Baker & O'Brien, Inc.

Experience

Experience

 

Case Attribute: Product Quality

Article
Air Emissions Dispute
Reviewed air emissions data and categorized events; provided understanding and analysis to air events with respect to process equipment and refinery and chemical plant operations.
Environmental , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Product Quality
Bitumen Economics/Refinery Reconfiguration
Using the PRISM refinery simulator, calculated the economics of replacing the current refinery crude slate with Canadian synthetic-bitumen (syn-bit) or condensate-bitumen (dil-bit) blends. Cases were considered with and without capital investments and potential investment costs were also estimated.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Bitumen Processing Study
Used our proprietary PRISM refinery model to determine the bitumen processing capability of several U.S. refineries.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Product Quality
Bitumen Technology Evaluation
Provided technical expertise in evaluating new technology for upgrading Canadian Oil Sands bitumen to saleable products.  Reviewed technical reports and presentations, and prepared an assessment of the technical risks associated with developing a commercial scale unit.
Product Quality
Bitumen Valuation
Reviewed historical supply and demand of high TAN crude oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries and addressed future trends which would impact a TAN discount.  Estimated a TAN discount using two methodologies:  Market based approach and Return on Capital investment approach.  Calculated the impact on bitumen value as a result of asphaltenes content.  Calculated the value added by a diluent recovery unit in a Canadian Oil Sands upgrader.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Bitumen Valuation Study
Developed a methodology using a marker crude oil to value bitumen at the production site.  Methodology addressed differences in qualities (sulfur, acid number) and refining yields.  Transportation costs from the valuation hub to the production site were developed.  Blending methodologies were evaluated to develop bitumen blends for comparison to the marker crude oil.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
California Crude Oil Study
Developed a detailed California crude oil supply, demand, and transportation balance (by refinery) for a mid-size independent California crude oil producer. Results were used in client's annual report for shareholders and security analysts.
Crude Oil Valuation , Product Quality
Clean Fuels Studies
Assisted industry trade associations and government agencies in evaluating issues related to the transition to new clean fuels specifications in the U.S. Work included modeling of refinery operations to determine the impact of the new specifications on manufacturing costs for ultra-low sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels.
Product Quality
Crude Oil Contamination Dispute
Investigated a claim that refinery equipment damages were allegedly caused by a sour crude producer that injected high-metals crude into a ultra-sweet crude gathering pipeline.  Case settled prior to deposition and trial.
Pipeline , Product Quality
Crude Oil Evaluation
Evaluated several processing alternatives and combinations of various refining assets located in the Caribbean and on the U.S. Gulf Coast to process heavy Ecuadorian crude oil production.
Crude Oil Valuation , Product Quality
Crude Oil Evaluation
Assisted an independent California crude oil producer in establishing a pricing formula for sale of its heavy oil production under a long-term contract. The analysis included a historical review of relative crude values and the key price drivers affecting the value differences between grades.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Marketing Strategy
Prepared a marketing strategy for new production in Russia's Sakhalin Island region. The study analyzed potential markets for new production of crude oil, transportation options and costs, and contracting strategies.
Crude Oil Valuation , Offshore , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Marketing Study
Assisted the U.S. General Accounting Office in evaluating the potential for marketing of Naval Reserve crude (Elk Hills) in markets east of the Rockies.  Work included evaluation of breakeven refining values, assessment of yield and contaminant penalties, and analysis of the potential for supplying this crude to the Gulf Coast market.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Marketing Study
Provided support to a major Canadian crude oil pipeline transporter in the customization of the PRISM model, Baker & O'Brien's proprietary refining industry analysis tool, the company had licensed from Baker & O'Brien. Support included addition of crude oils of specific interest to the client.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pipeline , Product Quality
Crude Oil Metering Dispute
Investigated alleged tampering with crude oil Automatic Custody Transfer volume and quality measuring devices.  Reviewed common carrier pipeline tariffs, inspected site, and analyzed measurement data.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Pipeline , Product Quality
Crude Oil Processing Contract Dispute
Served as expert witness concerning a dispute between an international oil trading company (Trader) and an independent refining company (Refiner), between whom there was a crude oil processing contract.  The Trader alleged that the Refiner misappropriated products to its own account.  Analyzed the refinery production and product disposition under each processing deal over a period of three years and calculated the damages under the alleged misappropriation.  Prepared an independent detailed damages claim for insurance purposes and defended the claim at trial.  
