The Standards Alliance Phase II—a partnership program between the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—recently collaborated with ASTM International (ASTM), the American Petroleum Institute (API), the National Standards Body of Cote D’Ivoire (CODINORM), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Senegalese Association of Standards (ASN), and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to organize a U.S. Study Tour for West African representatives of the petroleum industry. Designated as “Focal Points,” the eight representatives also participated in the ASTM D.02 Technical Committee (TC) meetings on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants, in Denver, CO.
Organized by ANSI and ASTM, the U.S. Study Tour built on training activities that have taken place over the last three years of the Standards Alliance Phase II project, which aims to increase understanding of relevant international standards for petroleum and promote harmonization of standards activities in West Africa. This is the first study tour held by the Standards Alliance, and the first activity attended by USAID, via senior standards specialist Daniel Vazquez.
The tour took place in conjunction with the ASTM D.02 TC meeting, on June 24-29, 2023. All eight Focal Points from the four countries participating attended the TC meetings, along with ANSI and USAID staff. During the duration of the TC meetings, the Focal Points came together to discuss applicable ASTM and API standards and testing protocols while attending key sessions of the TC, exposing them to the voting process and internal discussions that take place during these committees.
The Study Tour also included site visits to Peak Petroleum, where the Focal Points inspected various testing equipment, witnessed practical demonstrations, and spoke with lab technicians about testing method challenges for petroleum products in the U.S.
In addition to attendance at the TC meetings and site visit, the participants were able to interact one-on-one with public and private sector representatives and petroleum experts, including representatives from API. This was facilitated by Jim Olshefsky, ASTM director of external relations and Augustus Wiredu, ASTM’s local technical consultant for the project. The Focal Points joined sessions led by ASTM Subcommittees (SCs) on Standards Writing, Proficiency Testing, Statistical Quality Control, Recycled Products, and Official Voter Registration. As well, ANSI delivered presentations on the Institute’s role and details on the Standards Alliance Program, including its goals, how the program measures impact, and success stories after its implementation.
On the final day of the TC meetings, the Focal Points provided a presentation to the Coordinating Subcommittee on International Standards and Related Activities on the standardization process on petroleum in their countries, and how the assistance of ANSI, ASTM, and the Standards Alliance program has made them more effective.
Presentations highlighted the following notable outcomes resulting from the project discussions:
The U.S. Study Tour marks the last training event under the Standards Alliance Phase II for the harmonization of petroleum standards in West Africa activity. Both ANSI and ASTM will still coordinate with Wiredu and the Focal Points to gather updates on the implementation of the standards discussed and presented during the three-year project, until the 2026 end date of the Standards Alliance Phase II.