Baker & O'Brien, Inc.


Industry Details

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 Case Studies

Related Case Studies
Resin Producer’s Reliance on a Single Supplier Leads to Business Interruption
A business interruption claim arose from the inability of a producer to obtain feedstock components.  Baker & O'Brien assessed the magnitude of the producer’s losses, with focus on the costs incurred to acquire alternative feedstock and lost profits from production.  Our consultants reviewed documents and calculations in preparation of the expert report and deposition with a detailed review of inventories, scheduling, and logistics for alternative supply and lost sales. Read more
Root Cause Analysis of a Plant Fire - First Appearances Can Be Deceptive
First appearances can be deceptive when investigating the root cause of an incident.  Root cause analysis (RCA) can identify hidden underlying faults that, when corrected, will prevent reoccurrences. This article reviews an example where an RCA of a fire and explosion was able to identify hidden deficiencies in the plant’s control systems, in which modifications had not been properly integrated. Read more
Hurricane Force Majeure or Poor Standard of Care?
A supply dispute came about when there was a question of cause—hurricane force majeure or poor standard of care?  Baker & O'Brien was called in to investigate the series of events leading to the extended outage, including legal compliance and conformance with standard industry protocols.  We provided an expert report and deposition testimony with respect to the refinery complexity and integration, and on whether the operator acted prudently to restart as soon as possible. Read more
Force Majeure: Were Supplier Actions “Foreseeable” and “Controllable”?
When a petrochemical plant turnaround took three months longer than the originally planned two months, a downstream customer filed for arbitration seeking damages for sourcing an alternative feedstock.  The dispute centered on whether or not the extended delay was the subject of unforeseeable circumstances, i.e., force majeure.  We presented an expert report that examined whether compressor delivery and installation delays were foreseeable and controllable. Read more
When Failure to Operate “Prudently” Can Trump Force Majeure
A refiner and a petrochemical producer disputed whether unfulfilled feedstock supplies from the refiner were the result of unforeseeable force majeure events.  The events included changes to crude oil quality, contractor performance, off-site equipment failures, and technology performance limitations.  We opined on prudent operating procedures and provided written and oral testimony to the arbitration hearing. Read more
Is There Such a Thing as a “Foolproof” Process Design?
When a chemical company experienced a runaway catalytic reaction, the owner filed arbitration for damages it believed were caused by a design flaw with the emergency shutdown (ESD) system.  This case required Baker & O’Brien to investigate the root cause, the design and function of the ESD system, and operator competency.  Several expert reports were prepared and submitted as evidence in the arbitration, and we were cross-examined at the hearing. Read more
Death by 8,000 Cuts – How Changes During Construction Can Impact a Project
A jury trial considered how design and construction changes in a chemical plant project affected cost and schedule.  The opinion was developed based on the analysis of each party’s rights under the lump sum contract, the change orders, and the construction process.   Read more
Dispute Over a Flare Tip—What Constitutes Normal Wear and Tear?
An insurance claim was filed for damages to a flare when a sour gas plant experienced an unplanned shutdown caused by an electrical power interruption.  Baker & O’Brien was retained to assess whether damage to the flare tip was associated with the shutdown or was the result of wear and tear.  Our expert report, which considered the flare age, wind, and flame patterns during normal operation, and wear patterns on the welds near the tip, was submitted as part of the mediation process. Read more
Turnaround Workers Avoid Serious Injury—But Could a Flash Fire Have Been Prevented?
A flash fire occurred during turnaround activities inside a petrochemical plant pressure vessel.  Our investigation identified causal factors that led to the incident, including vessel preparation and confined space entry procedures.  Our resulting opinion from the root cause analysis was submitted into evidence in litigation and facilitated settlement prior to trial. Read more
Dissecting the Root Cause of Equipment Failure – Was the Hurricane to Blame?
Following a hurricane, there was disagreement over whether a series of failures at a refinery had the same common root cause. Detailed statistical analysis of the failure events was employed by a team of Baker & O'Brien consultants, while sifting through the data to identify the mechanisms underlying each individual event.  Our expert report facilitated resolution of the insurance claim for business interruption. Read more
Highly Specialized Steel Alloys Inflate Repair Costs
An insurance claim followed an explosion and fire at a petrochemical complex.  Due to the extent of the damage, several difficult engineering problems were encountered.  The claim was complicated by the cost associated with repairing and replacing equipment constructed of specialized steel alloys. Read more
Equipment Condition: Was an Insurance Claim Inflated Because of Poor Mothballing Practices?
“Mothballing”—the practice of preserving and maintaining process equipment during an extended outage—can significantly impact the time and cost to resume operations.  An insurance dispute regarding repair costs following a plant explosion.  Baker & O'Brien identified which costs were directly attributable to the incident, and which may have been related to inadequate mothballing.  Our expert report addressed the adequacy of the mothballing and its influence on equipment condition at restart, and these effects on the amount of the claim.  Read more
Force Majeure ... or Not?
A refiner declared a force majeure that delayed a ship scheduled to dock and load product after the local port authority closed the port during a hurricane.  When the refinery extended the force majeure claim beyond the reopening of the port, the shipper claimed demurrage costs.  Baker & O’Brien assessed the basis for the force majeure extension by performing an analysis of refinery operations, planning, and scheduling. Read more
Negative Project Outlook Hits Shareholder Value: What was Known and When?
Disputes between owners and EPC contractors, are often about schedule and budget.  Baker & O’Brien was engaged to opine on the impact of the extreme climate location on project execution considering personnel capabilities and the quality of fabrication and construction work.  Our findings pertaining to mitigation plans, field modifications, logistics plans, site living conditions and labor productivity were presented to an arbitral tribunal in report and orally. Read more
When Petrochemicals Go Bad: Who's to Blame for Off-Spec Cargo?
A transoceanic shipment of butadiene arrived off-specification at its destination after a three-week voyage resulting in a claim against the trader, who, in turn, blamed inadequate refrigeration on the vessel.  Baker & O’Brien analyzed the records to evaluate three potential scenarios that could have caused this issue, including:  1) contamination at the production source; 2) contamination of a ship compartment before loading; and 3) refrigeration was not maintained during shipment.  We investigated the possible causes and submitted an expert report and provided deposition testimony. Read more


