API Advances Safety and Environmental Performance through Global Collaboration
Posted February 4, 2021
API’s new collaborative agreement with Azerbaijan’s national oil company is the latest in a series of partnerships to extend the safety and environmental benefits of our best-in-class industry standards globally.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) is the 10th MOU signed with an international institution in the past two years, extending the international network of government agencies and industry groups across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
The result is a wider international focus and alignment on modern standards and operational technologies designed to help the natural gas and oil industry operate safely and sustainably– for workers, communities and the environment. Debra Phillips, API Global Industry Services (GIS) senior vice president:
“We welcome the signing of today’s MOU with SOCAR, bringing together our two organizations to develop standards in pursuit of our shared goals of safety and environmental protection. “[The] signing marks the first MOU between API and SOCAR, playing a key role in connecting two major natural gas and oil markets to advance industry performance globally.”
The MOU with SOCAR is just the newest example of how API’s focus on safety, environmental protection and sustainability is making strides as countries recognize the inherent value in sharing that focus.
The use of standards can enhance the sustainability of a nation’s natural gas and oil industry, as is expected in Azerbaijan, the Caucasus region’s top energy exporter. The country produces most of its oil from offshore production facilities in the Caspian Sea, and relies on an extensive pipeline network to move its exports to market.
API has a long track record of addressing both offshore safety and establishing standards and programs for environmental and operational safety management systems for pipelines. The MOU will deepen collaboration between API and SOCAR as the organization eyes further development of safe and sustainable infrastructure. Alignment in the use of standards between SOCAR, its international partners, and the U.S. will help facilitate trade between countries, enhancing access to low-cost and safe energy.
This type of collaboration underscores the influence of API standards overseas, where they have been included by reference in over 780 regulations from Brazil to Singapore. We see the MOUs as a natural outgrowth from this trend in overseas utilization.
Although each of the 10 MOUs differ in scope, they are all focused on three key areas: promoting the use and adoption of API standards globally; enhancing participation of international experts in API’s standards development process; and driving opportunities for global standards development.
Latin America is a good example of where standards adoption has come into focus in recent months. In 2020, API signed several MOUs with groups representing the industry in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil. These organizations include the Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuels Sector Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARPEL); the Brazilian technological, certification and standardization group, known as ABENDI; and the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies (AMEXHI).
Latin America is experiencing tremendous growth in natural gas and oil production. For example, Brazil has become one of the largest natural gas and oil producers in the region as it continues to develop its vast reserves. In addition, the country is now a top global oil producing nation, reporting record production in January despite the slowdown in demand from Covid-19.
Further north, Mexico has become a top importer of U.S. natural gas as it moves toward cleaner forms of electricity generation. In doing so, Mexico has become an important partner with U.S. firms in developing pipelines to expand the cross-border energy trade.
API has also made significant inroads in the Middle East, signing MOUs with the Emirates Authority for Standards and Metrology (ESMA); the Saudi Standards, Metrology; and Quality Organization (SASO); and the Gulf Standards Organization (GSO).
Still, other MOUs have been signed with industry groups in India, a federal standards board in Russia, and with one of the industry’s largest international trade groups, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).
Moving ahead, API will continue to forge partnerships with overseas partners to further safety, environmental protection, and sustainability through collaboration, with a particular focus on standards. While the last year has been a challenging time for our industry, API will continue to strengthen our international ties and reinforce our industry’s commitment to advancing safety, sustainability, and environmental protection around the world.
About The Author
Alexa Burr is Vice President of Segment Standards & Programs in API’s Global Industry Services division, which is responsible for standards setting, certification, training, events, publications and safety programs for industry operations. Prior to API, Alexa worked at the American Chemistry Council in various roles where she oversaw the strategic direction of Responsible Care® program and led international advocacy efforts on a range of issues. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology of Global Health and a master’s in Biological Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases, both from Georgetown University.