Baker & O'Brien, Inc.


Industry Details

Petrochemical / Chemical

Baker & O'Brien consultants offer technical expertise and commercial experience throughout the diverse and yet highly specialized chemical industry. Our expertise in the chemistry and manufacture of basic chemicals, fertilizers, olefins, aromatics, intermediate chemicals, plastics, and a wide variety of specialty chemicals has been applied to technology assessment, construction and operation of plants, investigation of accidents, and regulatory issues. Our experience in managing these businesses has been instrumental in the valuation of facilities and businesses, preparation of insurance claims, and evaluation of intellectual property issues.

Related Experience

  • 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
  • Ammonia Manufacturing Litigation
    Assisted an equipment manufacturer in defending allegations that its equipment was the cause of a multi-million dollar business interruption claim.  Assisted in discovery, evaluated operating records, estimated business interruption losses due to a power outage, and provided expert testimony. 
    Business Interruption, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Ammonia Plant Insurance Dispute
    Assisted in evaluating insurance claims asserted by a major ammonia manufacturer.  Work included evaluation of the technical basis for claims involving construction defects and warranty work amounting to $3 million.  Assisted in documenting claims, inspected the plant, evaluated project records, and reviewed maintenance records.  
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Ammonia Plant Project Finance
    Served as independent engineer on behalf of a major European bank for the relocation of a 750 TPD ammonia plant.  Work included an assessment of existing and new technology that was to be incorporated in the project.  The due diligence investigation analyzed feedstock supply, reviewed contracts, and inspected progress prior to close of financing.  Monitored construction progress, certified mechanical completion, and witnessed the plant performance test.  
    Commercial Terms Review, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Ammonia Plant Project Finance
    Served as independent engineer on behalf of a major European bank for the construction of a new world-scale ammonia plant. Prepared a technology assessment, analyzed feedstock supply, reviewed contracts, and advised with negotiation of contracts. Monitored construction progress and mechanical completion, and witnessed the plant performance test.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Ammonia/Urea Plant Failure Analysis
    Worked in support of client and its attorneys to investigate the cause of a reactor failure and defend against claims by OSHA and third parties.  Work involved extensive analysis of process equipment and operating practices used in ammonia and urea manufacture. 
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related
  • Benzene Production Study
    Studied benzene production economics for inland refiner, including benzene price forecast and transportation cost to USGC.  Reviewed benzene consumers and future market potential.  Estimated the capital cost for benzene production and shipping facilities.
    Pipeline, Pricing, Waterborne/Marine
  • Biodiesel Plant Due Diligence
    Performed a site inspection and advised a potential investor on the commercial and technical risks associated with converting a chemical plant to biodiesel production.
    Physical Asset Appraisal
  • Business Interruption
    Performed an analysis of the schedule delay and financial impact from chemical plant downtime due to a major equipment fabrication error.
    Business Interruption, EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Safety
  • C4 Upgrade Project Due Diligence
    Conducted preliminary due diligence for a project to upgrade various mixed C4 streams into a range of higher valued butylenes streams and chemical products.
    Pricing, Project Feasibility
  • Chemical Pipeline Market Study
    On behalf of an acquisitive client, researched, identified, and characterized chemical pipeline operations in the U.S. to form a database of prospective business opportunities.  The engagement included contacting each prospective target to ascertain an initial level of interest in pursuing commercial arrangements with the client.  The study identified several attractive prospects and provided an overall measure of the market dimensions.
  • Chemical Plant Accident Investigation
    Investigated an accident at a polyethylene production and storage facility. Reviewed equipment design, inspection and repair history, training of personnel, industry practices, and standards of care.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Safety
  • Chemical Plant Evaluation
    Provided an independent assessment at a chemical plant of recent maintenance and sustaining capital projects.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Chemical Plant Fair Market Valuations for Ad Valorem Tax Appeals
    Developed fair market valuations for two major chemical plant installations on behalf of the local appraisal district. The engagement included valuation by discounted cash flow, depreciated replacement cost, and comparable sales approaches, as well as a critique of the petitioner's methodologies and assumptions.
    Ad Valorem Taxes, Physical Asset Appraisal, Pricing
  • Chemical Plant Insurance Claim Support
    Provided comprehensive technical and accounting support for a property damage claim settlement and analysis for a chemical manufacturing plant that was damaged during a hurricane.  Work included review of all repair cost estimates and invoiced repair invoices, as well as analysis of claimed damages discovered and submitted post-recovery.  Assistance was also provided during final claim settlement negotiations.  
