In the early 1990s, the API and many of its members adopted the mantra of “Do it once, do it right, do it globally,” with the goal of transitioning API’s upstream oil and gas industry standards to international standards developed under the auspices of the ISO Technical Committee on Materials, Equipment and Offshore Structures for Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Industries (TC 67). This aspirational effort has now seemingly drawn to a close, with API announcing that it will no longer send its standards through the ISO process. API’s decision reportedly stems from an inability to reach agreement with ISO regarding intellectual property rights, as well as concerns relating to US sanctions against Iran and Iranian participation in the ISO process.
“How this will affect the continued development of ISO standards remains to be seen, as many companies, both in the US and Europe, are taking a cautious approach toward participation in the ISO process due to the sanctions concerns,” reported Alan Spackman, IADC VP of offshore regulatory and technical affairs. “Further, the ISO standards development process has benefitted greatly from, if not relied upon, having API standards presented as core documents for further development into ISO standards, along with the direct participation of the industry experts that developed the API standards.”
API has indicated that it is developing a plan to ensure that the global oil and gas community continues to have access to API standards. It will look to host international technical standards development meetings and has plans for translation and related agreements to facilitate the broader use and availability of its standards.
“How the global standards development process will evolve in response to these challenges is not clear. Ultimately, it will be determined by the support of oil and gas exploration and production companies, service providers and equipment suppliers as they decide where their standards-development resources can best be applied,” Mr Spackman said.