American Petroleum Institute

American Petroleum Institute (API)


Based in Washington DC, the American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest trade association for the oil and gas industry, representing over 600 corporate members “from the largest major oil company to the smallest of independents, come from all segments of the industry.” The API says its mission is to “influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry.” API describes itself as “the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.” [1]

API was initially established on March 20, 1919 in New York City and moved to Washington DC in late 1969. According to its website, API “speak[s] for the oil and natural gas industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media. We negotiate with regulatory agencies, represent the industry in legal proceedings, participate in coalitions and work in partnership with other associations to achieve our members’ public policy goals.”  [2][1]

ExxonSecrets reports that API has funded organizations that oppose regulations aimed at combating global warming including the Cato Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). API is also a member of the National Wetlands Coalition, a group suggesting government regulation on wetlands are “burdensome and ineffective regulations on private property.” According to Sourcewatch, The National Wetlands coalition has been relatively inactive since the 1990s, but was made up of a group of about 60 municipal associations, utilities and major industrial concerns, such as Exxon, Texaco and Kerr-McGee. [40], [41] [3]

API Promoted “Uncertainty” about Climate Change

A 1998 Communications Plan, obtained by the New York Times and reported on at Greenpeace, suggests that API was actively working to promote “uncertainty” about climate change science and links to fossil fuels. According to the document, “victory will be achieved when […] Average citizens ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom’”[5]

“Unless ‘climate change’ becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts. It will be necessary to establish measurements for the science effort to track progress toward achieving the goal and strategic success,” the document reads.

InsideClimate News reports that API also knew of climate change as early as 1982. A Columbia University report titled “Climate Models and CO2 Warming, A Selective Review and Summary” (PDFcommissioned by the institute in 1982, cautioned that global warming “can have serious consequences for man’s comfort and survival.” [49][50]

Koch Ties & Cooperation

While Koch Industries is not known to be a member of API, as reported in the funding section below, API has donated a total of $139,000 to Americans for Prosperity, the astroturf tea party group founded by billionaire David Koch[6]

Koch interests often align with those of API, and Koch-aligned groups often engage in lobbying on behalf for the same oil-and-gas-friendly legislation as API. For example, API joined in when trade associations including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the latter which represents Koch Industries, BP, and Exxon Mobil among others, joined together to work as “one unified voice” to combat 21 young plaintiffs suing for stronger action on climate change[78], [48]

“Time Is Running Out” — API

Long before API‘s coordinated plans to promote uncertainty, in 1965, President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee published of a report titled “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment.” Then-API-president Frank Ikard described that report at an oil industry conference, DeSmog reported: [76]

This report unquestionably will fan emotions, raise fears, and bring demand for action,” Ikard told the audience, as he described research into climate change caused by fossil fuels.

The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.”

According to excerpts of Ikard’s speech, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, Ikhard said: [77]

“One of the most important predictions of the report is that carbon dioxide is being added to the Earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas at such a rate that by the year 2000 the heat balance will be so modified as possibly to cause marked changes in climate beyond local or even national efforts.”

According to the Nature letter from Stanford historian Benamin Franta, API itself had funded research reaching  similar conclusions. For example, in 1954, a California Institute of Technology geochemist sent the API a research proposal reporting that fossil fuels caused carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to rise roughly five percent since 1854. [77]

API accepted that research proposal and advanced it under the name “Project 53” but never made those results public. [77]

Energy Citizens

Starting in 2009, the API led a coalition called “Energy Citizens” and held rallies opposing the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, targeting states “whose Democratic Senators aren’t strong supporters of a stringent bill, such as […] Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Mark Begich of Alaska.” [25]

According to Newsweek, API asked regional companies to urge their employees to participate in planned protests. A leaked memo revealed that “The objective of these rallies is to put a human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy and to aim a loud message at [20 different] states.” [26]

“Energy Citizens” is also supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), American Farm Bureau, American Highway Users Alliance, National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, FreedomWorks, American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. [27]

According toO’Dwyer’s Magazine, in a February 2010 article titled “The Politics of Climate Change,”

“The group has loudly protested the EPA’s decision to have greenhouse gas emissions regulated under the Clean Air Act. API members include Chevron, ConocoPhillips,Exxon Mobil, GE, Halliburton and Shell.” [28]

Template fliers for the “Energy Citizens” rallies warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain.” They additionally claimed the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would “cost 2 million American jobs, raise gasoline and diesel prices up to $4.”

The EPA estimated the bill would cost U.S. households “about a postage stamp a day,” while the Energy Information Administration projected annual “energy bill costs could rise between $26 per household to $362 by 2020.” [29]

The company Democracy, Data & Communications (DDC), wrote in a case study that it “has actively partnered with the American Petroleum Institute (API) for years, designing,
executing, and managing all facets of their key national advocacy program” and was “asked with creating an on-the-ground campaign focused on raising the prole of Energy Citizens in support of natural gas production from the ‘Marcellus Shale’ formation in Pennsylvania.” [64]

DDC said it helped to convene two roundtable meetings with local congressional representatives for the Energy Citizens campaign, as well as get 170 letters of support published and sent to Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Commission. According to IRS tax filings reviewed by DeSmog, API paid DDC $29.3 million for its work between 2011 and 2015, DeSmog reported. [65]

DDC has also worked with the tobacco company Phillip Morris on a website fighting against tobacco regulation. DDC is also an Associate Member of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which has also paid DDC at least $1.8 million since 2012 for PR work according to the IRS. [65]

API has released a series of print ads espousing the benefits of fossil fuels, claiming that E15 fuel would damage equipment, and linking to their project,

Anti-E15 & E85 Ads

Other Ads

Energy for Progress

January 7, 2020

On January 7, 2020, API launched a new TV and digital media campaign highlighting “the natural gas and oil industry’s leadership in reducing emissions to record low levels and supporting economic and environmental progress in local communities,” according to a press release.  The campaign included the website

View a sample video below: [82]

API announced the campaign at its annual “State of American Energy” event, and featured a panel comprised of TV host Mike Rowe and the presidents of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. [82]

From Colorado and New Mexico to Ohio and Pennsylvania, natural gas and oil development is energizing economies and improving millions of lives,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said in prepared remarks.  The campaign’s key focus appears to be combatting efforts that would ban or limit fracking. Sommers declared “he future of energy is at stake, whenever people doubt the value of natural gas and oil in our daily lives.” [82]

The Energy for Progress website features a section on “environmental protection” where it claims natural gas has been a key reason “U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have reached their lowest levels in a generation.” [83]

API‘s Lobbying

API is also heavily involved in direct lobbying on behalf of the oil and gas industry, having spent over $98 million on lobbying activities since 1998, according to data collected by OpenSecrets. [4]

Year Lobbying Expenditures
Grand Total$98,925,067

API & the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) Merger

On November 18, 2015, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) announced a merger to create a “single voice promoting the industry” while working under the name of the American Petroleum Institute. ANGA was founded in 2009 and is funded by natural gas producers, and has worked against federal limits on methane emissions. [52]

OpenSecrets reports that ANGA has spent more than $15 million on lobbying activities for the oil and gas industry since 2009: [53]

YearTotal Lobbying Expenditure
Grand Total$15,180,000

Explore Offshore

The American Petroleum Institute launched its Explore Offshore project in June 2018 “seeking to convince Hispanic and black communities to support the Trump administration’s proposed expansion of offshore drilling,” Reuters reported. [72]

We want to build support in minority communities because the message that increasing the supply of affordable energy and good paying jobs will resonate,” said Erik Milito, API’s director of Upstream and Industry Operations. [72]

Explore Offshore describes itself as a “national coalition that supports offshore energy exploration and production to help supply affordable energy for American consumers, small businesses, and manufacturers.”

