Reading Your Royalty Statement: API Numbers

Reading Your Royalty Statement: API Numbers

Reading Your Royalty Statement: API Numbers

Each oil and gas well in the United States is assigned an API number.  API stands for the American Petroleum Institute, a century-old trade association that has implemented nationally recognized oil and gas industry standards.  API numbers often appear in royalty statements and correspondence with your oil and gas operator.  Understanding these identifiers will assist you in becoming a more informed mineral owner.

An API number contains 10-14 digits which are divided in sections to designate each well’s location, age, and other characteristics.

For instance, a simple API number will have three sections as follows:


  • The number “47” indicates that the well is located in West Virginia (i.e. the 47th state when listed alphabetically).
  • The next number “051” indicates the well’s county location. Every county in West Virginia is assigned a unique three-digit number. The County Codes are odd numbers, beginning with 001 (Barbour County) continuing alphabetically to 109 (Wyoming County).  In the above example, County Code “051” means the well is situated in Marshall County, WV.
  • Finally, the last five-digit number “00001” indicates the unique well number. Well numbers are ordered sequentially in the order in which they are issued.  Accordingly, the number “00001” would indicate the first registered well in Marshall County, West Virginia.

API numbers are important for tracking and production of oil and gas wells over time.  Regulators record and maintain data for each API well for various purposes, including tracking production history, compliance with regulations, and ensuring that oil and gas wells are properly plugged and abandoned at the end of their useful life.

Mineral owners can utilize this information to ensure that their royalty payments are being calculated correctly or to negotiate favorable leasing terms. Some oil and gas-producing states (e.g. Ohio) provide an online database which allows the public to access useful data on their mineral interests. API numbers allow you to pinpoint critical information on the status, location, production, and operation of wells encompassed by your oil and gas ownership.

If you have concerns about the proper calculation of your royalty interests, we would be happy to take your call. Get in touch today.