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News Details

News Details

Baker & O'Brien Releases Fourth Quarter Edition of Energy Expert: Issues in Focus

February 28, 2022

This quarter’s Energy Expert newsletter profiles three recent Baker & O’Brien’s engagements, including an incident investigation into a vessel explosion, a class-action lawsuit relating to the marketing of motor oils, and a pipeline crude oil quality dispute.  We hope you find the articles interesting and insightful.


Investigating the Flash Point of a Vessel Explosion

Timothy Deutsch

A few hours after a ship departed a refinery dock with a recently loaded product of heavy fuel oil, the sea-going vessel exploded and sank.  Baker & O’Brien consultants investigated refinery operations, inventory records, and the sampling process to determine why the laboratory test for flash point may have failed to identify the product flammability.  We presented our findings in an expert report and provided deposition testimony.


Marketing of Private-Brand Motor Oils - Were Customers Misled?

Robert Beck

Advances in automobile engine performance have driven engine oil improvements to meet more demanding lubrication requirements; however, many older vehicles can still operate on a less highly-formulated oil.  A class-action lawsuit was filed by a class of purchasers who claimed they were misled by a retailer of an inferior quality store brand motor oil that damaged their engines.  Baker & O’Brien opined with deposition testimony on compliance with industry product labeling requirements and if the store brand oils could have harmed the customers’ engines.


Commercial Impacts of Butane Blending into Crude Oil

Daniel Finelt

A pipeline crude oil quality dispute arose when one shipper on a common carrier pipeline complained that the price of its crude was reduced as a result of butane blending into the pipeline.  We explored the butane content of light crude oils, price relationships between butane content and crude oil price, pipeline throughput impacts associated with butane blending, and butane impacts on petroleum refiners.  Baker & O’Brien’s expert opinions and reports helped facilitate a settlement.



The complete newsletter can be accessed as follows:  Energy Expert Newsletter - February 2022