“Explore Offshore’s mission is to unite supporters of offshore energy development and promote its benefits and its importance to our nation’s economy and energy security,” its website claims.

Coalition members include representatives from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a range of local affiliates are listed on its coalition page[68], [70]

According to Reuters, Explore Offshore has partnered with a number of black and Hispanic business groups including the Virginia, Florida and North Carolina Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce. [72]

Only one African-American man, South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce chairman Stephen Gilchrist, was involved in the group. Gilchrist reportedly “counts [Steve] Bannon as a friend.” While the group identifies itself as a “bipartisan coalition,” its sole Democrat is Jim Webb, who has praised “gallantry” of Confederate soldiers and defended “the venerable Robert E. Lee” according to a Politico story on Webb’s roots. [75], [73], [74]

July 24, 2018

Representatives from API and API‘s “Explore Offshore South Carolina” attended a luncheon hosted by the SC African American Chamber of Commerce to discuss “the Economic impacts and safety of Offshore Energy.” [71]

May 16, 2018

Explore Offshore, a “project of the American Petroleum Institute” ran an ad campaign on Facebook promoting offshore drilling in Florida. According to Facebook’s political ad archive, the ads were removed because they lacked a “Paid for by” label while including political content. [68], [69]

The ad text read as follows:

“Contrary to what the opposition wants you to believe, offshore energy exploration has occurred safely alongside marine life, commercial fishing, military activities, and tourism for decades in the Gulf.

‘Not only have these industries co-existed with energy production, but in many cases energy development has stimulated and bolstered investments, increased higher-paying jobs, and supported retail and tourism in coastal towns along the Gulf,’ Cornelia Horner, a spokeswoman with the American Petroleum Institute.

The choice is simple when you have the facts. Say yes to exploring our offshore resources in Florida.”

Stance on Climate Change

May 2017

In its most recent “Climate and Energy” primer, API claims that the use of natural gas is enough to reduce CO2 emissions, and that we should recognize “the many benefits that oil and natural gas provide our nation”: [63]

CO2 emissions from power generation in 2016 were near 30-year lows, in large part due to greater use of natural gas. And increased use of natural gas in the power generation sector has helped to reduce total  CO2 emissions to their lowest level in nearly 25 years.

“This proves that Americans do not have to make the false choice between utilizing our nation’s energy resources and protecting the environment.

“The oil and gas industry considers climate change a very important issue and is engaging constructively to address this complex global challenge.

United States climate policy must recognize the vital role of petroleum products in modern society, and the many benefits that oil and natural gas provide our nation and the world.”

API offered a similar statement on its website. [44]


An archived version of the American Petroleum Institute website admits that “emissions from [energy] production and use may be helping to warm our planet by enhancing the natural greenhouse effect of the atmosphere. That’s why oil and gas companies are also working to reduce their greenhouse emissions.” [42]

A November 2015 “Climate and Energy Primer” (PDF) released by API suggests there are “uncertainties” with regards to climate change, however still suggests it is a serious problem: [43]

“While we rely on them for most of our energy and will likely do so for years to come, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes: ‘Scientists are certain that human activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere, and that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases will change the planet’s climate. However, they are not sure by how much it will change, at what rate it will change, or what the exact effects will be.’ Despite these uncertainties it is clear that climate change is a serious problem that requires research for solutions and effective policies that allow us to meet our energy needs while protecting the environment. That’s why oil and gas companies are working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”


API‘s 1998 ”Global Climate Science Communications Plan” (PDF), reported by the New York Times and authored by the American Petroleum Institute’s Joe Walker, revealed the institute’s stance on climate change.

According to the plan, “victory will be achieved when”: [5]

  • Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
  • Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
  • Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
  • Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
  • Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality.”

Under the heading “Climate Reality,” the document continues:

“Unless ‘climate change’ becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initiatives to thwart the threat of climate change, there may be do moment when we can declare victory for our efforts. It will be necessary to establish measurements for the science effort to track progress toward achieving the goal and strategic success.”


InsideClimate News reports that the American Petroleum Institute knew of climate change as early as 1982: A Columbia University report titled “Climate Models and CO2 Warming, A Selective Review and Summary” (PDF) commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute in 1982, cautioned that global warming “can have serious consequences for man’s comfort and survival.” [49], [50]

American Petroleum Institute Funding (As Donor)

There are 374 transactions on record for the American Petroleum Institute as a Donor in the Conservative Transparency Database. Note that not all of the following funding values have been confirmed by DeSmogBlog. [6]

View the attached spreadsheet for further details on the American Petroleum Institute’s funding by year (.xlsx).

Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor Management Committee$3,597,648
Citizens to Protect Pennsylvania$2,851,500
National Association of Manufacturers$2,026,150
2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee$2,022,473
Coloradans for Responsible Reform$1,544,481
Ground Water Protection Council$1,440,800
Independent Petroleum Association of America$1,387,356
American Chemistry Council$1,232,000
Health Effects Institute$910,000
Cleveland 2016 Host Committee Inc.$900,000
State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations$775,000
Business Industry Political Action Committee$775,000
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute$772,500
Americans for Tax Reform$740,000
Rebuilding Together$706,812
University of Connecticut$700,531
Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee$700,000
Republican Governors Association$630,000
IHS Global$625,000
University of California Davis$622,490
Democratic Governors Association$555,000
American Council for Capital Formation$535,000
Business Institute for Political Analysis$525,000
University of Colorado$455,133
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation$445,000
Plumbers & Pipefitters$440,500
Coalition for American Jobs$412,969
Energy Policy Research Foundation$375,000
Consumer Energy Alliance$332,500
Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program$306,000
America’s Wetland Foundation$300,000
Raise the Bar Protect Our Constitution$300,000
Environmental Council of the States$256,750
60 Plus Association$253,000
National Ocean Policy Coalition$250,000
American Action Network$250,000
Building and Construction Trades Department AFLCIO$245,000
Maine Energy Marketers Association$240,000
US Chamber of Commerce$236,500
Franklin-Hamilton Inc.$235,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$229,500
The Keystone Center$220,500
Coloradans for a Stable Economy$200,000
George Mason University Foundation$200,000
Republican State Leadership Committee$200,000
Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance$200,000
National Academy of Sciences$200,000
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation$165,500
Pipeline Research Council$162,500
Stanford University$160,000
Institute for Energy Research$160,000
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies$152,500
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council$150,000
Republican Attorneys General Association$150,000
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research$150,000
Americans for Prosperity$139,000
Petroleum Association of Wyoming$130,000
Congressional Black Caucus Institute$125,000
Montana Department of Environmental Quality$117,274
University of Massachusetts Dept of Microbiology$117,000
Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce$107,193
Association for Environmental Health and Sciences$106,000
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers$105,000
Ground Water Research & Education Foundation$105,000
National Foreign Trade Council$101,000
National Retail Federation$100,000
Alliance to Save Energy$100,000
Friends of the House 2016 LLC$100,000
Michigan State University$100,000
National Taxpayers Union$100,000
American Legislative Exchange Council$98,000
National Black Chamber of Commerce$97,500
Clemson University$95,000
University of California Berkeley$94,402
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign$93,900
North Carolina State University$93,135
United States Association for Energy Economics$92,500
100 Black Men of America$90,000
US News and World Report – US News Stem Solutions$85,000
National Conference of State Legislatures$84,000
Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States$81,000
Northwestern University School of Law$80,000
LNG Allies$80,000
Common Ground Alliance$80,000
Rutgers University$80,000
Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.$79,500
International Conservation Caucus Foundation$75,000
The Foreign Policy Group$75,000
Offshore Energy Center$75,000
Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute$75,000
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement$75,000
Utility Air Regulatory Group$75,000
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners$71,800
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility$71,750
Nebraska Ethanol Board$71,212
Congressional Black Caucus Policy & Leadership Institute$70,000
American Association of Blacks in Energy$70,000
Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research$68,500
American Conservative Union$66,000
A Wider Circle$60,000
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce$60,000
American GI Forum of the United States$60,000
Sustainable Remediation Forum$60,000
James Madison Institute$60,000
National Newspaper Publishers Association$57,500
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development$55,000
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation$52,500
University of Tulsa$52,353
University of Oklahoma$52,194
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation$51,000
National Journal Group$50,000
Western Governors’ Association$50,000
Texas State Society of Washington DC$50,000
Hispanic Alliance for Progress/Prosperity Institute$50,000
National Industrial Sand Association$50,000
American Legion$50,000
NM Association Conservative District$50,000
The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences$50,000
Council of Great Lakes Governors$50,000
Citizens Against Government Waste$50,000
Rice University$50,000
Michigan Chamber PAC II$50,000
Nicholls State University$45,000
Western States Air Resources Council$45,000
Coordinating Research Council$45,000
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association$45,000
The Bryce Harlow Foundation$42,500
Council of State Governments$41,000
Northwestern University$40,000
Saj Media (Greater Wilmington Business Journal)$40,000
Third Way$40,000
National Conference of Black Mayors$40,000
Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy$40,000
Consensus Building Institute$40,000
Formula Sports Group$40,000
NALEO Educational Fund$40,000
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)$39,951
University of Rochester$38,695
American Council on Science and Health$37,500
Mahoning County Democratic Party$37,500
Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association$37,500
University of New Hampshire$36,000
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment$35,000
National Urban League$35,000
Wright State University$35,000
University of Houston – Clear Lake$34,000
Radio Television Digital News Association$31,000
Federal Water Quality Coalition (Barnes & Thornburg)$31,000
Conservative Political Action Conference$31,000
Washington Press Club Foundation$30,285
Taxpayers for Common Sense$30,000
Coastal America Foundation$30,000
The Tax Foundation$30,000
Illinois Institute of Technology$30,000
Virginia Chamber of Commerce$30,000
Fund for Peace$30,000
Ohio Democratic Party$30,000
University of California$30,000
Resources First Foundation$30,000
North Carolina Agricultural Foundation$28,000
Western Michigan University$28,000
American Tort Reform Association$25,100
Mercatus Center$25,000
Tread Lightly Inc.$25,000
Competitive Enterprise Institute$25,000
Jefferson Island Club$25,000
FTI Consulting$25,000
Battelle Memorial Institute$25,000
National Association of Hispanic Publications$25,000
Consortium of Catholic Academies of the Archdiocese of Washington$25,000
PGA Foundation$25,000
The Ripon Society$25,000
Arizona State University$25,000
Democratic Attorneys General Association$25,000
Heartland Institute$25,000
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies$25,000
American Highway Users Alliance$25,000
Bloomberg Finance LP$25,000
National Association of Wholesaler Distributors (LIFO Coalition)$25,000
University of Vermont$25,000
Western Business Roundtable$25,000
Southern Christian Leadership Conference$25,000
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers$25,000
Southern Republican Leadership Conference South Carolina$25,000
American Forest and Paper Association$21,700
Nebraska Ethanol Industry Coalition$20,212
National Foundation for Women Legislators$20,000
Illinois AFLCIO$20,000
HM&C Center Stage LLC$20,000
Fund for American Studies$20,000
New Mexico Community Capital$20,000
University of Texas at Arlington$20,000
Community Leaders of America$20,000
Virginia Foundation for Research & Economic Education$20,000
Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce$20,000
Carbon Sequestration Council$20,000
Edison Electric Institute$18,500
American Institute of Chemical Engineers$17,500
North American Metals Council$17,000
Everybody Wins! DC$16,400
US Conference of Mayors$15,000
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise$15,000
New York Academy of Sciences$15,000
Nevada State AFLCIO$15,000
Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs$15,000
Bryce Harlow Foundation$15,000
NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures$15,000
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars$15,000
Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania$15,000
Foreign Policy Association$15,000
The Corbett Cawley Inaugural Committee$15,000
Flag Credit Union$15,000
National Board of Professional Teaching Standards$15,000
Metro Denver Economic Development Corp$12,500
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry Education Foundation$12,500
The Economic Club of Washington DC$12,000
The George Washington University$12,000
Public Lands Advocacy$11,000
Center for Legislative Energy and Environmental Research$10,785
Scientific Consulting Group$10,500
Foundation for American Communications$10,000
Virginia Sustainable Building Network$10,000
Institute for Policy Innovation$10,000
California Climate Action Registry$10,000
Montana Economic Developers Association$10,000
National Chamber Foundation$10,000
Unlocking Potential$10,000
National Association of Black Journalists$10,000
Center for Excellence in Education$10,000
Mahoning County Republican Party$10,000
The Horinko Group$10,000
Centennial Institute$10,000
Conference Group$10,000
Citizens for Sound Conservation$10,000
Congressional Award Foundation$10,000
Abate of Illinois$10,000
National Association of Energy Officials$10,000
Committee for Economic Development$10,000
Ohio Republican Party$10,000
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota$10,000
Jobs for America’s Graduates$10,000
A Better Missouri Nixon for Governor$10,000
Republican Governors Public Policy Committee$10,000
Council of State Chambers (COSC)$10,000
Kasich-Taylor New Day Inaugural Committee$10,000
Stop Oil Seeps California$10,000
University of Alaska Foundation$10,000
Federal Recycling and Remediation Coalition (Barnes & Thornburg)$10,000
Ohioans For Change$10,000
Volta Live Inc.$10,000
Latitude LLC$10,000
Texas Oil and Gas Association$10,000
Alliance for Consumer Education$10,000
Indiana Works$10,000
Hydrogen Sulfide Coalition$10,000
Gulf of Mexico Alliance$10,000
National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition$10,000
Science Spark$10,000
Colorado State University$10,000
Rockwood Labor Club$7,500
Women’s Energy Network of Houston$7,500
New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance$7,500
Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation$7,500
Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association$7,500
Climate Action Reserves$7,500
Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs$6,511
University of Texas at Austin$6,500
Hart Energy Publishing LLP$6,500
Waterfall Foundation$6,000
Ohio Oil & Gas Association$6,000
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber$6,000
Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors$6,000
American Society for Testing and Materials$6,000
New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce$5,500
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry$5,333
Utilities Telecom Council$5,100
National Conference of State Societies$5,000
Hispanic College Fund$5,000
Meridian International$5,000
Aspen Institute$5,000
American Oil & Gas Historical Society$5,000
National Association of Neighborhoods$5,000
Grand Total$43,446,878

