Baker & O'Brien, Inc.

Services

Service Details

Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC)

A large portion of Baker & O’Brien’s work involving the EPC industry is concerned with domestic and international construction-related disputes.  These often involve detailed analyses of work order claims, project management performance, adequacy of bid documents, contractor bid preparation, quality of construction, schedule and time extensions, and interface and interference issues.  We are familiar with all of the factors that affect the execution of projects, ranging from fixed price to reimbursable transactions.  We can act solely as consultants, or as testifying experts in mediation, arbitration, or litigation.  Many of our consultants have previously served as project or construction managers for owners and contractors on large energy projects throughout the world, including North America, the Middle East, and Asia.  Accordingly, we are able to quickly assess the range of issues that are often at the core of a construction-related dispute.

Related Experience

Related Experience
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
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
Caustic Soda Contract Dispute
Reviewed caustic soda plant expansion and the ability of supplier to deliver the required volume of caustic soda under contract.  Advised on the reasonableness of the expansion construction schedule based on review of environmental permits, public data, and internal documents on construction activities.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Construction Dispute - Gas Plant
Provided expert reports and testimony regarding project management issues, alleged defects, and liquidated damages for international arbitration between owner and contractor.  The project involved an offshore platform, an undersea pipeline, an onshore pipeline, an onshore cryogenic gas processing plant, and a sales gas pipeline.
Arbitration, EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Gasification, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Offshore, Pipeline
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
Construction Dispute Litigation - Gas Plant
Assisted in a litigated dispute between Owner-Operator and Engineering & Construction Contractor over whether a cryogenic gas plant, as engineered, procured, and constructed, met the stipulated contractual performance guarantees; prepared expert witness rebuttal report with respect to relevant issues.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Gasification, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
Contractual Dispute
Performed a due diligence of owner allegations and contractor claims pertaining to a Lump Sum-Turn Key contract termination.  Reviewed documents, schedules, witness statements, and expert reports to advise counsel on implications of contracting strategy and contract management following award.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Damages from Steam Turbine Failure
Assisted in determining economic damages resulting from failures associated with a new steam turbine that was provided and installed by a turbine manufacturer at a power generation facility. Conducted independent assessment of economic losses suffered by electric cooperative as a result of both short-term and long-term performance shortfalls and outages.
Business Interruption, EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pricing
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
Ethylene Plant Construction Litigation
Assisted in a dispute concerning allegations that poor engineering work product contributed to a >$100 million cost overrun.  Assisted with discovery, inspected plant, evaluated construction documents, analyzed the project critical path, and analyzed lost income due to delays in the project schedule.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
FCCU Construction Litigation
Assisted a major engineering and construction firm in defending allegations that construction errors in the installation of an FCCU catalyst cooler resulted in a significant business interruption claim.  Assisted in discovery, analyzed FCCU operating data, reviewed refinery operating records, evaluated design issues, calculated property damages and business interruption losses, and provided expert testimony.
Business Interruption, EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Property Damage
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
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
Interstate Pipeline Inspection Practices
Provided expert testimony on inspection and maintenance practices for interstate petroleum products pipelines. Issues included reasonable depth of additional overfill and width of maintenance right-of-way.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
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
Manufactured Gas Plant
Provided technical assistance and review of historical documents in support of litigation regarding the environmental cleanup of a manufactured gas plant site.  The site, which had various gasification units in operation between approximately 1870 to 1950, had been used for a number of other purposes.  Analysis investigated the contamination present at the site to all previous and current gas plant operations.
Environmental, 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
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
Offshore Pipeline Failure
Following a business interruption claim concerning number of failures on a large subsea crude oil pipeline, examined original construction specifications, maintenance, inspection, and operation records of the pipeline.  Also reviewed the repair plans and repair execution of the failed components and made recommendations to include:  a) comprehensive metallurgical analyses; b) preparation of an efficient repair and execution schedule; and c) complete subsea modeling of the pipeline for the purpose of failure mode and time to failure predictions.    
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Offshore, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
Offshore Pipeline Project
