A New Quality Program for the Petroleum Industry
- F.R. Gollhofer (API)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1987
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 814 - 816
- 1987. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers
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Summary. The contents of API Spec. Q1, Specification for Quality Programs, is highlighted. The plan under development to survey manufacturers for compliance to provisions of API Spec. Q1 and the product specifications is also discussed, along with the potential timetable for implementation. The changes described are substantial and represent a significant departure from API Production Dept. standards and the monogram program of the past. The goals of the new API quality program are quality-monogrammed products, consistent requirements, consistent application of requirements, decisions based on objective evidence, minimum time from application to decision, continuous opportunity for product-specification improvement, broadest acceptance of API standards, and a cost-effective program for industry.
The quality (conformance to specified requirements) of petroleum-industry equipment and materials is a multilevel concern. To a petroleum producer, the right gear can mean the difference between troublefree, profitable, producing wells and expensive, unsafe operations. To a petroleum-equipment manufacturer, consistent quality is the key to business success. To API, answering the industry's concerns for a record of efficient, environmentally sound operations avoids more government involvement in the oil business. As such, API initiated major changes in its standardization program. The objectives here are to discuss the motivations for changes in the program, to describe the changes, and to outline the potential benefits. First, the reasons API became involved in standardization are examined. Then the standardization program's transformation over the years is discussed.
Reasons for API Standards. The API Div. of Standardization, now known as the API Production Dept., was formed in 1923. At that time, the marketplace for production equipment was chaotic. There was little interchangeability between different manufacturers' pipe, fittings, equipment, and tools. Purchasing was a nightmare. Inventories were high; discrepancies caused delays, higher costs, and safety hazards. The API standardization program goal then, as now, was to facilitate the broad availability of safe interchangeable products. To reach this goal, the industry needs unambiguous specifications it can accept and use to identify materials, and users need a source of manufacturers that are capable of producing products that conform to those specifications. During the first 50 years, the API standardization program focused on dimensional uniformity and interchangeability among the same products made by different manufacturers. Gradually, the standards increased in complexity. Standards began to include wider ranges of sizes, materials, chemistry, and working pressure, as well as strength and other physical requirements. Early on, an API monogram was adopted to identify materials that conformed to API standards under API's licensing system. Manufacturers certified that their products complied with API standards. With this self-certification, they could then mark products with the API monogram. Today, more than 1,500 manufacturers worldwide are licensed to use the mark. The system worked well and provided the desired benefits. Even good things must change with the environment or perish, however, and the environment did change.
Motivations for Change. The increased emphasis from onshore to offshore production made national governments worldwide not-so-silent partners in the petroleum industry's operations. Environmental and personnel safety concerns prompted federal regulatory agencies to begin adopting or referencing API standards in their regulations. What had been voluntary became mandatory. Where standards did not exist, or where regulators judged existing standards to be inadequate, pressure fell on API to fill the gap with new standards or to improve existing standards. In addition, pressure was directed toward insurance that equipment would perform adequately under field conditions. It became evident that the API standardization program had to be accelerated, broadened, and strengthened.
Changes began more than 10 years ago. In 1973, the Committee on Standardization of Offshore Safety and Antipollution Equipment was formed. In 10 months, the committee produced its first standard, which went far beyond the scope of previous ones. For the first time, the specification required quality-control testing and a review of the manufacturer's qualifications to use the API monogram. In 1980, another step was taken in the evolution.
|File Size||236 KB||Number of Pages||3|