Commercial Terms Review , Expert Witness/Testimony , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Quality Dispute
Acted as expert witness in a dispute between a major oil company and a small crude oil supplier that allegedly delivered "dumbbell" crude into the oil company's common carrier pipeline system.  Prepared a report covering standard industry pipeline practices, crude oil quality acceptance, crude oil trading, and refining values of various crude oils.  Calculated damages incurred as a result of the poor quality crude oil delivered and the impact on refiners receiving crude from the pipeline.
Crude Oil Valuation , Expert Witness/Testimony , Pipeline , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Royalty Litigation
Assisted in a lawsuit between an oil company and a royalty owner of oil company's crude oil production for alleged underpayment.  Work included identification of the various markets for this crude oil to established whether its value in these markets was consistent with the price received.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Sludge Accumulation
Following a claim concerning sludge accumulation in crude oil storage tanks over a twenty-year period, advised as to the creation of sludge in crude oil tanks, its accumulation, the ways to prevent or control it, and the conventional ways of dealing with it.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality
Crude Oil Valuation
Conducted a valuation for a new grade of Atlantic crude oil production, likely to be marketed to refineries in the U.S. East Coast and U.S. Gulf Coast. The study used PRISM for several specific refineries to calculate refinery breakeven values for the target crude in comparison to several competing grades. The analysis also included a historical review of the calculated relative crude refining values and the key price drivers affecting the value differences between grades.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Crude Oil Supply Study
Assisted client in constructing a crude oil supply balance for PADD II and developed incremental crude oil valuations for refineries in PADD II using PRISM, Baker & O'Brien's proprietary refining industry analysis tool.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Defective Paint
Evaluated automotive paint and coatings data. Analyzed survey data for paint and coatings system performance when applied by a "big three" automotive manufacturer to determine liability contribution for coating failures. Required understanding of evolution of automotive paint and coating systems. Assisted in evaluation of economic damages resulting from coating application failures.
Product Quality
Ethanol Terminal Blending Facility Evaluation
On behalf of a private equity firm, reviewed a site development plan for a coastal ethanol receiving terminal and associated gasoline blending facility.  Evaluated the market competition for terminalling services within the local area.
Pricing , Product Quality
Evaluate Biodiesel Production Facility
Provided due diligence review of a biodiesel facility in support of project financing. Reviewed capital costs, operating costs, process technology, and maintenance requirements.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Pricing , Product Quality
Evaluation of New Crude Production
Evaluated a new crude oil stream produced by the client from offshore platforms in the West African country of Equatorial New Guinea.  Evaluation included identification of potential markets and the values of this crude oil into these markets.
Crude Oil Valuation , Offshore , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Fertilizer Project Due Diligence Assessment
In conjunction with a leading upstream consulting firm, conducted a due diligence assessment of gas resources for the purpose of developing a fertilizer complex associated with onshore and offshore gas production under development. The assignment entailed delineating the quantity and quality of gas resources available to support the prospective fertilizer project and estimating costs to deliver natural gas suitable for producing nitrogen fertilizers to the project.
Fertilizers , Offshore , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Fischer Tropsch (FT) Market Study
Conducted a market study for intermediate and finished products resulting from FT synthesis of a gas source in West Africa. The study assessed the best markets and projected netback prices for FT diesel, jet, and naphtha, as well as a review of the marketability of intermediate (unfinished) FT products.
Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Gasoline Blending Compliance
Provided analysis for a refiner that does not produce finished gasoline on the prospects for producing gasoline that meets all API and ASTM requirements. Analyzed the options available to the refinery for blending reformate fractions and whether aromatics or benzene would likely be the constraining specification as it relates to the "anti-dumping" rule. Evaluated potential early compliance with the EPA's mobile source air toxics (MSAT2) program.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Gasoline Contamination Dispute
Provided expert report on refinery practices concerning caustic carryover in FCC gasoline mercaptan treaters.  Class action plaintiffs, consisting of retail station owners, alleged underground storage tank damage due to gasoline contamination.  