990 Forms

Key People

API Leadership Team

Erik G Milito Y Y Y Y Y YGroup Director Upstream & Industry Operations
Frank J Macchiarola    Y Y YGroup Director Downstream and Industry Operations
Gerardo Uria Y Y Y   Director, Membership and Development
Harry M Ng Y     Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Office of the General Counsel
Jack Gerard Y Y Y Y Y YPresident & CEO
John D Modine  Y    Vice President, Global Industry Services
John Robertson Y Y Y Y Y YVice President & Chief Financial Officer Administration and Finance
Kyle B lsakower      YVice President Regulatory & Economic Policy. (Also oversees API‘s climate policy development[8]
Kyle Isakower Y Y Y Y Y Vice President, Regulatory & Economic Policy
Linda Rozett Y Y Y Y Y Vice President Communications
Lisa Salley    Y Y YVice President Global Industry Services
Louis Finkel  Y Y Y  Executive Vice President, Government Affairs. Advised oil and natural gas pipeline companies for two firms. [9]
Martin Durbin    Y Y YExecutive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer
Megan Bloomgren     Y YVice President Communications
Robert Greco Y Y Y   Group Director, Downstream and Industry Operations
Robin Rorick   Y Y Y YGroup Director Midstream and Industry Operations
Stacy Linden  Y Y Y Y YVice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Office of the General Counsel
Todd Snitchler      YGroup Director Market Development

*Jack Gerard announced on January 24, 2018 that he would step down as API‘s president. [67]

Officers, Trustees, Etc. (Via 990 forms)

David Seaton   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Marvin Odum   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Rex Tillerson   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Timothy C. Felt   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
W Herbert Hunt   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
David W Williams     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Jack Gerard     Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YPresident & CEO
John S Watson      Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Paul L Howes      Y Y Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
John Robertson       Y Y Y Y Y Y YVice President & Chief Financial Officer Administration and Finance
Gary R Heminger   Y Y Y Y  Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Harry N Pefanis        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
John B Hess        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
John T Gremp        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Joseph Bryant        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Karen Wright        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Stephen I Chazen        Y Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Al Monaco         Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
Greg C. Garland         Y Y Y Y YBoard Member
David J Lesar   Y Y Y Y Y Y  Y Y Y YBoard Member
Linda Rozett       Y Y  Y Y Y YVice President Communications
Virginia Gigi B Lazenby   Y Y Y Y  Y  Y Y Y YBoard Member
Douglas R Matthews        Y  Y Y Y YBoard Member
A. L. Walker          Y Y Y YBoard Member
John C Minge          Y Y Y YBoard Member
Khalid S Alnaji          Y Y Y YBoard Member
Martin S Craighead          Y Y Y YBoard Member
Ryan M Lance          Y Y Y YChairman Of The Board
Tracy W Krohn          Y Y Y YBoard Member
Doug J Suttles           Y Y YBoard Member
Gary G Rich           Y Y YBoard Member
Lee M Tillman           Y Y YBoard Member
Paul Stevens           Y Y YBoard Member
Ricardo Darre           Y Y YBoard Member
Richard Muncrief           Y Y YBoard Member
Robert Doug Lawler           Y Y YBoard Member
Roger Jenkins           Y Y YBoard Member
Stacy Linden           Y Y YVice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Office of the General Counsel
Thomas Burke           Y Y YBoard Member
Tim J Cutt           Y Y YBoard Member
Troy W Thacker           Y Y YBoard Member
David W Grzebinski            Y YBoard Member
Lorenzo Simonelli            Y YBoard Member
Paal Kibsgaard            Y YBoard Member
Russell K Girling            Y YBoard Member
Torgrim Reitan            Y YBoard Member
Kyle Isakower       Y Y Y Y Y  YVice President, Regulatory & Economic Policy
John D Modine     Y Y Y Y  Y Y  YVice President, Global Industry Services
Erik G Milito       Y Y  Y Y  YGroup Director Upstream & Industry Operations
Eric J Wohlschlegel        Y  Y Y  YSenior Director
Rolf W Hanson        Y  Y Y  YSenior Director
Charles Williams   Y Y      Y Y  YExec Dir Ctr for Offshore Safety
Robert Greco     Y Y Y Y Y  Y  YGroup Director, Downstream and Industry Operations
Howard J Feldman       Y Y   Y  YSenior Director
Louis Finkel           Y  YExecutive Vice President, Government Affairs
Martin Durbin       Y Y Y Y   YExecutive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer
Bruce Culpepper             YBoard Member
Dave A Hager             YBoard Member
David J Rintoul             YBoard Member
Erica S Bowman             YChief Economist
Frank J Macchiarola             YGroup Director Downstream and Industry Operations
Greg L Ebel             YBoard Member
Jose G Uria             YFormer key-Acting Vice President
Jose-Ignacio Sanz Saiz             YBoard Member
Lisa Salley             YVice President Global Industry Services
Robin Rorick             YGroup Director Midstream and Industry Operations
Steve Pastor             YBoard Member
J Larry Nichols Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Board Member
James P McGregor   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Board Member
Jack B Moore      Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Board Member
Bill Maloney        Y  Y Y Y Board Member
Harry M Ng Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Office of the General Counsel
Hank A True III   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Ray L Hunt   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Robert Bobby L Parker Jr   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Rod Nelson       Y Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Alan S Armstrong        Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Daniel W Rabun        Y Y Y Y  Board Member
John Bannerman        Y Y Y Y  Board Member
Peter Evensen        Y Y Y Y  Board Member
W Matt Ralls        Y Y Y Y  Board Member
G Steven Farris         Y Y Y  Board Member
John C Felmy     Y Y Y   Y Y  Chief Economist
David Fanta          Y Y  Board Member
Clarence P Cazalot Jr Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y   Chairman of the Board
James Hackett  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y   Board Member
Lamar McKay      Y Y Y Y Y   Board Member
Morten Arntzen      Y Y Y Y Y   Board Member
Nabeel M Amudi         Y Y   Board Member
James F Justiss Jr   Y Y Y Y Y Y  Y   Board Member
Drew P Cobbs      Y Y   Y   Executive Director, MD Petroleum Council
Aubrey McClendon          Y   Board Member
Ralph A Hill          Y   Board Member
Corbin J Robertson Jr   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y    Board Member
Chadwick C Deaton   Y Y  Y Y Y Y    Board Member
James J Mulva Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y     Board Member
Patrick D Daniel   Y Y Y Y Y Y     Board Member
Alvis Truman Hunt     Y Y Y Y     Senior Director
Tofig Al-Gabsani      Y Y Y     Board Member
Conrad A Lass        Y     Senior Director
Brenda S Hargett Y Y Y Y Y Y Y      Former Vice President
James E Ford Y  Y Y Y Y Y      Former Vice President
Jim C Craig Y  Y Y Y Y Y      Former Vice President
Av Jones   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
Bjourn Moller   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
Bruce C Gottwald   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
Frederic C Hamilton   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
John Miller   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
Kathleen Shanahan   Y Y Y Y Y      Board Member
John P Kerekes     Y Y Y      State Office Executive Director
Steve Malcolm     Y Y Y      Board Member
William E Albrecht     Y Y Y      Board Member
David M Wood      Y Y      Board Member
John M Yearwod      Y Y      Board Member
Peter D Kinnear      Y Y      Board Member
Byron M Cavaney Y Y Y Y Y Y       Former Pres/CEO
David O’Reily Y Y Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Michelle E Rinn Y Y Y Y Y Y       Corporate Sec & GRP Dir
Anthony Mayer   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Dalton J Boutte   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
George Kirkland   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
James E Nielson   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Kevin M Hostler   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Louis A Raspino   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Philip F Anschutz   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Randall K Eresman   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Ray R Irani   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Sidney J Jansma   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Thomas A Bannigan   Y Y Y Y       Board Member
Ali A Abuali     Y Y       Board Member
Douglas M Morris     Y Y       Group Director
Erin P Thompson     Y Y       Director
German Cura     Y Y       Board Member
John A Carrig     Y Y       Board Member
Merrill A Pete Miller     Y Y       Board Member
Michael L Platner     Y Y       Director
Michael J Dolan      Y       Board Member
Claiborne P Deming Y Y Y Y Y        Board Member
Daniel F McNease   Y Y Y        Board Member
Douglas L Rock   Y Y Y        Board Member
James J O’Brien   Y Y Y        Board Member
James L Gallogly   Y Y Y        Board Member
John M Duty   Y Y Y        Board Member
John Morgan   Y Y Y        Board Member
Jonathan P Whitworth   Y Y Y        Board Member
Joseph H Netherland   Y Y Y        Board Member
Karl F Kurz   Y Y Y        Board Member
Lew O Ward   Y Y Y        Board Member
Norm J Szydlowski   Y Y Y        Board Member
Peter Robertson   Y Y Y        Board Member
Robert A Malone   Y Y Y        Board Member
Sheldon R Erikson   Y Y Y        Board Member
Steven B Hinchman   Y Y Y        Board Member
Thomas P Richards   Y Y Y        Board Member
Joseph Alvardo     Y        Board Member
Katherine E Lewis     Y        Director
Kendra L Martin     Y        Director
RD Dan Nelson     Y        Board Member
Ziad Labban     Y        Board Member
John Hofmeister  Y Y Y         Board Member
Lynn Elsenhans Y  Y Y         Board Member
Andrew Slaughter   Y Y         Ex Officio
Byron Dunn   Y Y         Board Member
Carl Boetticher   Y Y         Ex Officio
Cortlandt S Dietler   Y Y         Board Member
Dave Sampson   Y Y         Ex Officio
Dawood Al-Dawood   Y Y         Board Member
Gerald T McPhee   Y Y         Ex Officio
Gordon M DeFilippo   Y Y         Ex Officio
Gregg J Davis   Y Y         Board Member
J Stephen Simon   Y Y         Board Member
James F Snyder   Y Y         Ex Officio
James R Buhrmaster   Y Y         Ex Officio
Jon A Marshall   Y Y         Board Member
Louie Ehrlich   Y Y         Ex Officio
Mark A Jackson   Y Y         Board Member
Michael C Linn   Y Y         Ex Officio
Michael McShane   Y Y         Board Member
Mohammad Al-Shammari  Y Y         Board Member
Patrick T Mulva   Y Y         Ex Officio
Randy Armstrong   Y Y         Ex Officio
Randy Limbacher   Y Y         Board Member
Richard Bird   Y Y         Ex Officio
Roy M Huffington   Y Y         Board Member
Russell E Ginn   Y Y         Board Member
Stephen A Elbert   Y Y         Board Member
Stephen F Gates   Y Y         Ex Officio
Steve Pryor   Y Y         Ex Officio
Todd R Schultz   Y Y         Ex Officio
Bobby Shackouls Y Y           Treasurer – Executive Committee
Lee R Raymond Y Y           Member – Executive Committee
Ross J Pillan Y Y           Member – Executive Committee
Betty Anthony Y            Group Director of Industry Operations and Upstream
Dale R Laurance Y            Member – Executive Committee
Ed Murphy Y            Group Director of Industry Operations and Downstream