    Business Interruption, Property Damage
  • Commercial Contract Litigation
    Assisted in a claim related to a force majeure incident related to the recommissioning of a facility after a hurricane.  Examined conformance with standard industry protocols and applicable laws, standards, and regulations.  Assessed whether the facility operator acted in a reasonably prudent manner with respect to the commercial and technical issues necessary to safely restart the facility as soon as possible.
    Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Conceptual Design of Technical Services Department
    Performed a conceptual design of a Technical Services Division for a petroleum refining technology licensing company. The objective was to restructure the company's technology delivery methodology to generate improved gross margins, increase customer satisfaction and retention, and additional products and services. Advised the client on defining the critical aspects of the Technical Services Division and the best approach to designing and implementing the new group structure and function.
    Project Feasibility
  • Construction Dispute - Petrochemicals Plant
    Prepared a confidential "Cold Eyes Review" assessment concerning a contemplated claim between an owner and a contractor of a grassroots petrochemical facility.  Reviewed draft claims, researched evidence, and interviewed key personnel in order to produce an independent view of the claim.
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
  • Contract Dispute Resolution
    Evaluated inter-company petrochemical stream transfers and cost allocations pursuant to the mutually agreeable resolution of a contractual dispute between entities engaged in multiple across-the-fence feedstock and product exchanges.
  • Defective Product Lawsuit
    Provided an expert report concerning a dispute between a pressure safety relief device manufacturer and an operator of a claim that a device did not operate as designed in a reactor overpressure incident.
    Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Economic Damages Litigation - Plant Explosion
    Retained concerning claims of design errors and failures in project management, following explosions and fires at a petrochemical plant.  Conducted in-depth reviews of engineering, procurement, and construction agreements; process technology and design basis; construction records; owner's operating procedures; and actual operating history since start-up of the plant.  Evaluated operating system provided against prevailing industry standards and examined potential for equipment failure.
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Economic Damages Litigation - Plant Fire
    Following furnace damage and rebuild, provided expert regarding property damage costs and normal maintenance/scheduled turnaround/betterment costs. Similarly, business interruption costs were compiled with reference to market situation and product volumes that were available from inventory.
    Business Interruption, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Physical Asset Appraisal
  • Agrochemicals Manufacturing
    Performed due diligence for the purchase of several fertilizer plants on behalf of an investor.  These plants manufactured nitrogen fertilizers, phosphate fertilizers, methanol, and other related industrial chemicals.  Inspected company assets, assessed technology, analyzed feedstock and product markets, reviewed contracts, evaluated capital investment programs, and analyzed comparative manufacturing economics.
    Fertilizers, Pricing
  • Financial Model
    Developed a financial model for a large private equity firm to enable estimates of the future financial performance for the major business segments of a large international refining and petrochemical company.
    PRISM Data or Analysis, Pricing
  • Force Majeure Dispute
    Provided expert report relating to a claimed force majeure event, due to defects in critical equipment that was required to be installed during a turnaround.  The correction to the defects then resulted in the late delivery of the equipment that extended a petrochemical plant turnaround.   
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Formaldehyde Plant Construction Litigation
    Assisted in a dispute concerning allegations that completion delays and poor plant performance at a European formaldehyde plant resulted in a multi-million dollar damage claim.  Assisted with discovery, inspected plant, evaluated plant operating records, reviewed construction contracts, valued the plant, and calculated damages.  Presented and defended conclusions at hearing.
    Arbitration, EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Global Gasification Feedstock Analysis
    Conducted an analysis of the potential low-cost carbon feedstocks for a grassroots gasification project to produce a combination of synthetic fuels and electricity.  The study investigated sources and delivered costs for various feedstocks, including coal, petroleum coke, and low-valued refinery streams such as residuum and cracked fuel oils.  Historical data was used to assess pricing mechanisms for world petroleum coke prices, including delivered coal prices to Japan and Western Europe.
    Gas to Liquids, LNG, Pricing, Project Feasibility
  • Global Polyethylene Study
    Conducted a global market analysis to determine export market potential for a proposed ethylene/polyethylene complex. The study encompassed development of global supply/demand balances and price forecasts, as well as an analysis of prospective competitors' process economics.
