By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Historically, the oil and gas industry hasn’t been known for diversity and inclusion efforts with its businesses regularly comprising a demographic that’s about 90 percent white and male.
However, the American Petroleum Institute (API), which counts as the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, has worked to change the landscape by putting in place strategic and definitive initiatives that address diversity and inclusion.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of API, which has established industry standards and disseminates best practices across the industry, nationwide and globally.
With alliances with NNPA, – the Black Press of America with more than 215 African American owned newspapers and media companies – and the National Association of Hispanic Publications, the American Association of Blacks in Energy and others, API hopes to encourage minorities and women to be petroleum engineers, geologists, welders, electricians, accountants, business managers and fill other necessary posts.
“The Black Press, probably more than any organization in the nation has a history of communications with the Black community, reaching policy leaders in the community as well as young folks,” said Frank Stewart, a consultant for API and president of Frank M. Stewart & Company.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity and the way to reach the community is by [aligning] with the people they trust,” Stewart said.
“The analogy is also [true] with the Hispanic Press,” said Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, an API consultant.
Additionally, API has an Energy Research Collaborative (ERC) with strategic partners focused on workforce development and engagement with nontraditional allies.
The ERC also includes Asian Americans in Energy, the Environment and Commerce, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Hispanics in Energy, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, The Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and others.
The group meets regularly and continues to provide feedback and recommendations to API, which traces its beginning to World War I, when Congress and the domestic oil and natural gas industry worked together to help the war effort.
“The U.S. energy industry has always been at the forefront of powering positive change – from supporting the war effort during World War I, to the energy revolution that has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer, refiner, and exporter of natural gas, and No. 1 reducer of emissions,” said API President and CEO Mike Sommers during a recent celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary.
API’s member companies still play a central role in America’s security, Sommers said.
API establishes industry standards and disseminates best practices across the industry, nationwide and globally.
Partnering with the best and brightest technical experts from government, academia, and industry, API has developed almost 700 standards to enhance the safety of our workers and protect the community and environment.
Certification programs developed by API’s Global Industry Services division help companies operationalize standards, providing consistency, interoperability, and reliability.
The United States leads the world in production of natural gas and oil, and in reduction of carbon dioxide emissions – supplying affordable, reliable energy while serving as the world’s gold standard for safe, environmentally responsible energy development.
The U.S. has reduced CO2 emissions to their lowest levels in a generation while the rest of the world’s emissions have dramatically risen. The energy landscape is evolving to meet consumer needs in cleaner, safer and more reliable ways.
Just 15 years increasing imports and peak oil were a focus, and some didn’t even mention clean U.S. natural gas as an electricity source, Sommers said.
Due to dramatic technological innovations, the US now leads the world in natural gas and oil production, fueling the world’s growth and adhering to the safest and most environmentally responsible standards in the world, he said.
Affordable energy gives U.S. manufacturers and major competitive advantage, and is a key factor revitalizing communities across the nation.
The U.S. energy industry is producing energy at record levels – meeting record demand and decreasing reliance on foreign suppliers.
The EIA forecasts that the United States will be a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products by 2020 – boosting economic growth and enhancing energy security for the United States and allies.
Projections confirm a need for more natural gas and oil, not less, in the decades ahead, Sommers said.
U.S. success demonstrates the reality that people can reduce emissions and increase production of the energy that powers economies and supports modern daily living.
Growing energy demand means better, safer quality of life for billions living in poverty around the globe, API officials said. Nearly 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to electricity, and 2.1 billion live without safe drinking water at home.
“Energy is the key to improving health, security and opportunity for millions. And the United States is the world leader in meeting demand growth safely and cleanly,” Sommers said.
“With API’s leadership, we’ve set the world’s goal standard for safe, environmentally responsible operations and enhanced America’s energy security. As we honor a century of industry-driven progress, we also look ahead to a future made safer, brighter, and more prosperous for communities around the world by continued energy innovation,” he said.