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New API Standard Enhances Safety and Environmental Protection of Offshore and Onshore Industry

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WASHINGTON, November 8, 2018 – The American Petroleum Institute today released its newest valve standard as part of the industry’s continuous efforts to improve operational safety and environmental protection. “Specification 6A” governs the design and operations of the critical safety valves at wells used in the offshore and onshore oil and gas industry. The latest edition, issued today, includes new automatic closure requirements, to ensure additional protection for workers and the environment in loss of power and emergency situations.

Among the other improvements now included in the 21st edition of Specification 6A - Wellhead and Tree Equipment - are rigorous new requirements for modern technologies, including equipment quality provisions, and recognition of the environmental conditions in which well equipment is to be placed safely in service. This specification has been relied upon by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in its regulations for offshore safety.

“The safety of our operations is of paramount importance to our industry. Each day more than 1.6 million barrels of oil are pumped from hundreds of deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Ensuring the immediate closure of valves connecting underwater production systems to surface facilities will help keep workers safe and adds an additional layer of environmental protection where they operate,” said Debra Phillips, vice president of API Global Industry Services. “API published the first 6A predecessor standard in 1925, making it one of API’s longest existing standards that underpin our core value of continuously improving global industry operations.

“Exploration and production facilities use advanced technologies, materials, and practices that incorporate multiple back-up safety systems. API Standards, such as Specification 6A, are an example of the industry’s continuous investment and improvement in every phase of preparedness and operations in which oil is produced, transported, stored, and marketed.”

Specification 6A is used extensively in the manufacturing of offshore and onshore production equipment, and more than 750 organizations globally use an API registered mark, verifying that their manufacturing practices conform to the standard. The 15th edition of Specification 6A introduced the concept of Product Specification Levels, or PSLs in 1986. PSLs are tiered requirements that improve oilfield safety as they group specific technical and quality requirements based on expected field conditions and equipment usage. Today, the specification is referenced in nearly 25 percent of the standards used in API’s Monogram Program, API Specifications are used by licensed manufacturers with the authority to apply the API Monogram registered mark to equipment that has met the requirements.

API standards are developed under API’s American National Standards Institute accredited process, ensuring that the API standards are recognized not only for their technical rigor but also their third-party accreditation which facilitates acceptance by state, federal and increasingly international regulators. API’s Global Industry Services (GIS) division is responsible for certification, standards-setting, training, events, publications and safety programs for onshore, offshore and refinery operations.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 45 million Americans.