Key Past Leadership


March 25, 2021

API announced in a press release that it would endorse a “carbon price policy.” [98]

“Confronting the challenge of climate change and building a lower-carbon future will require a combination of government policies, industry initiatives and continuous innovation,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers said. 

However, as noted at InfluenceMap, this announcement “needs to be viewed in the wider context of the organization’s long history of opposing effective action on climate change.” [99]

“A statement of theoretical support for a market-based carbon price is a long way from agreeing to what will likely need to be strong, binding rules to limit fossil fuel usage & methane emission,” said InfluenceMap Executive Director Dylan Tanner.
“As with all positive-sounding, top-line statements we’ve seen from fossil fuel interests recently, the focus needs to be on details and actions – not just the rhetoric.
“Carbon pricing is, after all, a broad concept.
“Embracing carbon pricing does not necessarily translate into support for effective climate policy until there is a specific piece of legislation or regulation to implement a price.” [99]

InfluenceMap highlighted a number of examples over the prior months of “API’s oppositional approach to proposed climate policy” such as API’s CEO Mike Sommers’ comment in a January 2021 American Energy Keynote Speech where he said scaling back fossil fuel development would  be the “surest way to bring (economic) recovery to a stop.” [99]

API described the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement as “aggressive” in January 2021. In November of 2020, API CEO Mike Sommers promised to fight back against the Biden Administration with every tool at its disposal” if they tried to limit oil and gas development on federal lands. [99]

As noted at The Washington Post, environment and climate groups expressed doubts that API’s draft endorsement was significant. [100]

Maya Golden-Krasner, deputy director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said “the API’s move would be little more than a public relations ploy, and the Biden administration shouldn’t be taking policy cues from the standard polluters’ playbook.” Golden-Krasner added that a “instead of letting producers buy their way out of climate accountability, we need strong regulations to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” [100]

However, The Washington Post noted “API’s biggest members have long been betting on carbon pricing and the likelihood that climate regulation would one day be adopted.” [100]

Oil giant Total, which vowed to combat climate change, quit API, saying it no longer represented its positions or interests. [100]

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sommers claimed the decision reflected a change in circumstances since API’s past opposition to carbon pricing. [101]

“As things have continued to evolve, we know that more needs to be done,” Mr. Sommers said. “We also know that climate change is real and we need to do more to address one of the marquee issues of our time.”

