The American Petroleum Institute in a March 20 letter to President Donald Trump requested that the administration temporarily waive “non-essential compliance obligations” and provide timely guidance to “critical infrastructure personnel” as the oil and natural gas industry responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The oil and natural gas industry, like other critical infrastructure sectors, is working tirelessly to ensure there is no interruption in our supply chains as a result of this pandemic,” API President Michael Sommers wrote in the letter. “[T]he oil and natural gas industry needs to maintain safe and reliable operations, taking into consideration that there may be limited personnel capacity to manage the full scope of the current regulatory requirements.”

As such, the API is requesting assistance in temporarily waiving non-essential compliance obligations from the relevant agencies and departments within the administration. Such non-essential compliance obligations may include record-keeping, training, or other non-safety critical requirements

“In the coming days and as events warrant, we will be providing these government entities with greater specificity regarding this request,” Sommers wrote. However, these types of requests could include, but are not limited to:

  • Hours of service limitations and non-essential inspections by the Department of Transportation;
  • Reporting and auditing requirements, leasing and permitting considerations, and non-essential training by the Department of the Interior; and
  • Foreign sourced goods and resolution of visa issues by the Department of Homeland Security/Department of State.

The API has also requested in the letter critical infrastructure designations, asking that the administration “ensure that state and local governments receive timely guidance on critical infrastructure personnel,” including its more than 600 API member companies. “Our supply chain is robust and complex,” Sommers wrote. “Ensuring that our entire supply chain is protected from these impacts to the fullest extent possible is of great importance and will enable our industry to continue to provide the fuels that power our communities.”