Served as Independent Engineer on behalf of a major financial institution for a $200 million project to build a deepwater gas and oil-gathering system. Prepared a valuation of offshore pipelines and an onshore gas processing plant for gathering and processing of deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production in support of structured finance. Certified completion of the project for financial purposes.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Offshore, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
Offshore Platform Design
Assessed design of elevated platform and ladders on a jack-up oil derrick which was under construction.  Compared design to industry standards.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Offshore
Paper Coating Plant Project Finance
Served as independent engineer on behalf of a major financial institution for the construction of a new $100 million paper coating plant. Prepared due diligence, assessed technology, evaluated project scope of work and schedule, reviewed engineering, procurement, and construction contracts, and advised bank with respect to mitigation of project risks.
Commercial Terms Review, EPC-related, Project Feasibility
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
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
Valuation of Pipelines and Gas Plant
Served as independent engineer on behalf of a major bank to value and certify completion of a project to build offshore pipelines and an onshore gas processing plant for gathering and processing of deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production. The valuation was prepared for the lender in support of $200 million of structured finance.
EPC-related, Offshore, Pipeline
Refinery Equipment Sales
Assisted the owner of a 60,000 BPD crude oil refinery in developing a marketing plan and finding potential customers for used process equipment. The assignment generated a sale of several major processing units to a local refiner for use in the manufacture of high-octane gasoline blending stocks.
EPC-related
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
Salt Water Disposal Tank Explosion
Investigated the cause and origin of a storage tank explosion at an oil and gas salt water disposal facility in Colorado. Conducted site investigation and facility/equipment inspections, evaluated system design and operation, and conducted witness interviews. Determined cause of explosion and worked with company management to evaluate existing policies and procedures for potential areas of improvement.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related, Physical Asset Appraisal, Safety
Power Plant Construction Dispute
Provided expert report and oral testimony on roles and responsibilities of: (1)  an EPC contractor under a Lump Sum-Turn Key contract; (2) owners in awarding and managing such projects; and (3) the capabilities of owner's and contractor's project management teams.  The project involved provision of EPC services to retrofit selective catalytic reduction equipment to existing power generation units, as mandated by the regulatory authorities.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
Refinery Feasibility Study
Performed a feasibility study for a small, skid-mounted refinery to be operated in Kurdistan to serve local markets. Reviewed contractor proposal regarding likely configuration, crude slate, capital costs, and yields.
EPC-related, Pricing, Project Feasibility
Power Project
Supported lenders in mezzanine financing for construction of a cogeneration plant in Western Siberia.  Advised as to the collateral value of certain equipment ordered for the project and evaluated the technical capabilities of the company to manage the project under long-term project financing.
EPC-related
Power Plant Construction Dispute
Provided advice on a construction dispute between owner and contractor regarding a project to upgrade and modify a power plant in the Caribbean, which had alleged defects related to the boiler heat recovery section, the desalination plant, seawater cooling piping, and instrumentation.
EPC-related
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.  
EPC-related
Refinery Construction Dispute
Engaged to assess claims that poor EPC performance resulted in significant cost increases and schedule delays in the construction of a residue catalytic cracking unit.  Case centered around whether the prime contractor had fulfilled all of its obligations under the sub-contract and had taken all agreed steps to contain identified potential cost overruns and other factors impacting the schedule.  Prepared an expert report on the project and provided evidence at the hearing.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
Refinery Reactivation and Upgrading
Worked on behalf of a major investment banking group to evaluate the plans of an independent refiner to upgrade and reactivate its 200,000 barrels per day refinery.  Conducted "due diligence" on the company's plans and specifications, evaluated likely economics, and assessed competitive forces in the marketplace.  Upon closing of the financial transaction, monitored the construction progress, schedule, and budget over a period of four years.  Reviewed all invoices for labor and materials and approved draw down of construction funds in accordance with the contractual agreements.
EPC-related, Project Feasibility
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
Refinery Construction Dispute
Assisted law firm representing Russian refiner in dispute with U.S. engineering firm that provided a refinery for a location in Russia.  Ascertained construction status of units and reviewed issues in dispute regarding design basis, scope of work, and costs for a modular refinery constructed in the U.S.
EPC-related, Pricing, Project Feasibility
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
Project Cost Overrun Dispute
For a large sour condensate stripper facility, evaluated a significant project cost increase over the original estimate, taking into account work scope changes, market escalation, the accuracy of the original estimate, and the impact of project delays.  An assessment was made of the reasonableness in each category and the likelihood of success with respect to cost recovery via litigation proceedings from a technical standpoint.  The project was designed and constructed during a period of rapidly escalating labor and material costs.
EPC-related