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Product Quality
GTL Diesel Blending Study
Performed several diesel blending studies in different refinery configurations using PRISM to calculate the Green House Gas benefits of using GTL diesel as a potential blendstock.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality
Jet Fuel Contamination Dispute
Following product quality issues in major interstate product pipeline movements, reviewed product injection practices and analyses at pipeline injection point. Evaluated analyses at various points along the pipeline to assess possibility of quality degradation.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Pipeline , Product Quality
Long-term Outlook - Global Refining and Light/Sweet Crude
Completed a study that examined longer-term developments of the worldwide refining industry and strategies for maximizing the sales value of light, sweet crude grades.  The study identified and evaluated a long-term pricing strategy for light/sweet crude oil as a response to expected changes in crude oil quality, environmental legislation and mandates, and regional growth trends in petroleum demand.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
LPG Pipeline Contamination
Evaluated pipeline contamination and potential sources of contaminants from various sources.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Pipeline , Product Quality
LPG Pipeline Specifications
Evaluated pipeline tariffs, product specifications, connection agreements, and liquefied petroleum gas sales agreements, including the determination of fractionator feedstock and product economics, for the export of liquefied petroleum gas to northern Mexico from fractionation facilities in West Texas.
Commercial Terms Review , Pipeline , Product Quality
Lube Oil Market Assessment
Conducted a survey of the potential market for naphthenic lubricating oils in South and Central America. Analysis was used to complete a full feasibility study of a new Venezuelan-based refinery to manufacture these products.
Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Marine Cargo Contamination
Investigated causes for contamination of a cargo of gasoline delivered by ship to Ecuador. Work included review of contract requirements, gasoline blending practices, surveyor procedures, and issues related to laboratory testing of gasoline.
Product Quality , Waterborne/Marine
Market Analysis and Term Supply Contracting - Synthetic Crude Oil
Assisted a Venezuelan joint venture company in developing a marketing strategy for a new synthetic crude oil. The assignment included an evaluation of the potential market for the new production, modeling of refinery values for the new production, detailed assessments of potential supply agreements, and assistance in term contract negotiations.
Commercial Terms Review , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Oil Refining Crude Supply Dispute
Provided engineering and project management consulting services for litigated dispute between two large oil companies concerning an acidic crude oil supply agreement (high TAN crude, high acid crude). Prepared expert report.
Commercial Terms Review , Crude Oil Valuation , Product Quality
Propane Product Quality Dispute
Investigated the design and operation of a natural gas liquid fractionation, storage, and loading facility located on the Red Sea to determine potential causes of alleged hydrogen sulfide contamination of propane cargoes.
EPC-related , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality
Refinery Performance Test Evaluation
Investigated claims of poor performance of a $1 billion refinery project between a refiner and a major EPC contractor. Evaluated charge and yield, feedstock quality, and efficiency issues and assisted in documentation of response to claim.
EPC-related , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Refinery Best Practices
Analyzed multiple refineries of a major international petroleum firm to determine economic limitations and causes of performance gaps versus competitors. The study reports consisted of analyses of practices, performance targets, and recommendations for improvement initiatives. The work involved site visits, employee interviews, final reports, and presentations to company management and refinery personnel.
LP/Planning Practice , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality
RFS Infrastructure Study
Prepared a report for the American Petroleum Institute (API) that analyzed the potential logistics and infrastructure bottlenecks on a year-by-year basis to 2012 that could result from the industry trying to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Pipeline Quality Bank Dispute
Assisted in a dispute involving crude oil quality bank payments demanded by a pipeline consortium transporting a company's oil through Central Asia.  Studied the quality bank calculation procedure in order to demonstrate if the methodology described in the tariff had been properly applied.  Provided examples of methodologies used in other quality banks.  Prepared quality bank calculations based on application of the methodology.  Testified at an arbitration in London.
Arbitration , Crude Oil Valuation , Expert Witness/Testimony , Pipeline , Pricing , Product Quality
U.S. Midcontinent Crude Valuation
Evaluated crude oil refining values and logistics for several targeted refineries in the U.S. midcontinent area.  Evaluated expected price parity points for domestic crude oils versus competing grades delivered to the refineries via pipeline.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Crude Oil Valuation , Pipeline , Pricing , Product Quality
Product Supply Contract Review
Following the notice of cancellation of a product supply agreement based on crude processing, to be replaced with an agreement where refined product prices were to be supplied based on adjustments to posted prices, evaluated the economics of the proposed supply contract compared with the existing crude processing agreement.  Determined the required level of discount to OPIS prices to match product cost under the existing crude processing arrangement.
