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API dials back ‘energy’ branding

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API dials back ‘energy’ branding

The American Petroleum Institute unveiled a new red, blue and gray logo yesterday, and the oil and gas trade group also has removed “energy” from its main public mark.

“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.

This is at least the second time in recent weeks that a prominent name in the energy industry has dropped “energy” from a public logo or brand. Vistra Energy Corp., a Texas-based electricity generator and retailer, recently announced a switch to Vistra Corp., saying energy is “most commonly used to refer to the petroleum/oil and gas sector, of which we are not a part” (Energywire, June 30).

API touted its rebranding on Twitter yesterday by using a GIF to illustrate changes, including a curve in the letters that form API. One version of the new logo features the group’s full name — American Petroleum Institute — in gray letters to the right of API, which is largely red and blue. By contrast, an older red and white API logo had gray letters spelling out “energy” to the left.

API, which is based in Washington, has long been a lightning rod as a defender of the oil and gas industry and a target for critics concerned about fossil fuels’ impact on climate change. Mike Sommers became API’s CEO about two years ago, saying in a statement in 2018 that he looked forward to “representing an industry that is directly enhancing the lives and improving opportunities for Americans and people around the world.”

Early this year, E&E News highlighted API’s use of the phrase “natural gas and oil” — including by Sommers — instead of the more familiar “oil and gas” wording (Energywire, Jan. 8). That shift coincides with a continuing push to tout the benefits of gas, a unit of which has lower carbon dioxide emissions when burned than coal, but which remains a target for environmentalists.

But API doesn’t appear to be scrubbing the word “energy” from its public outreach as an association with about 600 members, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.


For one thing, its Twitter handle remained @APIenergy as of yesterday.


And Megan Bloomgren,senior vice president for communications at API, mentioned “energy” four times in a blog post yesterday.

“The clean lines and color scheme match our belief that meeting the nation’s energy needs is unifying — as is creating opportunity for all Americans, as energy does,” Bloomgren wrote.

She added: “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.”

On Twitter, API proclaimed that its new logo “reflects the industry’s growth and showcases the modern, future-focused, collaborative, problem solving, and nonpartisan nature of our work.”

That gave critics an opportunity to respond to the oil and gas group.

“How out of touch are you!” tweeted a commenter named Holly Cox. “You think a stupid logo shows that you’re ‘future-focused’?! How about you STOP killing our planet, keep #fossilfuels in the ground, & work to save our earth & get us out of this #ClimateEmergency!”

In her blog post, Bloomgren called the API logo strong, bold and fresh.

“Looking forward, API will continue to provide the energy that is essential to our economic recovery and environmental solutions, meeting the world’s long-term need for natural gas and oil, today and tomorrow,” she wrote.

Reporter Carlos Anchondo contributed.

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