January 26, 2021

Following an announcement from newly-elected US President Joe Biden outlining executive orders for fossil fuel industry, including achieving a carbon-free power sector by 2035, API responded with claims that “Restricting natural gas and oil development on federal lands and waters risks hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in government revenue for education and conservation programs.” API released OnLocation analysis claiming, “U.S. energy leadership could be at stake if a federal leasing and development ban is enacted,” that “Nearly 1 million jobs could be lost by 2022,” among other claims. [95], [96], [97]

July 13, 2020

API removed “energy” from its logo, and introduced a new red, blue and gray logo E&E News reported. [92]

“As part of our logo redesign, we conducted research that found policymakers and global standards customers already had a strong association between API and energy and knew without noting the word that we were standard bearers for policies that support access to affordable, reliable and cleaner energy while providing safety and sustainability standards and certifications around the world,” API said in a statement to E&E News. [92]

E&E news noted that the change echoed a recent rebranding by the Texas-based Vistra Energy Corp. which also announced a switch to Vista Corp, saying energy is “most commonly used to refer to the petroleum/oil and gas sector, of which we are not a part.” [92]

Earlier in 2020, API also began using the phrase “natural gas and oil” rather than “oil and gas.” [92]

According to API, the new logo reflects “our industry’s laser-focus on the future, innovation and the evolving role of natural gas and oil in taking us on the journey.”

“In the 12 years since API last updated its brand, the U.S. shale revolution – enabled by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – has elevated the importance of our domestic natural gas and oil resources,” API wrote on its blog. [93]

June 24–25, 2020

API was highlighted in a lawsuit from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office that also called out Exxon Mobil Corporation, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Koch Industries, Inc., and the Koch-owned Flint Hills Resources LP and Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend for allegedly misleading consumers about climate change. [87]

“When corporations and trade associations break the law and hurt Minnesotans, it’s my job and my duty to hold them accountable. The fraud, deceptive advertising, and other violations of Minnesota state law and common law that the lawsuit shows they perpetrated have harmed Minnesotans’ health and our state’s environment, infrastructure, and economy,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison, as reported in the AG office press release. [88]

“Previously unknown internal documents were recently discovered that confirm that Defendants well understood the devastating effects that their products would cause to the climate, including Minnesota, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. But Defendants did not ever disclose to the public—or to Minnesotans—their actual knowledge that would confirm the very science they sought to undermine. Instead, Defendants, both directly and through proxies, engaged in a public-relations campaign that was not only false, but also highly effective. This campaign was intended to, and did, target and influence the public, and consumers, including in Minnesota,” the lawsuit reads. [89]

Discussing API‘s role:

API has been a member of at least five organizations that have promoted disinformation about fossil-fuel products to consumers, including the Global Climate Coalition, Partnership for a Better Energy Future, Coalition for American Jobs, Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, and Alliance for Climate Strategies. These front groups were formed to provide climate disinformation and advocacy from a seemingly objective source, when, in fact, they were financed and controlled by ExxonMobil and other sellers of fossil-fuel products. Defendants benefited from the spread of this disinformation.”

On Koch, the lawsuit suggests that the company is liable for the various actions of its numerous subsidiaries involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum products. It also notes:

“Koch also supports numerous foundations including the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Koch Institute, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Koch expects the foundations that it supports to fund groups that further its financial interests. Koch constructively controls how the foundations that it supports direct their philanthropic activities.”

It also notes that, like numerous other oil companies, “Koch also understood climate-change science, the connection to sales of its fossil fuel products, and the potential for catastrophic consequences before the science was widely understood by the general public.”

It highlights what appeared to be a coordinated effort by companies including Koch to “combat climate change ‘alarmists’ through a campaign focused on science, information dissemination, and politics.” It highlights a 2006 memo from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association that outlined how Koch Industries was working with other large corporations including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Southern Company, American Electric Power (AEP), and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Shortly after, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office joined in a similar lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell. The lawsuit alleges the four largest investor-owned oil and gas companies violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by promoting and selling fossil fuel products contributing to global warming, while knowing about the harmful consequences since at least the 1950s. [90]

The lawsuit highlights the industry’s use of fake grassroots groups, such as the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, which started out as a front group for tobacco giant Philip Morris in 1993. This group had transitioned to become the Advancement of Sound Science Center in 1997 and was run out of the home of climate science denier Steve Milloy, who most recently worked in public relations for coal company Murray Energy, before being disbanded. [90]

According to a press release from the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, “The [oil] companies not only employed the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition — a fake grassroots citizen group created by Big Tobacco as part of the industry’s misinformation campaign — they also funded and promoted some of the same scientists hired by tobacco companies. These scientists disputed the conclusions of climate researchers, despite not having any training in climate science themselves.” [91]

For decades, these oil and gas companies spent millions to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of profits,” said AG Racine. “The defendants violated the District’s consumer protection law by concealing the fact that using fossil fuels threatens the health of District residents and the environment. OAG filed this suit to end these disinformation campaigns and to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices.

March 20, 2020

The Independent reported the American Petroleum Institute had been accused of “wildly inflating” job numbers in the fracking industry. The report by Food & Water Watch concluded API had inflated the numbers in “a clear attempt to defend the economically struggling industry that is linked to air, water and climate pollution.” [84], [85]

The API had released a report claiming that more than 7.5 million jobs would be at risk from a fracking ban with 26,000 in Pennsylvania where the fracking industry is a key election issue. The new analysis from Food & Water Watch found that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on fracking differed significantly from API‘s numbers, and counts 636,000 total jobs, and 26,000 in Pennsylvania. [86]

FWW Research Director Alison Grass said: “It’s more important than ever to accurately assess how many workers are employed in the oil and gas fracking industries. For years, the industry has concocted wildly inflated employment numbers in an effort to blunt criticism of the toll that fracking has taken on our air, water, and climate. [84]

Our analysis offers convincing evidence that employment benefits of fracking have been overhyped to manipulate the public and policymakers. Frackers have been far more effective at creating illusions than jobs.” [84]

December 9, 2019

The Consumer Energy Alliance announced on its Facebook page that API had become an official member. One month after posting the news, the announcement had received one ‘like.’ [81]

September 9, 2019

API launched a series of ads on its YouTube channel touting emissions reductions by natural gas and oil companies. According to an API spokesman, the ads were produced to “provide balance to the energy debate as Congress returns and the presidential primary continues.” [79]

One of the videos, titled “We’re On It,” declared that America’s natural gas and oil companies were “leading the world in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest levels in a generation.” [80]

The ads were also being run on television, radio, in airports, and on billboards in Washington D.C. and New York. API claimed to be spending more than $1 million dollars on the campaign. [79]

September 13, 2017

API CEO Jack Gerard told reporters that while he takes climate change “seriously,” further deregulation is still necessary, for the economy to “really grow and flourish,” E&E News reported. [66]

“What we don’t support is unnecessary, redundant, costly regulations that provide no benefit to society, yet cost industry a lot,” Gerard said. “Our emissions of carbon are down to a 30-year low. That was brought to us primarily by cleaner-burning, fuel-efficient natural gas,” he said. “So when you put all that in context, I think we need to look at that holistically, but I think the deregulatory agenda needs to continue.”[ 66]

February 22 – 25, 2017

The American Petroleum Institute was an exhibitor at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), among a range of other conservative and pro-industry groups. [61]

February 5, 2017

API launched a new advertising campaign called Power Past Impossible to tout the uses of oil and natural gas. They released one of their ads during Super Bowl 51 (see video below).  According to The Hill, API estimated that the ad would have reached an estimated 110 million people. [60]

API plans to run the ad for several years in different media. They also launched a website,, as part of their campaign.