Gas Processing Metallurgy Replacement
Evaluated the reasonableness of a large project’s cost to replace the piping with a different metallurgy for a high-pressure, high-temperature sour gas reinjection facility in Central Asia.  Also opined on the industry knowledge of the proper metallurgy at the time of construction of the original facility.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Review Project Development Costs
Evaluated multi-million dollar cost overruns of yearly operating budgets of a Central Asian consortium involved with the oil and gas development and production. Costs reviewed included Engineering Support, Operating Costs, Drilling Costs, and Capital Expenditures.
EPC-related, Operations/Maintenance
Gas Plant Emergency Shutdown Design Analysis
To determine whether a system complied with key requirements, reviewed design of cryogenic gas plant emergency shutdown system in connection with a fire event to assess conformance with API RP 521 (Guide for Pressure Relieving and Depressuring Systems).  Provided affidavit of merit pursuant to Texas Civil Practice Section 150.002.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
Natural Gas Gathering Disputes
Provided expert report regarding claims involving natural gas measurement, prudent operations, natural gas pricing, surface estate issues, reasonable accommodations, and environmental considerations.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Oil Field Pipe Dispute-Insurance Claim
Reviewed a claim involving an insurance dispute relating to proper preservation of drilling pipe in a storage yard following a hurricane.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Refinery Construction Dispute
Evaluated dispute between a mechanical subcontractor and owner on a refinery expansion project in the Middle East. Evaluated issues related to delay and disruption caused by material delivery delays.
EPC-related
Refinery Contractor Indemnification Dispute
Provided expert opinion concerning an indemnification dispute between a refiner and contractor, as well as the standard of care and practice in the industry concerning the design and construction of a piping relief system.  Also opined on the refinery owner’s responsibilities concerning the acceptance and maintenance of completed piping systems.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
Review Project Development Costs
Evaluated multi-million dollar cost overruns of yearly operating budgets of a Central Asian consortium involved with the oil and gas development and production. Costs reviewed included Engineering Support, Operating Costs, Drilling Costs, and Capital Expenditures.
EPC-related, 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
Biodiesel Plant Construction Dispute
Evaluated engineering and construction practices in a dispute between an owner and EPC contractor due to cost overruns.  Issues included engineering and project management practices which required rework, and construction practices which created safety and operability issues.  Cost estimates were prepared for correcting the deficiencies.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care
Gas Treating Facility Explosion Investigation
Investigated cause of system overpressure and shutdown of downstream pipelines which led to flange gasket failure and fire.  Reviewed system design, construction, and overpressure protection at wellheads located upstream to determine cause of failure.   
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Pipeline, Safety
Production Sharing Dispute
Reviewed amended field development plan with respect to a PSA dispute between government and operator consortium over a proposed multi-billion dollar increase in projected final costs. Prepared expert report, reply report, and provided oral testimony.
Arbitration, EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
Horizontal Drilling Property Damage
Reviewed damage to private property (farmland) allegedly caused during the installation of an underground pipeline.  A portion of the pipeline was installed using the technique of horizontal directional drilling (HDD). 
EPC-related, Pipeline, Property Damage
LNG Technical Advisor
Provided technical support regarding the FERC filing process, reviewed FEED study deliverables from contractors, and advised with regard to other contracts in support of the project, including geotechnical issues, noise survey, vapor dispersion, etc.  Also reviewed progression and risks involved in estimates of project CAPEX and OPEX.  
EPC-related, Project Feasibility
LPG Terminal
Lenders' Engineer review for development of an LPG terminal consisting of LPG tankage, gasoil tankage, loading facilities, and associated pipelines and equipment.  The facilities were planned to accommodate annual throughput volumes of 1,150,000 tons of LPG and 940,000 tons of gasoil, with minimum guaranteed volumes of 700,000 tons of LPG and 600,000 tons of gasoil with planned future facilities for increased throughput volumes, bunkering operations, and third-party storage.
EPC-related, Project Feasibility, Waterborne/Marine
Construction Dispute - Gas Processing Plant
Dispute involving delay and disruption, welding, and testing during gas plant debottlenecking project.  Contractor claimed that multiple owner changes had resulted in significant additional costs, including delay.  Owner claimed that the costs resulting from the changes were previously paid and that the delay in completion was due to the contractor’s poor management of the project.
Arbitration, EPC-related, Intellectual Property
LNG Due Diligence
Provided technical support to the sponsor of a multi-train liquefaction project.  The scope of work included:  preparation of a technical due diligence report; in-depth review of the Open Book Estimate (OBE), schedule, and project execution plan; assessment of the EPC contractor’s capabilities and experience; high-level review of geotechnical issues; assistance in the development of an Operating and Maintenance (O&M) plan; input into the formation of sponsor’s project management team; and input into the development of owner’s costs, including appropriate levels of cost and schedule contingency.  Provided support to the sponsor with EPC contract negotiations.  
Environmental, LNG, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline, Project Feasibility