In the 1960's, the American Petroleum Institute (API) in conjunction with the AAPG Committee on Statistics for Exploratory Drilling began collecting data on wells drilled in the United States. This committee expanded its focus to become the Committee on Statistics of Drilling (CSD). To uniquely identify each well reported, an "API Number" was defined. The 10-digit number consisted of a 2-digit state code, the 3-digit FIPS county code, and a 5 digit, unique serial number for the well. Additional digits supplied identification for redrill and sidetrack operations. When the API number was adopted in the mid-1960's, Kentucky adopted the 5-digit permit number issued by the Division of Oil and Gas as the unique serial identifier portion of the API number.
The use of the permit for Kentucky wells had two consequences. Permits issued prior to July 1, 1960 contain letters and can not be used. No permit was ever issued for the majority of wells drilled before about 1955. There may be as many as 80,000 or more wells for which no API number exists.
The current (and unofficial) solution is to employ a unique serial identifier assigned to each entry in the Kentucky Geological Survey oil and gas well database at the time of data entry. This number is known as the record number and is either "Record_number" or "recno" in the database. Each of the various data types (well identification, location, completion, records available, etc.) are linked to one another by this record number. In addition, the scanned image data available through the oil and gas well search web interface is named using a derivative of the record number. An ArcView shape file of basic well identification and completion data is available free of charge, see KYOG83.ZIP. An example of making a map and using the data is available online.
API state codes are derived from an alphabetic listing of the 48 contiguous states plus the District of Columbia. Alaska (50) and Hawaii (51) have been appended to the list. The state code for Kentucky is 16. The Federal Information Processing System (FIPS) county codes are available online. For Kentucky wells with a numeric permit, an API number can be generated by concatenating "16", the 3-digit FIPS county code, and the permit. The permit must be right justified and padded on the left with "0" (zero) to a length of exactly 5 characters. The API number for permit 1234, Allen County, Kentucky would be 1600301234.
NEW Download the Kentucky oil and gas well shape file for a database of record numbers and the corresponding API numbers.