Power Past Impossible is the next step in API’s long-running effort to create energy awareness,” API‘s president, Jack Gerard, told reporters. [60]

The Power Past Impossible campaign features a few of the countless products and technological advances made possible from natural gas and oil, from life-saving medical devices to cosmetics to drug stores, from plastics in our toys to cell phones to 3D printers,” Gerard said. [60]

The Hill reported that Gerard said that while deregulation wasn’t the primary focus of the campaign, it tied in nicely.

Those regulatory burdens, when they’re unnecessary or duplicative, add costs that make us less competitive,” he said.[60]

We support appropriate regulation. We believe regulation has a role. What we need to do is fix it so it’s smart, commonsense regulation.” [60]

The API campaign also features a number of additional videos on a Power Past Impossible YouTube channel[60]

June 8, 2016

API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito claimed that government reports have already proven hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to be safe. Milito points to an EPA report that, while it did conclude that fracking could potentially impact drinking water, had also said it did not find “evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” [54]

“Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices,” Milito said. “Yet, since releasing the report, the EPA continues to face a barrage of politically based attacks attempting to tamper with scientific conclusions.” [54]

Notably, the EPA report that Milito links to includes a prominent notice which describes it as a “draft report,” of which peer review would begin in the first quarter of 2015. [55], [56]

“This assessment provides a review and synthesis of available information concerning the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources in the United States. This is a draft report that has been made available for public comment and shared with the EPA Science Advisory Board for expert peer review.” [55]

June 2016

The American Petroleum Institute (API) was among organizations named in a Massachusetts subpoena looking for communications between ExxonMobil and organizations denying climate change, reports The Washington Times. [58]

Organizations named in the Massachusetts subpoena include the following: [58]

This latest inquiry by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one in a series of investigations into what ExxonMobil knew about climate change and when, started by a coalition of attorneys general in the US. [59] 

May 23, 2016

The American Petroleum Institute released a statement celebrating the passage of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the U.S. House of Representatives which would revise Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export provisions. [57]

U.S. LNG exports will create American jobs, significantly strengthen the global energy marketplace, and bolster our strategic alliances,” API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel said. “Today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve LNG exports provisions as part of the defense authorization bill further cements the critical role U.S. energy plays at home and abroad.

It’s time for our nation to fully embrace the vast economic and geopolitical opportunities unleashed by the energy renaissance. U.S. LNG exports ensure that consumers across the globe have access to stable, diverse energy supplies, protect America’s role as a global energy leader, further enhance national security in the homeland and help our allies break dependence on nations that use their energy resources as a political weapon.” [57]

March 2016

A group of 21 kids and teenagers (including those as young as eight years old) are suing the US government and the fossil fuel industry over climate inaction, appearing in an Oregon courtroom on March 9. [47], [48]

“It may sound like a long shot, but fossil fuel industry groups are taking the lawsuit seriously,”The Nation writes. [47]

In November, lobbyists representing ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries, and energy companies petitioned the judge for permission to join the case alongside the government, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The groups called the case “extraordinary,” and asked the court to dismiss the case.  [47][48]

Among those suing the US government:

“Nathaniel, a teenager from Fairbanks whose asthma has worsened with the wildfires that now sweep across Alaska each summer; Alex, whose family farm in Oregon has been parched by record heat waves and drought; Journey, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe living in Hawaii, whose family fled from flooding in 2012; and Levi, an 8 year old who lives on a low-lying barrier island in Florida that is already grappling with sea level rise.” [47]

July 2015

The American Petroleum Institute has pushed to remove the crude oil export ban in the U.S. Jack Gerard, API President and CEO, said in a press conference “blocking trade in crude oil harms consumers when they fill up, it harms the economy, it inflates the trade deficit, it limits job creation, and it undermines America’s ability to protect our allies.”

The conference also featured EnCana Corporation President and CEO Doug Suttles, who they reported would be giving a “firsthand account of the North American Energy renaissance and why allowing crude exports is imperative to continuing our momentum.” [14]

The Congress Blog reports just a few risks of lifting the ban, including a huge increase in dangerous rail traffic: [15]

“[T]he hazardous increases in oil production that could come with the removal or weakening of the crude export ban presents much greater dangers that simply cannot be ignored. Everyday, dangerous fracking wells, sprawling rail lines carrying so-called ‘bomb trains’ and a network of leaking pipelines threaten our communities with spills and explosions with far-too-frequent regularity. If the highest estimates of increased oil production are realized, eliminating the crude oil export ban could lead to as much as a doubling of crude-by-rail traffic from today’s already perilous levels.”

May 2015

As of July, 2015, there had been six accidents involving oil trains where tank cars derailed and were punctured and oil was spilled since the beginning of the year. In the first five, there were also fires and explosions. [16]

All six oil train derailments involved new 1232 model train cars that the American Petroleum Institute is suing to keep on the tracks longer than existing timelines presented in the new oil-by-rail regulations. [17]

As reported in the New York Times, API has “long argued that forcing oil producers and shippers to use newer tank cars and replace older models would impose high costs on the industry and lead to a shortfall in tank car capacity.”

Their petition would challenge the government’s timeline to upgrade/retrofit older tank cars with newer safety features to prevent spills and derailments in the future. It also challenges a requirement that tank cars be equipped with new electronic braking systems or be faced with operational restrictions.

February 2015

The American Petroleum Institute released an updated “Primer” (PDF) on Hydraulic Fracturing, bearing the same title as their previous reports (“Hydraulic Fracturing: Unlocking America’s Natural Gas Resources”). According to the report, Fracturing is “largely responsible for changing America’s energy narrative from one of limited options to one of nearly limitless plenty.”

API makes the claim that “There are zero confirmed cases of groundwater contamination” due to hydraulic fracturing. They also divert blame of earthquakes caused by fracturing, citing studies that found it was “impossible to say with a high degree of certainty whether or not these earthquakes were triggered by natural means or by the nearby hydraulic-fracturing operation.” According to API, Fracturing is a “Safe, proven technology.”

Since the API‘s Report, the Environmental Protection Agency has released a long-awaited draft of its assessment of fracking’s impact on drinking water. The EPA fracking assessment found that fracking indeed contaminates drinking water: “From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources,” the EPA wrote. [18]

October 2013

API launched a campaign in South Portland with the goal of influencing a referendum to ban tar sands in the area. The referendum was the result of local activists gathering almost 4,000 signatures in their city of about 25,000 to get the issue on the ballot.

API backed a professionally run public relations, voter outreach and get-out-the-vote effort to urge citizens to vote against the referendum. In mailings and open letters to the residents of South Portland, the campaign claimed that there were no plans to bring tar sands to South Portland. [19]

One stated (emphasis added):

“Some of you may be concerned about tar sands, which may have prompted you to sign a Waterfront Protection Ordinance petition. But the ordinance is not about tar sands.”

In addition to suggesting the referendum was unrelated to tar sands, they claimed the ordinance would shut down the port’s existing oil operations and cost local people their jobs.