Commercial Terms Review , Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Refining Industry Overview
Provided guidance as to opportunities within the U.S. petroleum fuels market for blending isobutanol. Developed a list of target refineries for blending of isobutanol into gasoline. Provided isobutanol gasoline blend valuations versus ethanol for several Midwest refineries.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
U.S. Gasoline Study
Performed an independent analysis to determine the potential supply and cost impacts of a new National Clean Gasoline Standard that would significantly lower the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) and sulfur allowed in gasoline. A refinery-by-refinery analysis was performed that considered each refinery's compliance options accounting for technical, strategic, market, and economic factors, and then estimated a likely response based on this information.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Ultrafines Study
Provided an analysis of the economic impact of the presence of ultrafines in a Canadian mined bitumen upgrader operation.  Quantified the capital and operating cost mitigation steps required by a mined bitumen upgrader operation to address the impacts associated with ultrafine solids present in the mined bitumen.  Prepared a written report and presented results.
Product Quality , Project Feasibility
U.S. Gulf Coast Isobutanol Study
Evaluated the gasoline blending economics for isobutanol versus ethanol for a U.S. Gulf Coast refinery. Calculated the value difference between isobutanol and ethanol in a low vapor pressure conventional gasoline.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Polybutylene Pipe Litigation
Assisted municipal water districts in asserting claims for tens of millions of dollars in damages resulting from defective polybutylene pipe.  Assisted in discovery, evaluated research and development records, reviewed state-of-the-art issues, and provided expert testimony.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Pipeline , Product Quality
Refinery Feasibility Study
On behalf of a crude oil transportation company in Western Australia, investigated the feasibility of establishing a small refinery to process local crude production. Evaluated the technical and economic considerations involved in a range of alternative projects to refine crude oil and market products to local industries and other consumers throughout the region. Conducted negotiations with crude oil suppliers and commercial customers. Project was eventually terminated due to inability to obtain satisfactory financing.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Crude Oil Valuation and Marketing Plan
Identified target markets, coordinated the assay evaluation, assessed market values, and developed a marketing plan and marketing brochure for a new crude oil to be produced in offshore West Africa.  The initial crude oil sales price was estimated, based on quality and location, and was presented in terms of global crude price benchmark grades.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
Using chemical engineering expertise, process design background, and experience in operations and manufacturing, provided an opinion on the likelihood of another firm’s ability to produce the same pharmaceutical chemical with comparable quality and value as the original product without utilizing trade secrets learned from the intellectual property owner.
Intellectual Property , Product Quality
Crude Quality Analysis
Assisted with crude oil quality analysis from new production field in order to establish initial valuation estimates.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Shale Oil Market Study
Prepared market study for upgraded shale oil in several refining centers over extended project life. Estimated refining value and ocean freight in selected refineries to yield netback value at upgrader dock. Compared estimated refining value for upgraded shale oil to estimated refining value of typical swing crudes for each region.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality
Monterey Shale Oil Study
On behalf of a California refiner, reviewed the potential for production of Monterey shale crude oil in the San Joaquin Valley and the accessibility of this crude to the client's refining system.
Crude Oil Valuation , Pricing , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Refinery Yield and Hydrogen Balances
Provided client with yield and hydrogen balance estimate for a group of Canadian refineries using our proprietary PRISM modeling system.
PRISM Data or Analysis , Pricing , Product Quality
Reformulated Gasoline Study
Provided a large independent Southern California refiner an assessment of their existing processing equipment, outside feedstocks to be purchased, and new capital investment necessary to produce reformulated gasoline for consumption in the most regulated gasoline market in the world.
Physical Asset Appraisal , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Supply Contract Dispute
Assisted in breach of contract claims regarding a helium supply agreement from a large natural gas processing/treating complex.  Analyzed historical operation and performance of processing and extraction facilities, including sources and composition of gas supplies, plant shutdowns, and plant turndown capabilities.  Reviewed plant performance, including operating costs, efficiencies, and operating modes to support defendant's plant operations.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality
Trans-Alaskan Pipeline (TAPS) Quality Bank
Provided expert testimony before extended hearings of both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (2004) and the Alaskan Public Utilities Commission (2007) with respect to the methodology used to value various Alaskan crude oil streams entering TAPS.  Issues included how to calculate the refining values of such crude oils in U.S. West Coast refineries and how changes in the indicated market values of crude oils should be handled from a retrospective basis.  
Crude Oil Valuation , Expert Witness/Testimony , Pipeline , Pricing , Product Quality
Privatization of Olefins Plant
Evaluated an olefins plant for competitiveness in operating costs, yields, feed supply, and product marketing. Identified and documented strengths and weaknesses and presented the key initiatives, which would be needed to ensure a successful transaction. Estimated the fair market value.
