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API stands for the American Petroleum Institute, which is the major United States trade association for the oil and natural gas industry.


API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization in New York and moved to Washington DC in late 1969.

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 % 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.

In its 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards. These represent the industry’s collective wisdom on everything from drill bits to environmental protection and embrace proven, sound engineering and operating practices and safe, interchangeable equipment and materials.

API recommended practices and many have been incorporated into state and federal regulations and they are also the most widely cited standards by the international regulatory community.

The API works in conjunction with the International Organization of Standards (ISO). One of the most important standards that the API has set is the method used for measuring the density of petroleum. This standard is called the API gravity.

Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute since its founding almost a century ago.