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Drilling Down on Service Quality with API Spec Q2

Posted by Oscar Combs in Blog, Home Page, Oil and Gas 05 Jun 2020


On April 20, 2010, the sudden explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig resulted in the deaths of 11 workers, the serious injury of 17 workers and a massive oil spill of over four million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico. This tragedy killed workers, damaged their livelihoods, contaminated wildlife and is recognized as the biggest environmental disaster in United States history. It also interrupted oil and gas operations, as a temporary ban was put on offshore drilling.


In response to this disaster, regulatory bodies recognized the need for organizations to put a greater focus on effective risk management. They determined that risk not only needed to be identified and addressed in their operations but in their supply chains as well. This led to an increased demand for suppliers to implement and achieve certification to a management system, such as ISO 9001 or API Spec Q1. At the time, the standards were tailored towards manufacturing organizations. The American Petroleum Institute (API), the only association that represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry, accelerated its work on publishing a standard for the execution of oil and natural gas service suppliers. This led to the publication of API Specification Q2, the quality management system for service supply organizations for the petroleum and natural gas industries.


What is API Spec Q2 – Quality Management System Specification for Service Supply Organizations?

API Spec Q2 first edition the first-ever quality management system (QMS) standard developed specifically for service companies to the petroleum and natural gas industry. The publication of API Q2 represents a major shift in focusing on the quality provided by service supply organizations. API Q2 applies to organizations that supply services for the upstream oil and gas industry, including:

• Drilling contractors,

• Service companies,

• Well construction,

• Intervention,

• Production,

• Abandonment,

• Well servicing,

• Inspection and testing services,

• Equipment rental companies,

• Equipment repair and maintenance companies,

• Coating and finishing services and

• Welding services.


API Spec Q2 also applies to organizations that provide service-related products. Service-related products are defined as materials, equipment and software used in the execution of a service.


Major Differences Between API Spec Q1 and API Spec Q2

While API Spec Q2 takes to a similar approach as API Spec Q1 to quality, there are major differences. One major difference is that API Spec Q1 quality management system is for organizations that manufacture products for the oil and gas industry. API Spec Q2 has been designed to apply specifically to service supply organizations. The requirements of API Q2 are designed to minimize the likelihood of nonconformities in the execution of a service. Another major difference between API Spec Q1 vs. API Spec Q2 is that API Q2 does not allow organizations to claim an exclusion for activities it specifically addresses.


Tangible Benefits of an API Spec Q2 QMS

API Spec Q2 certified organization have demonstrated their commitment to supplying the oil and gas industry with the highest quality services. API Spec Q2 certification brings tangible business benefits to service supply organizations, including:

1. Meet oil and gas industry requirements and customer demands

2. Attract more lucrative customers

3. Increase the creditability of your services

4. Increase profitability by reducing rework and waste

5. Improve operations and reduce risks

6. Reduce risk and improve operations


API Spec Q2 1st Edition Overview

Key requirements of the API Spec Q2 QMS specification include:

  • Management Responsibility – Top management will need to have an active role in ensuring the availability of resources, and implementing, maintaining and improving the quality management system. This includes effectively communicating critical aspects of the QMS, such as the quality policy.
  • Personnel Competency and Training – The specification states that employees performing activities will need to define competency, identity required training and provide training. Records indicating the determination of employee competency based on their education, training, skills and experience will need to be maintained.
  • Contract Review – Documented procedures will need to be established for the review of requirements, prior to the organization’s commitment that they can provide services.
  • Risk Assessment and Management – A documented procedures to control risk throughout service execution will need to be maintained.
  • Design and Development – By limiting an exclusion to design and develop for service organizations, API Spec Q2 helps organizations identify their critical process resulting in reduced risk and improved controls. This includes determining the required planning, inputs, controls, outputs, verification, final review, approval and managing changes.
  • Contingency Planning – Contingency planning will need to be integrated into services, and other supporting processes between suppliers and customers. This should include measures for incident and disruption prevention and mitigation. The outputs of the contingency planning are required to be documented and communicated to internal and external parties, in an effort to minimize the likelihood of disruption of the service.
  • Purchasing – For critical services and SRP’s, API Q2 specifies that an evaluation and onsite audits need to be conducted. Criticality is to be determined by your organization and can be based on if you consider them essential or needed for a stated purpose or task.
  • Execution of Service – Organizations will need to identify and document the required activities and documentation for service compliance in a service quality plan. These are required to be customer-specific for the service being performed and take into account any environmental and operational conditions. Service quality plans should establish the procedures, resources, processes, and any required activities for controlling the quality requirements.
  • Identification and Traceability – Organizations will need to establish identification controls to clearly identify all stages of delivery, installation, repair, maintenance and redress.
  • Preventative Maintenance, Inspection and Test Program (PMITP) – A documented procedure is required for the PMITP. It is required to address record-keeping requirements, inspection, maintenance, redress, repair, makeup, testing and acceptance criteria for service-related products.
  • Service Performance Validation – The requirements for the validation of services differ from product validation. Service validation is required to occur during and after the execution of services.

How to Achieve API Spec Q2 Certification

Service supply organizations for the upstream oil and natural gas industry interested in API Spec Q2 certification should follow the following steps:

1. Perform a gap analysis to determine any gaps between your current operations and the API Spec Q2 requirements.

2. Identify the required documentation for API Spec Q2. Check out this article for a full list of the required documentation.

3. Design and develop the required procedures and forms. Our API Spec Q2 documentation package is a cost-effective solution that can help jumpstart the implementation process.

4. Focus on successfully implementing your API Spec Q2 QMS over a 4 month period.

5. Perform an API Spec Q2 internal audit to monitor and measure the effectiveness of the QMS. This may require employees undergoing additional internal auditor training.

6. Conduct an API Spec Q2 management review of your system, and maintain records.

7. Submit an API application, and undergo Stage 1 and Stage 2 certification audits. Watch our webinar for key strategies on how to pass your certification body audit, stress-free.

8. Successfully achieve API Spec Q2 certification!



It is critical that operators and service supply organizations implement API Spec Q2, not just for credibility, but to avoid future disasters. Even after the devastation of the BP blowout, we continue to see avoidable incidents in industry news. An API Spec Q2 QMS allows organizations to drill down to discover a standardized and systematic method for delivering high-quality services. Interested in learning more about API Spec Q2 certification? With a 100% Client Certification Rate, our consultants are ready to put their expertise to work for your organization. Contact us to speak with an API Spec Q2 expert.



3 tips for preparing your team to undergo a certification body audit.

Victoria Ontiveros | Marketing Coordinator 

Victoria focuses on creating quality educational content that provides value to current and potential clients. By collaborating with members of leadership and sales, she is able to develop informative articles that answer common questions and connect with current trends.

Victoria earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology with an emphasis in communications from Texas A&M University.

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