The following article first appeared Dec. 3 on the World Oil website.

While managing supply chain risks has always been a recurring boardroom concern, it took a global pandemic to underscore exactly what’s at stake when disruptions occur. As a result, the pandemic’s profound impact on supply chains has elevated the importance of globally recognized standards —particularly in the energy sector, where supply chain vulnerabilities have far-reaching consequences.

Of course, it’s not just disasters like pandemics that bring this to light. Geopolitical unrest, economic sanctions, weather events, institutional failures … the list goes on. All can complicate energy supply chains, affecting global markets and local communities alike. These risks emphasize the critical need for smart, standardized frameworks that can withstand natural and human-made crises.

Uniting Against Vulnerabilities

The relationship between API and Ukraine illustrates how international standards can reshape and strengthen a nation's energy landscape. In 2022, less than a year after it was invaded by Russia, Ukraine’s leading standardization body, the Ukrainian Scientific Center for Standardization, Certification and Quality Problems, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with API to promote the adoption of API natural gas and oil standards and forge closer cooperation across a range of training and safety activities. “[W]e are open and happy to establish new cooperation with our American colleagues and are ready to adopt and implement API standards in Ukraine for the development and reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy and business," said center Director General Oleg Shvydkyy.

Ten months later – and recognizing the imminent need for adoption of global standards – PJSC Ukrnafta, Ukraine's largest oil company, signed an MOU to enhance Ukraine's energy independence and its transition away from Russian equipment and standards. While the 2022 MOU focused on an information exchange and the promotion of API standards, the 2023 MOU agreement went further, emphasizing a shift away from Russian standards toward API’s globally recognized international energy standards and best practices. “After nearly two years of conflict with Russia, Ukraine's pursuit of energy independence is more critical than ever,” said a PJSC Ukrnafta spokesperson. “This MOU is an important step in enhancing Ukraine’s energy capabilities and reducing its reliance on the Russian supply chain.”

The High Standards of Developing Standards

So, why did Ukraine turn to API for help with its energy landscape?

API follows established procedures for developing all standards, whether published exclusively by API or jointly with other standards developing organizations. API is accredited as a standards developer by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), recognition that has earned API standards wide acceptance across industry and regulatory bodies.

A chief characteristic of the API development process is that draft standards undergo a rigorous consultation process. All are available to interested parties for review and comment, representing a collective effort that strives to balance diverse interests. This approach encourages participation, builds consensus, and ensures due process is followed. It’s an approach that ultimately contributes to a standard’s rock-solid technical integrity.

API’s robust standards development approach has been applied to its 800+ standards, including two published in the past decade, which bear heavily on global energy security: Standard 1164, Pipeline Control Systems Cybersecurity, 3rd edition, provides requirements and guidance to protect pipeline infrastructure from cyberattacks, which can cause significant disruptions to energy supply; and Standard 780, Security Risk Assessment Methodology, which provides a framework for physical security across a broad variety of both fixed and mobile oil and natural gas facilities, such as pipelines, wellheads and refineries. Indeed, the collective authority of these standards have earned them both designation and certification by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as qualifying anti-terrorism technologies under the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002.

Continued Expansion: Guyana and Suriname

API’s systematic approach to consensus-building in the standards development process is resonating in other parts of the world. In fact, API’s standards are reaching regions ripe for energy development such as Guyana and Suriname.

After discovering a large offshore oil field in 2015, Guyana saw great potential in leveraging the natural resources to transform its economy, yet also recognized the need to integrate safety and environmental protection methods into operations to mitigate risk. Working with API, the Guyanese National Bureau of Standards signed an MOU that provides them with access to API standards and training, helping ensure the country’s oil and manufacturing industry is equipped with the correct tools in place to meet the highest standards of safety, environmental protection and efficiency.

Similarly poised for economic growth, after its 2019 offshore oil find, Suriname has been actively introducing global best practices in anticipation of its forthcoming oil production activities. Energy executives in Suriname, including those from the Surinamese Standards Bureau, have been working closely with API, including hosting a recent Offshore Oil & Gas Environment and Safety Workshop that included an API-led session on standards and good regulatory practices. This engagement, ahead of potential investments from industry leaders, positions Suriname to strengthen its onshore success (begun in the 1980s) with a well-regulated offshore expansion.

Standard Approach to Security

The partnerships with Ukraine, Guyana and Suriname highlight how API's commitment to standards enhances energy security. This is particularly the case considering supply chain vulnerabilities, where the implementation of global standards can mean the difference between a secure energy future and one that is fraught with uncertainty.

As such, adopting API’s globally recognized standards is an essential strategy for countries seeking an independent and resilient energy landscape. In the face of shifting global geopolitics, which heighten supply chain and other risks associated with energy production and distribution, such standards will serve as a foundation for a more secure and sustainable energy economy.