    EPC-related, Pricing
  • HF Alkylation Incident
    Investigated facts related to pump casing rupture where hydrofluoric acid was released. Reviewed refinery operations, training, and safety practices. Advised attorneys on generally accepted industry engineering practices and standards regarding design, operation, and maintenance of hydrofluoric acid alkylation unit.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Safety
  • Hurricane Rita Claim
    A petrochemicals facility experienced a loss of steam supply from an outside steam supplier and a subsequent unscheduled shutdown which, in turn, resulted in production losses and major damage to the facility.  The steam supplier attributed the steam outage to boiler damage caused by a hurricane, which had made landfall several months earlier.  Assisted by investigating the link between the hurricane and the steam supplier boiler outages.  
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Incident Analysis - Petrochemicals
    Performed an investigation analysis following fire and explosion incidents at a major Gulf Coast manufacturing facility.  The engagement entailed development of the sequence of events, root cause analysis, assessment of the decision to rebuild, and reconstruction monitoring.  An independent project schedule and cost estimate for the plant reconstruction was developed.
    Business Interruption, EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Property Damage, Safety
  • Industrial Incident
    Investigated cause of dust cloud deflagration at a Vitamin E production facility. Assessed that bulk solids handling procedures were modified without considering the original safety design basis for the equipment. Developed expert opinions on causation.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Safety
  • Ion-Exchange Resin Plant
    Performed market study and competitive analysis of an ion-exchange resin plant on behalf of a major government agency bank. Study evaluated the financing of an ion-exchange resin manufacturer in the context of possible sale of the plant.
  • Lender's Independent Engineer
    Served as independent engineer for a "grassroots" olefins project.  Prepared the technical due diligence for a US$4 billion facility on behalf of international export credit agencies and onshore and offshore lenders.
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • M&A Dispute
    Evaluated the foreseeability of project cost overruns that negatively impacted the economics of the acquisition of an EPC Firm.
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Marine Terminal Development
    Reviewed design requirements and monitored construction, start-up, and operation of a project to develop a bulk liquids terminal.  Work included review of dredging requirement, schedule, and interfaces between this project and a project to export ammonia from the terminal.
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Waterborne/Marine
  • Multi-Refinery Synergies
    Analyzed the synergies and economic advantages of companies that operate multiple refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.  Analysis included advantages in crude acquisition; turnaround and routine maintenance; feedstock and product transportation; efficient processing of intermediate streams; and optimal capital investment.
    PRISM Data or Analysis, Pricing
  • Nitroparaffins Litigation
    Assisted in a dispute between an operator and and EPC firm concerning allegations that the process design contributed to an explosion at a nitroparaffins manufacturing plant.  Assisted in discovery, evaluated design issues, and provided expert testimony.
    EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Paraxylene (PX) Contract Dispute
    On behalf of a major international buyer of paraxylene, prepared an expert analysis concerning damages claimed by a large US based supplier.  Analysis included a detailed evaluation of supplier's paraxylene manufacturing economics.
    Business Interruption, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pricing
  • Petrochemical Business Privatizations
    Developed market valuations, evaluated strategic business alternatives, and formulated short-term planning objectives for several diversified East European chemical companies undergoing the transition from state control to private ownership. Engagements included marketing efforts directed to attracting investors and joint venture partners.
  • PVC Plant Litigation
    Assisted in a dispute concerning allegations that an explosion at a major manufacturer of PVC resins was due to a poor process design that failed to meet government regulations and engineering standards.  Assisted in discovery, inspected the plant, evaluated procedures and work methods, reviewed applicable standards, and reviewed operating records.  
    Forensic Analysis , Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Polyurethane Foam Litigation
    Assisted in claims concerning polyurethane foam system products that were alleged to be defective or unfit for their intended use.  Assisted in discovery, observed and reviewed work environment and work methods, evaluated manufacturing records, reviewed warranty claims, and prepared trial exhibits.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care
  • Refinery and Chemical Plant Feedstock Valuations
    Identified and developed the financial impact due to the non-compliance with interplant agreements for feedstock and product transfers between a refinery and an adjacent chemical plant. 
  • Substitute Natural Gas Market Study
    Developed comprehensive market profile of SNG industry and market in North America, including operating and planned facilities, feedstock outlook, project incentives, and environmental issues.
    Environmental, Gasification, Pricing
  • Piping Subcontractor Claim Evaluation
    Evaluated claims for additional quantities of materials needed, due to owner caused delay and disruption on a specialty chemical plant project.  
