What is the Difference Between ISO 9001 and API Q1/Q2?


ISO 9001 and API Q1/Q2 are both Quality Management System (QMS) standards.


The main difference between ISO 9001 and API Q1/Q2 is that ISO 9001 can be applied broadly across industries while API Q1 and Q2 are specific to the oil and gas industry and include additional requirements to address the unique risks and quality concerns of that industry.


If your organisation is seeking to establish a QMS, it’s essential to consider both the industry-specific risks and the broad principles of each standard that apply to your operations.

ISO 9001: The Universal Quality Management Standard

ISO 9001 is a widely recognised and adopted international standard that defines criteria for a quality management system (QMS).


It is used by organisations to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory demands.


The standard is generic and intended to apply to any organisation, regardless of its size, industry, or the nature of its business.


Key Features:


  • Customer Focus: ISO 9001 ensures that customers get consistent, good-quality products and services.


  • Leadership: This principle involves having a unified direction or mission that’s understood and followed by everyone in the organisation.


  • Engagement of People: It ensures that all people in the organisation are competent, empowered, and engaged in delivering value.



  • Improvement: The standard emphasises the need for continual improvement.

Further Reading: What is ISO 9001? The Key to Mastering Quality Management

API Spec Q1/Q2: Tailored for the Oil and Gas Industry

API Spec Q1:

Designed for manufacturing organisations within the oil and natural gas industry, API Spec Q1 encompasses all the ISO 9001 requirements with additional enhancements.


Key Enhancements over ISO 9001:


  • Risk Assessment and Management: API Q1 includes provisions for risk assessment, addressing the high-risk environment of the oil and gas industry.


  • Product Reliability: The standard has stringent requirements to ensure the reliability of the equipment and materials produced.


  • Contingency Planning: Given the critical nature of the industry, Q1 places a strong emphasis on planning for emergencies and unexpected situations.


API Spec Q2:

This is the first international QMS specification for service supply organisations to the oil and natural gas industry, focusing on upstream and downstream services.


Key Features:


  • Service Quality: It specifies requirements for service quality within the industry.


  • Risk Management: Like Q1, Q2 emphasises risk assessment and management.


  • Service Execution: The standard dictates the need for consistent and reliable service execution in the field.

Choosing the Right Standard for Your Organisation

While ISO 9001 can serve as a foundational QMS for organisations of all types, the oil and gas industry presents unique challenges and risks, which are specifically addressed by API Q1 and Q2.


If your organisation is involved in manufacturing or providing services to the petroleum and natural gas industry, understanding the additional requirements of API Q1/Q2 can be crucial for your quality management process.


For those in the oil and gas sector, an evaluation of API Q1 or Q2 standards may be the next step.


Feel free to reach out if you need support with quality management system implementation.

More insights

QMS Documentation Essentials

Explore our in-depth guide on QMS Documentation. Discover strategies for effective quality management and continuous improvement in your organisation.

Picture of Peter Shields
Peter Shields
Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.
Share this article

Getting started with the Agility System

Book a live demo to see how the Agility System can transform your organisation 

Peter Shields

Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.

Request Demo

By submitting this form, you are agreeing that BusinessPort may store and process your personal data as described in the BusinessPort Privacy Notice.

Document Management Ebook

 Understand the importance of implementing a document management system. Fill in the form below to get your copy.