According to a June, 2014 report by the Environment Maine Research and Policy Centre titled “Inside the Big Oil Playbook: (PDF) the API spent over $750,000 to defeat the ballot measure (which was defeated by fewer than 200 votes). [20], [21]

December 16, 2011

Jack Gerard spoke at a press briefing teleconference on oil sands where he criticized President Obama’s decision to delay the Keystone XL project.

He claimed that Obama’s decision was “driven by politics” and that environmental studies had already found that there would be “no significant impacts’ on the environment” by the pipeline. [22]

July 19, 2010

The API released a “primer” (PDF) on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that concludes (based on two studies) that there has been “no instance of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing,” and that there were “no significant environmental risks as a result of proper hydraulic fracturing.” [23]

DeSmogBlog investigated the environmental impacts of fracking and came to a different conclusion: It is becoming increasingly clear that the unconventional gas boom is happening too fast, too recklessly and with insufficient concern for the potential cumulative impacts on our most critical resources – clean air, safe drinking water and a stable climate.

API spent $1.9 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on hydraulic fracturing as well as other issues including offshore oil drilling, and clean water and air standards. [24]

April 2009

API sent a letter to members of Congress critical of the Obama administration:

“The US oil and natural gas industry has the expertise and technology to produce the energy we need to fuel economic growth, create jobs, generate significant revenues for local, state and federal governments, and bolster our national security. However, our companies cannot do so if held back by harmful, counter-productive taxes and are restricted from access to domestic oil and natural gas resources that the country urgently needs. … If imposed, these taxes and fees could have a debilitating effect on our economy, when our nation can least afford it. They would reduce investment in new energy supplies, meaning less energy produced for American consumers. We cannot tax our way out of our energy problems.” [30]

April 20, 2009

API protested the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endangered public health and could be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Jack Gerard of API concluded that “The Clean Air Act was created to address local and regional air pollution, not the emission of carbon dioxide and other global greenhouse gases,” as reported in the Oil & Gas Journal [31]

November 2008

In response to the November 2008 election of Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice-president, API released a statement in the name of their CEO, Jack Gerard, saying:

“The American people have spoken loud and clear that they want politicians to put aside partisan bickering… . The oil and natural gas industry stands ready to help put America’s vast energy resources to good use, strengthening our nation’s economy and energy security, and providing good jobs for Americans across the country.” [32]

Gerard earlier criticized Obama’s platform, saying “Obama’s plan to impose a windfall-profits tax on oil companies would harm one of the few industries that are thriving” in the economic crisis. [33], [39]

January 31, 2003

API partially funded a controversial paper (PDF) authored by climate change skeptics Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas that comes to the conclusion that the climate hasn’t changed in the last 2000 years. [34]

The study, published in Energy & Environment, notes that many parts of the world showed medieval warming that exceeded the warming observed in the 20th century. [35]

March 21, 2002

The API produced a 16-minute video titled “Fuel-less: you can’t be cool without fuel,” which was distributed through the National Science Teachers Association. The film starts with the line “you’re not going to believe this, but everything everything I have that’s really cool comes from oil!” [62]

The video was also available on the API-owned website The website describes its aim as to provide teachers and students with materials on “the vital role of oil and natural gas in modern life.” According to a WHOIS lookup, the domain for Classroom Energy was registered by the American Petroleum Institute on March 21, 2002. [36]

An API memo leaked to the media in 1998 explained API‘s plan to target schools:
“Informing teachers/students about uncertainties in climate science will begin to erect barriers against further efforts to impose Kyoto-like measures in the future.” [37] now redirects to

Early 1998

As reported by the New York Times, the American Petroleum Institute developed a communications plan to challenge climate change science. A small group met including representatives from Exxonmobil, Chevron, the Southern Company (a large US coal company), the American Petroleum Institute and others from a variety of conservative think tanks including the George C Marshall Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow — Many of which have received significant funding from the fossil fuel industry. [38]

The plan they drew up, leaked to Greenpeace (view documents here), proposed:

‘…a national media relations programme to inform the media about uncertainties in climate science; to generate national, regional and local media on the scientific uncertainties and thereby educate and inform the public, stimulating them to raise questions with policymakers.’ The plan would roll out up to and beyond the UNFCCC meeting (COP4) later that year in Buenos Aires.

According to the plan, “Victory will be achieved” when:

  • “Average citizens understand (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties
  • becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom’
  • Media ‘understands (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
  • Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appear to be out of touch with reality.”

Part of the strategy was to co-ordinate “a complete scientific critique of the IPCC research and its conclusions” and to enable decision makers to raise “such serious questions about the Kyoto treaty’s scientific underpinnings that American policy makers not only will refuse to endorse it, they will seek to prevent progress towards implementation at the Buenos Aires meeting in November, or through other way.”

They would also recruit and train five “independent scientists,” described as “new faces… without a long history of visibility in the climate debate” who would participate in media outreach with the aim to “maximise the impact of scientific views consistent with ours, with Congress, the media and other key audiences” as well as specifically targeting students and teachers in order to “erect a barrier against further efforts to impose Kyoto-like measures in the future.”


API and the Oil Industry Information Committee sponsored a cartoon titled “Destination Earth” to promote the petroleum industry. According to the National Film Preservation Foundation, the film is a “Science-fiction-influenced cartoon sponsored by petroleum producers to lionize their industry and promote free enterprise.” [94]

Destination Earth Sponsored by API

In the cartoon, according to the Film Preservation Society description, ”’Colonel Cosmic,’ an astronaut from the totalitarian planet Mars, flies to Earth, where he discovers cheap oil and the market economy. Returning home, he leads a revolution and frees Martian entrepreneurs to begin oil exploration, start small businesses, and lead the planet out of economic stagnation.” The cartoon played at New York’s Paramount Theatre before being distributed more widely. [94]

American Petroleum Institute Contact & Location

The address and phone number for the American Petroleum Institute (API) was as follows as of May, 2016: [51]

1220 L Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005-4070

Phone 202-682-8000

Virginia Energy Citizens

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is a sponsor of Virginia Energy Citizens, a group describing itself as a grassroots coalition.

Virginia Energy Citizens’ state coordinator Miles Morin attended the July 2015 meeting of the Northern Virginia Tea Party where he was originally billed as speaking on how “the radical environmental movement poses a serious threat to our freedoms, our property.” The online initiation was later revised to read how Morin would speak on how to tell “local, state and federal officials why you support pro-energy policies.” [13]

Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a Washington-based watchdog group, described API‘s relationship with Virginia Energy Citizens. He says lobbyists and paid consultants are now not only shaping public opinion with advertising, but also attended meetings and passing themselves off as grassroots activists (a “new” strategy):

“That’s clearly deceptive,” Holman said. “Not only are they trying to deceive the Tea Party activists, they’ll also be deceiving Congress at the same time.”  [13]

Classroom Energy!

Website run by API to inform teachers and students of the “vital role of oil and natural gas in modern life.”

API Members

The American Petroleum Institute’s members include major oil, gas, and coal companies. [46]

Between 2006 and 2017, API has reported over 1,100 unique member organizations. View the attached spreadsheet for a complete list of the American Petroleum Institute’s members year over year (.xlsx)[46]

Some notable examples below: [46]

SIEMENS          YY
POSCO         Y Y
CHIEF OIL & GAS    Y       
GE MOTORS YY         
TOTAL SAY           

Social Media


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