  • Technical Review
    Performed technical review of chlor-alkali and calcium chloride processes and project plan on behalf of prospective lender. Reviewed the process design packages for the chlor-alkali and calcium chloride production facilities and provided opinions regarding the selected processes and their technical compatibility. Reviewed the project schedule and cost estimate for the facilities and provided input to the prospective lender regarding the appropriate level of contingency. Evaluated the contracting strategy and project execution plan and provided opinions.
    Pricing, Project Feasibility
  • TEL vs. MMT Blending Study
    On behalf of a chemical supplier, reviewed the use of tetraethyl lead (TEL) as an octane enhancing gasoline additive in a Middle Eastern country from 2000 to 2006 compared to using methyl cyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT).
  • TEL Usage in Southeast Asia
    On behalf of a chemical supplier, reviewed the use of tetraethyl lead (TEL) as a gasoline additive in a Southeast Asian country from 1999 to 2005 compared to the technical requirement based on the quality of the country's base gasoline and the required octane target.
  • Pressure Vessel Failure
    Investigated the cause of a hydrocarbon release resulting from the brittle fracture of a pressure vessel during start-up at a petrochemical plant. Incident involved multiple injuries and deaths and extensive property damage. Issues studied include ethylene plant design, operating practices and procedures, start-up operations, instrumentation, and safety training.
    Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Safety
  • Polyolefins Plant Explosion
    Assisted attorneys and company in preparation for litigation and negotiation with government agencies while investigating the cause of an explosion which caused the death of over 20 people. Assisted risk management in preparing and negotiating property damage and business interruption claims in excess of $1.3 billion.
    Business Interruption, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Property Damage, Safety
  • Propylene Production
    Studied the feasibility of reconstruction and expansion of a catalytic dehydrogenation plant at a large Gulf Coast refinery for the production of propylene from propane. The study included evaluation of the current technology, development of costs for reconstruction and expansion, estimation of operating costs, and assessments of regional markets for propylene.
    Pricing, Project Feasibility
  • Polypropylene Manufacturing Facility
    Provided a cash flow valuation of a polypropylene complex in support of an ad valorem tax matter. The valuation included analysis of recent historical operations, review of the markets for feedstocks and products, development of operating costs, and analysis of industry trends.
    Ad Valorem Taxes, Pricing
  • Polypropylene Manufacturing
    Assisted in a dispute concerning insurance claims for property damage and business interruption in connection with a reactor incident during construction of a production facility.  
    Business Interruption, EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Property Damage
  • Process Plant Leasehold Settlements
    Assessed the market value of residual operating interests held by a major financial entity in several leased chemical processing facilities. Each engagement included an ongoing advisory role pursuant to successful negotiations for sale of the institution's ownership interests.
  • Refinery Force Majeure Claims
    Prepared expert reports and testified in an international arbitration involving multiple product supply disputes between a refinery and an adjacent chemical plant. Reviewed force majeure claims related to catalytic cracking technology, product supply contracts, and utility supply interruptions.
    Arbitration, EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • 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
  • Plant Commissioning Review
    Provided initial guidance and comments regarding the development of a commissioning and start-up schedule for a polypropylene plant. Provided initial input into how plant start-up incidents affected the commissioning schedule.
    Business Interruption, Operations/Maintenance
  • Tube Sheet, Flare Tip Matter
    Investigated the cause of tubesheet and flare tip damage related to an unplanned sudden shutdown of the facility.  Evaluated whether damage was caused by the shutdown, long-term wear, or contractor error during installation.  Provided expert support through mediation and settlement efforts.  
    EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Chlorine Contract Dispute
    In a lawsuit involving a long-term chlorine supply contract, provided litigation support relating to a series of force majeure events. Analyzed the chlorine producers options to mitigate the loss of contracted sales volumes.
  • Strategic Sourcing: Refining Materials and Services
    Assisted a major, integrated oil and gas company in implementing a strategic sourcing initiative for its refining and petrochemical businesses. The initiative focused on developing a strategic and low cost supply of sulfuric acid, process chemicals, and maintenance services to the client's various refining and petrochemical facilities, which achieved cost savings of up to 25%.
    Operations/Maintenance, Pricing
  • Plastics Recycling Feasibility Study
    Evaluated a small German refinery for potential conversion to a plastics recycling plant. Assessed technology, retrofit requirements, operating costs, and logistics. Presented economics, capital investment plan, and likely subsidy requirements to the board of directors.