Operations/Maintenance , Physical Asset Appraisal , Product Quality
Marine Accident Investigation
Investigated causes for contamination of a cargo of residual fuel aboard a barge that exploded and sank.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality , Property Damage , Safety , Waterborne/Marine
Acetic Acid Process: Intellectual Property Infringement
Using chemical engineering expertise, process design background, and experience in operations and manufacturing, provided an opinion on the likelihood of another firm’s ability to produce the same organic acids with comparable quality and value as the original product without utilizing trade secrets learned from the intellectual property owner.
Intellectual Property , Product Quality
MTBE Contamination Litigation
Supported several oil company clients in defense of claims that the inclusion of MTBE in gasolines supplied to the State of New Hampshire caused contamination of water wells in the state. Provided information on the supply of MTBE-blended gasolines to the State and assessed availability of other oxygenates (primarily ethanol) to meet EPA requirements for oxygenated fuels. Testified at trial.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Product Quality
Fuel Contamination Investigation
Investigated an occurrence of contaminated diesel fuel at a mine facility, as well as the claimed property damage and business interruption claims.  Assessed the root cause of the fuel contamination and prepared a presentation of our findings.  
Product Quality
Hot Fuel Class Action Claim
Provided expert witness testimony and litigation support in a class action lawsuit claiming that sales of retail gasoline should be temperature corrected at the pump. Evaluated seasonal gasoline property variability, among other key factors.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Product Quality
Ethanol Class Action Litigation
Assisted a major Florida fuel marketer in Florida in defense against class action claims that ethanol-blended fuels had resulted in damaged boat engines, fuel tanks, and other marine/recreational equipment. Reviewed terminal blending and quality control practices, the actual quality and formulation of gasolines delivered to Florida consumers, and state specifications controlling the quality of such gasolines.
Commercial Terms Review , Product Quality
MTBE Litigation and Expert Report
Provided expert report on behalf of a joint defense group of gasoline marketing companies that discussed the many issues concerning why MTBE was chosen over ethanol to meet the federal gasoline oxygenate requirements in the early 1990s. Also included was a discussion of how gasoline was supplied to the local region in California over the 1990s and early 2000s.
Environmental , Expert Witness/Testimony , Product Quality
Shale Oil Prefeasibility Study
Assisted client with determining the economic optimum product quality for Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO) to be produced from retorted shale oil. Determined the potential impact of various SCO qualities on refining customer process units and estimated the potential revenue changes that would result from adjustment of these qualities.
Product Quality
Oil Sands Technology Review
Examined a new oil sands technology for bitumen extraction to identify potential flaws and areas of risk prior to commercialization. Observed performance of and assessed sufficiency of development unit to demonstrate viability and reliability of commercial operations.
Intellectual Property , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Residual Fuel Oil Valuation
Provided an assessment of the quantity, quality, and value of fuel oil recovered during demolition of storage tanks at a power plant.
Commercial Terms Review , Expert Witness/Testimony , Pricing , Product Quality
Ethanol Blending Lawsuit
Working on behalf of a petroleum industry trade organization, in defense of major gasoline branded companies, provided analysis and opinions related to the potential impact on brand quality from allowing ethanol splash-blending by third parties. Provided expert testimony at trial.
Commercial Terms Review , Expert Witness/Testimony , Product Quality
Needle Coke Price Dispute
Provided an opinion on the market price of needle coke in connection with a dispute submitted to the International Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Arbitration , Commercial Terms Review , Pricing , Product Quality
Refinery Design Review
Grassroots refinery was to be a modular-fabrication with an on-site assembly on a greenfield site in North East Africa.  Due to the characteristics of the crude oil (heavy, waxy and high naphthenic acid content), process design included Visbreaker-type technology.  An evaluation was made of the process design and the project economics. 
Physical Asset Appraisal , Pipeline , Product Quality , Project Feasibility
Pipeline Specifications Dispute
A new pipeline owner was seeking to impose tighter diesel specifications on a pipeline. Provided an expert report and testimony regarding common carrier pipeline diesel product specifications in a regulatory hearing.  The dispute was ultimately settled prior to the hearing.
Expert Witness/Testimony , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality
Crude Oil Quality Bank Study
Recommended a crude oil quality bank methodology for the different types of crude oil to be stored in a new USGC crude oil storage facility.  Reviewed other existing quality banks and developed recommendations and methodology for managing a crude oil quality bank.
Product Quality
Propane Quality Review
Reviewed claims regarding a propane quality dispute between a supplier at a new terminal and a retail distributor.  Reviewed propane quality test results and bills of lading to compare actual versus reported quality.  We provided technical findings to client and assisted in getting the matter settled.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care , Operations/Maintenance , Product Quality