№2 February 2010
№ 2 (February 2010)
The growing competition in Russia’s oil and gas industry and strict bidding demands urge players to constantly prove their competitiveness. One such advantage is the certification program run by the American Petroleum Institute (API).
The API-certified company complies to all client demands in such fields as quality, reliability, safety, environmental and user friendliness. As a rule, the certification process takes between six to nine months. The API certificate elevates its holder to a higher international level of business culture, quality and product control, meeting the latest international standards.
The Coveted Diamond
First API standards were set in 1924 and today there are more than 500 of them, covering various segments of petroleum industry. Almost 80 percent of API-certified companies are located outside the United States, with offices in 70 countries around the globe. In order to provide top-level service to clients in the growing demand environment, API signed a contract in 2008 with Moody International, a services organization specializing in technical inspection and certification in the oil and gas industry. The company represents API in 16 countries globally and its auditors are allowed by API to run certification audits.
The API standards’ main value is that they accumulate extensive experience of the petroleum industry’s development and are used all over the world. Unlike ISO standards, API has only one certification center – the American Petroleum Institute. The standards are renewed every five years. API certificate holders are audited every year and if they fail to maintain the standards their certificates may be revoked. API’s diamond-shaped monogram is the internationally recognized trade mark of quality in petroleum industry. In China, for instance, these standards have been largely accepted to a point where they practically became domestic.
API Comes to Russia
So far, the application of these standards in Russia has been required mostly when working with foreign contractors, exporting goods or participating in projects abroad. However, Russia is moving toward a wider application of API standards, says Dmitry Ushakov, who heads the API Certification Program at Russia’s branch of Moody International.
As early as this year, Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft may require its equipment suppliers to comply with API standards. The first step in this direction has already been made – Rosneft requested from its suppliers compliance to ISO standards.
“Practically all big domestic producers of valves and fittings for the oil and gas industry have either completed the API certification or applied to certify their products in 2009,” Ushakov told OGE.
A significant contribution to implementing API standards in Russia has been made by the Science and Industrial Association of Valve Producers (also known under its Russian abbreviation NPAA). In early 2007, NPAA signed a license agreement with API gaining the rights to officially translate API valve standards. The agreement stipulates non-commercial internal use of the translations and allows for their distribution among NPAA members.
Lost in Translation
Besides translating standards, NPAA also provides their technical editing. That is why its translation significantly differs from those done by third parties. NPAA translations are the only official translations of API standards in Russia that are recognized by the American Petroleum Institute. Currently, NPAA’s library contains translations of 22 API standards, which regulate production, testing and usage of various types of valves and fittings.
API certification costs are relatively small, and as a rule they don’t exceed $10,000. During the certification process companies may have to invest also in tuning up their feedstock control and quality control systems and enhance production technologies. This might require the purchase of new equipment, machinery and technology, as well as additional staff training. But ultimately, the size of the investment depends on the goals of the applicant.
Russian valve manufacturers holding API certificates include Penztiazhpromarmatura and Tyazhpromarmatura (based in Aleksin), Korvet (Kurgan), Fobos, the Votkinsky plant, and Nefteprommash in Tyumen. Those with pending applications include Blagoveschensky Valve Plant, Arkor Valve Corp., PromKhimSfera, Kungur Oil and Gas Equipment and Services, St. Petersburg-based Rekom and Samaravolgomash.