    Operations/Maintenance, Project Feasibility
  • Independent Planning Consultant
    In the early 1990s, a major oil company agreed to purchase a former Soviet block country’s refining and marketing assets. Additionally, there was an agreement to build a state-of-the-art grassroots refinery. Until the streaming of the grassroots refinery later in the decade, the oil company operated the existing refining assets on behalf of the national office of privatization. The role of the independent consultant was to ensure that the operation was not “optimized” at the expense of the country’s taxpayers. Participated in the preparation of monthly operating plans with the operating company and presentations to the national office of privatization over a two-year period.
    LP/Planning Practice, Pricing
  • 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
  • Maintenance and Reliability Improvement Program
    Managed the development of a client’s routine maintenance and reliability improvement program that identified areas of concern and implemented new work practices aimed at improving competitiveness. Efforts reduced maintenance costs and improved operating performance.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
  • Turnaround Optimization Studies
    Performed numerous turnaround optimization studies and execution reviews for refineries and petrochemical companies worldwide. Areas of focus included analyzing the work selection process, reviewing work execution schedules, evaluating the facilities preparedness to perform the turnaround, and optimizing turnaround cycles or start dates.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
  • Maintenance Contracting Strategies
    Worked with international clients to analyze existing maintenance and turnaround contracting strategies, contractor availability, and local cultures to identify areas of concern and develop strategies for improvement.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
  • Reliability and Maintenance Continuous Improvement Initiatives
    Improved efforts to eliminate equipment defects and unscheduled outages by developing and incorporating the use of reliability indices to identify problem equipment. Reliability teams were then able to prioritize concerns to focus reliability improvement initiatives in areas of highest risk to safety, operational performance, and profits. This defect elimination program was utilized as the cornerstone for the plant’s continuous improvement initiatives.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
  • Performance Improvement - Petrochemicals
    Assisted in a global study focused on analyzing the operating performance of steam crackers.  Participated as a member of a multi-disciplined team responsible for: reliability and operations data gathering, analysis, plant personnel interviews, and industry benchmarking of performance.  The study concluded with numerous recommendations to company senior management aimed at improving worldwide plant operational availability.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • Industrial Gas Contract Evaluation
    Evaluated a contract for supply of nitrogen to petrochemical facilities. Specifically assessed the nitrogen pricing terms and interpretations.
    Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
  • PET Manufacturer Business Interruption Claim
    Assisted in a dispute concerning a petrochemicals business interruption claim and lawsuit after a declaration of force majeure by the manufacturer.  Reviewed pertinent data provided by defendant's counsel and prepared written reports, affidavits, and deposition regarding the claims.  
    Business Interruption
  • Pipeline Pigging Incident Investigation
    Following a plant incident caused by the ingress of water, we investigated upstream pipeline activities and operating records to determine the root cause of the incident.  
    Pipeline, Safety
  • Heat Exchanger Failure Investigation
    Investigated cause and events surrounding the rupture of process precooler involving one fatality. Assisted outside counsel by evaluating plant maintenance, safety and operator training procedures compared to industry accepted practices, as well as developing an understanding of probable circumstances that led to the event.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Safety
  • Hydrogen Pipeline Construction Cost Dispute
    Assisted client in a dispute concerning settlement costs in regards to a canceled construction contract for a hydrogen pipeline. 
    EPC-related, Pipeline
  • Sulfuric Acid Plant Fire Investigation
    Investigated cause for sulfuric acid plant fire. Reviewed plant operating conditions prior to the fire and the unit design to identify the cause and potential contributing causes to the fire and subsequent explosions.
  • Air Compressor Incident Investigation
    Provided independent assessment of an accident that occurred at a container manufacturing facility involving an air compressor and high pressure piping. Efforts included reviewing the compressor operators' work practices and potential causes of the incident.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Safety
  • Tank Truck Fatality Incident
    Provided inspection of truck tank and tank cleaning facilities related to a fatality accident. Investigation including collecting samples of tanker contents for further testing.
  • Methanol Contract Dispute
    Provided an expert opinion on several aspects related to a methanol supply contract dispute.
    Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony, Pricing
  • Polypropylene Plant Due Diligence Support
    Provided technical due diligence support for a moth-balled polypropylene plant. Evaluated capacity, historical utilization and mechanical availability and other factors.
    Operations/Maintenance, Physical Asset Appraisal
  • Valve Failure Investigation: Herbicide Plant
    Investigated the design and operations of a batch reactor process for the manufacture of herbicides in relation to a piping failure.  Equipment material of construction was the focus of the analysis.  
  • Chemical Plant Fire Repair
    Provided technical advice and consultation for recommended repair procedures for vessels and piping damaged in a chemical plant fire. 
