations, comply with legislative and regulatory requirements, and safeguard health, ensure safety, and (perhaps most controversially) "protect the environment". Each publication is overseen by a committee of industry professionals, mostly member company engineers.
These technical standards tend to be uncontroversial. For example, API 610 is the specification for centrifugal pumps, API 675 is the specification for controlled volume positive displacement pumps, both packed-plunger and diaphragm types are included. Diaphragm pumps that use direct mechanical actuation are excluded. API 677 is the standard for gear units and API 682 governs mechanical seals.
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. Different specifications exist for compression-ignited engines.
API provides vessel codes and standards for the design and fabrication of pressure vessels that help safeguard the lives of people and environments all over the world.
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
- Measuring instruments
- Custom gauges
- Precision machining and grinding
- ISO 17025 registered calibration
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.
Educator intervention 
In addition to training industry workers and conducting seminars, workshops, and conferences on public policy, API develops and distributes materials and curricula for schoolchildren and educators. The association also maintains a website, Classroom Energy. These materials take a boldly pro-oil-industry view of various major controversies including oil spills, pipelines, global warming, and ocean acidity.
Public advocacy 
In the second half of 2008, as the US presidential election neared, API began airing a series of television ads where spokeswoman Brooke Alexander encourages people to visit their new website, EnergyTomorrow.org API does not use their own name in the ads but does call themselves "The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Industry."
In January 2012, the American Petroleum Institute launched the voter education campaign - Vote 4 Energy. The campaign claims that increased domestic energy production can create jobs, increase government revenue, and provide U.S. energy security. The Vote 4 Energy campaign does not promote any specific candidate or party, but rather provides voters with energy information to equip them to evaluate candidates on the federal and local levels and make decisions in favor of domestic energy on Election Day. The main components of the Vote 4 Energy campaign include the website - Vote4Energy.org - and social media communities, along with a series of advertisements and events around the country.
API has spent more than $3 million annually for each the last five years (2005 to 2009) on lobbying, and $3.6 million in 2009. In API’s latest quarterly “Lobbying Report” submitted to the US Senate, the organization reported that it had 16 lobbyists supporting it to lobby on various Congressional activities.
API conducts lobbying and organizes its member employees' attendance at public events to communicate the industry's position on various issues. A leaked summer 2009 memo from API President Jack Gerard asked its member companies to urge their employees to participate in planned protests (designed to appear independently organized) against the cap-and-trade legislation the House passed that same summer. "The objective of these rallies is to put a human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy and to aim a loud message at [20 different] states," including Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Gerard went on to assure recipients of the memo that API will cover all organizational costs and handling of logistics. In response to the memo, an API spokesman told media that participants will be there (at protests) because of their own concerns, and that API is just helping them assemble.
To help fight climate control legislation that has been approved by the US House, API supports the Energy Citizens group, which is holding public events. API encouraged energy company employees to attend one of its first Energy Citizen events held in Houston in August 2009, but turned away Texas residents who were not employed by the energy industry. Fast Company reported that some attendees had no idea of the purpose of the event, and called it “astroturfing at its finest.“
Similarly the mass-media ads aired in 2008 and 2011 were focused on claims that more jobs would be created by high-carbon "dirty oil" projects than by energy conservation which tends to result in more construction industry, renovation and smart home / smart grid jobs. This claim is hotly disputed especially by the Obama Administration itself.
- "Jack N. Gerard - President and Chief Executive Officer, American Petroleum Institute - Biography". Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "About API". American Petroleum Institute. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Johnson, Brad (August 15, 2011). "Rick Perry's First Stop In New Hampshire Is Funded By Big Oil". ThinkProgress. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Rick Perry stumps Manchester - next stop Iowa", New Hampshire Public Radio, 14 August 2011.
- "Engine Oil Guide". American Petroleum Institute. March 2010.
- "Lobbying: American Petroleum Institute". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Second Quarter Lobbying Form, 2009, Secretary of the Senate". Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Stone, Daniel (August 20, 2009). "The Browning of Grassroots". Newsweek. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- New York Times, "Oil industry backs protests of emissions bill," August 19, 2009
- McNulty, Sheila (August 20, 2009). "The big oil backlash?". Financial Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Schwartz, Ariel (August 21, 2009). "American Petroleum Institute Demonstrates How to Screw Up a Grassroots Event". Fast Company. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- Talley, Ian (August 11, 2009). "Lobby Groups to Use Town Hall Tactics to Oppose Climate Bill". The Wall Street Journal.
- API Website
- Center for Biological Diversity v Dept of the Interior DC Appellate Decision stopping offshore Alaska Oil Leases. April 17, 2009
- Sourcewatch profile
- Center for Responsive Politics profile
- Energy Citizens, API-sponsored organization
- Vote 4 Energy, API-sponsored voter education campaign
- API code list at Piping-Designer.com
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