With a combined history approaching 150 years, IOGP and the American Petroleum Institute (API) have guided the oil and gas industry through decades of challenges: military conflicts, embargoes, political crises, and advancements in safety and environmental protection. And through these challenges, the industry has continued to meet the world’s energy demand.
Just over a year ago, on June 6, 2019, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise existing areas of collaboration and identify and capitalise on new synergies for the challenges ahead.
API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as pipeline; exploration and production; refining; marketing; and service and supply firms. This complements IOGP’s global remit. IOGP member companies produce 40% of the world’s oil and gas.
The MOU covers a wide range of world-class practices topics vital to the industry’s continued growth. These include operational efficiency and excellence; health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE); and sustainability. The MOU has also fostered additional areas of cooperation on topics such as standards, communications, trade, cybersecurity, and safety management systems. This partnership is enhancing the industry’s positive contribution to society on both a regional and global basis.
At the signing in 2019, API’s Debra Phillips, Senior Vice President of Global Industry Services, said, “Partnering with IOGP will add value to our industry and allow us to make even greater progress in furthering safety, environmental protection and sustainability across global industry operations.”
Gordon Ballard, IOGP’s Executive Director, recalled how the two industry bodies had long been working together, particularly in standards and standardisation. With the MOU, he said, “We are entering a new level of partnership that will further the progress and positive awareness of our industry, not only in the US, but also globally.”
So, what have the two organisations advanced over the past year?
“Even with the unprecedented pandemic constraints of the last few months, we’ve accomplished a great deal,” says IOGP Americas Director Wafik Beydoun.
Among the tangible achievements are:
- Improved API and IOGP collaboration on drafting international standards. For example, API is participating in the IOGP Standards Solution, which facilitates collaboration and participation in engaging in ISO-related standards development. According to Wafik, “this opens the way to an increased consistency and uniformity providing a real benefit for members of both organizations in their efforts to rationalize and simplify operations.”
- Jointly participated in committees and task forces focused on the environment and safety. “These areas have been core activities from IOGP’s earliest days. Sharing insights and innovations through co-participation with API has accelerated progress throughout the industry,” Wafik says. API has enhanced its participation in IOGP’s Task Force on Upstream energy efficiency indicators, in IOGP’s Engineering Leadership Council’s initiative on Low carbon engineering standards initiative, and in IOGP’s Environment Committee. Similarly, IOGP is participating in the update to the API Compendium of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Methodologies, further supporting the organizations collaboration on sustainability issues.
- Planned and began implementation of IOGP-API strategy for engaging with local stakeholders in the Americas regions. “We’ve made some excellent progress with stakeholders in individual Latin American nations including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Guyana. We’ve also increased our joint involvement with global and regional associations such as the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and ARPEL – the regional association for South America, Central America and the Caribbean,” Wafik says.
- Signed a three-party MOU with the Asociación Mexicana de Empresas de Hidrocarburos (AMEXHI), API, and IOGP in Mexico in January 2020. This agreement has enhanced coordination among the three organisations. Wafik hails this as a “real breakthrough, opening up new areas of cooperation with one of the Americas’ major producing nations.”
One year on, Debra is more than ever convinced that signing the MOU has been beneficial for API and the industry it represents. “The enhanced partnership between API and IOGP has helped add value to the natural gas an oil industry by allowing us to make even greater progress in furthering safety, environmental protection and sustainability across global industry operations. Our collaboration enhances alignment in the use of industry standards globally, and aids in the development of technological solutions that continue to help our industry provide jobs and improve health and quality of life for millions of people,” she says.
For IOGP’s part, Gordon is also certain that the MOU was the right step at the right time for both organisations. “A year ago, who would have predicted the challenges our industry is now facing? Yet, our partnership with API enables us to face the future from a stronger position, better able to serve our Member Companies and consumers who will continue to rely on natural gas and oil for transport and power in a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. “Thanks to our MOU with API, our industry will meet society’s continuing needs more efficiently and sustainably than ever.”