    EPC-related, Physical Asset Appraisal
  • Refinery Olefins Production Model
    Developed a refinery olefins model that has the capability to predict propylene and butylene production and consumption for the U.S., at the individual refinery level. The model provides the user with an ability to toggle between different FCC conversion levels and to adjust several other key parameters.
    PRISM Data or Analysis
  • 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
  • Northwest Europe Price Forecast
    Developed a five year outlook for crude oil, refined products and petrochemical prices for a European refining company.
  • Propane Pricing Analysis
    Evaluated the historical development of propane prices in a key North American market, and developed a report that assessed propane supply-demand dynamics and price response, given the increasing availability of supply.  Evaluated the evolution of company price postings and compared independently-assessed, third party prices to these postings.  Provided opinions on the best propane price reference points to be used in commercial supply contracts. 
    Arbitration, Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
  • Nitroparaffin Manufacturing Evaluation
    Evaluated technology and patents related to the production of nitroparaffins.
    Project Feasibility
  • Waste to Liquid Process Evaluation
    Performed an economic and technical screening evaluation for a client-provided process for conversion of animal waste to hydrocarbon products.  Researched current patented technology as well as investigated theoretical mass balances for feed/products.
  • Barge Loading Incident Investigation
    Investigated a marine over pressure and rupture incident which occurred while loading a barge with light stabilized hydrocarbons.
  • Post-incident Equipment Preservation Review
    Assisted client by assessing preservation techniques and "mothballing" efforts following the catastrophic failure of a vessel at a specialty products company. Incident resulted in an insurance claim for damaged equipment and idled equipment in the vicinity of the vessel failure.  Efforts included assessing preservation techniques utilized at the plant compared to industry practices, developing an expert report, and providing expert testimony. 
  • Flash Fire Investigation
    Investigated circumstances concerning a flash fire that occurred during vessel entry and cleaning operations.  The investigation included the:  (1) assessment of refinery safe work practices  compared to industry standards and government regulations; (2) utilization of vessel entry and confined space safety practices to mitigate ignition hazards; and (3) responsibilities of both the operating company and contractor organization to recognize,  develop, and follow safe work plans to prevent potential flash fires from occurring during vessel entry.  Developed and submitted expert report. 
    Forensic Analysis , Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Safety
  • Refractory Failure Investigation
    Provided expertise and technical assistance related to the evaluation of a failed refractory in a methanol reformer. 
    Business Interruption, Forensic Analysis , OSHA-related, Property Damage
  • Feedstock Supply Dispute
    Reviewed the incidents of feedstock disruption and its effects on production of a basic chemical by a chemical producer in its dispute concerning a long-term feedstock supply contract.  Dispute was settled at an early stage, prior to the preparation of an expert report.
    Arbitration, Commercial Terms Review, Operations/Maintenance
  • Chemical Plant Construction Dispute
    Provided expert report on construction dispute concerning prefabricated module manufacturing quality and cost overrun issues.
  • Fertilizer Complex Economic Model
    Constructed an economic model to analyze the financial performance of a fertilizer complex that produced ammonia and other nitrogen chemicals.  Evaluated expected operations and financial performance subsequent to the completion of an ongoing capital expansion project.  
    EPC-related, Operations/Maintenance, Project Feasibility
  • 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
  • Standard of Care During Ethylene Plant Outage
    Reviewed the shutdown and subsequent start-up of an ethylene plant following a utility outage.  Reviewed liquidated damage calculations.
    Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
  • IPP/Refinery Power Generation Outage Dispute
    Assessed the cause(s) of supplier's steam and electricity generation failure and mitigating actions by the refinery/petrochemical customer. Preliminary findings and a document request were provided to the client.
    Arbitration, Business Interruption, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Property Damage
  • Acrylonitrile Plant Construction Dispute
    Assisted in a dispute  between a major EPC firm and an owner concerning claims that the owner's interference with a lump-sum EPC contract resulted in a large cost overrun.  Assisted with discovery, evaluated construction documents, analyzed project disruption, evaluated change orders, and prepared trial exhibits. 
    EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
  • Ammonia Plant Project Finance
    Served as independent engineer on behalf of the financial advisor for the construction of a new small-scale biomass to nitrogen fertilizers complex.  Prepared a technology assessment, analyzed feedstock supply, reviewed contracts, reviewed site and infrastructure considerations, and advised with negotiation of contracts.  
    Commercial Terms Review, Environmental, Fertilizers, Gasification, Intellectual Property, Project Feasibility