Related Experience

Related Experience
Refinery Air Pollution Dispute
Analyzed refinery and chemical plant air emissions data, categorized events, and explained how and why refinery and chemical plant operations air emission events occur.
Environmental, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Product Quality
Ammonia Plant Business Interruption Dispute
Provided expert witness testimony in a multi-million dollar business interruption claim.  Evaluated operating records, estimated business interruption losses due to a power outage. 
Business Interruption, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
Ammonia Plant Construction Insurance Dispute
Evaluated the technical basis for a ammonia plant insurance claim involving construction defects and warranty work.  Inspected the plant, evaluated project records, and reviewed maintenance records.
EPC-related, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
Ammonia Plant Lender's Engineer
Lender's engineer services for a major European bank on a 750 TPD ammonia plant relocation.  Assessed existing and new technology that was to be incorporated in the project.  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 Lender's Engineer
Lender's engineer for a major European bank on a world-scale ammonia plant construction project.  Assessed the technology, analyzed feedstock supply agreements, reviewed contracts, and assisted with contracts negotiation.  Monitored construction progress and witnessed the plant performance test.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance
Ammonia/Urea Reactor Failure Analysis
Investigated the cause of an ammonia/urea plant reactor failure and responded to OSHA claims.  Analyzed process equipment and operating practices used in ammonia and urea manufacture.
Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related
Benzene Exposure
Reviewed plant operating history and emissions records and provided expert opinions regarding potential benzene exposure to refinery employees.
Environmental, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, OSHA-related
Benzene Production Economics
Analyzed 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, Project Feasibility, 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
Chemical Plant Business Interruption Claim
Analyzed the impact of a major equipment fabrication error on a chemical plant business interruption (BI) claim including schedule delay and financial impacts.
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 force majeure claim 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 that extended a petrochemical plant’s turnaround schedule.  The plant operator claimed force majeure due to defects in critical equipment that was required to be installed during the turnaround.  The correction to the defects then resulted in the late delivery of equipment.
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
Provided expert witness evidence the financial damages of interplant feedstock and product transfer agreement non-compliance between a refinery and an adjacent chemical plant. 
Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony, Forensic Analysis , Operations/Maintenance, Pricing
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
Petrochemicals Business Interruption Claim
Assisted in a dispute concerning a petrochemicals business interruption claim and lawsuit after a declaration of force majeure by a manufacturer. Reviewed pertinent data and prepared written reports, affidavits, and deposition regarding the business interruption 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
Ammonia Plant Failure Investigation
Assisted in evaluating a series of insurance claims centered around separate events to determine a proximate cause.  Work included reviewing design and operating records for a worldscale ammonia plant.  Each of the events resulted in claims for property damage and business interruption.  Prepared an analysis and report that evaluated the root cause for each of the events and whether the events were connected by a chain of causation.
Business Interruption, Fertilizers, Operations/Maintenance, Property Damage
Refrigerants Manufacturing Arbitration
Assisted in investigating claims that a plant, which manufactured refrigerants, was not designed to make products that complied with applicable laws.  Work included assistance in discovery, inspection of the plant, evaluation of operating records, review of the plant technology and design, review of capital cost estimates, valuation of the plant, and determination of economic damages.  Prepared expert report and testified at hearing.  
Arbitration, EPC-related, Operations/Maintenance, Product Quality, Project Feasibility
Petrochemical Cargo Contamination
Evaluated a case where a cargo of butadiene did not meet specification upon delivery due to excessive dimer content.  Reviewed the sources and history of the various lots that comprised the cargo, the timing and temperature of the cargo during its voyage, and the gas carrier's operating records.   
Commercial Terms Review, Product Quality
Appraisal Services
Provided appraisal services for industrial properties.  The three standard methods of valuation used were:  cost, income, and market approaches. 
Ethylene Plant Construction Dispute
Opined on the reasonable period of time for the completion phase of a rebuild project after a fire during an expansion project.  Commented on the implementation of relief system changes during the rebuild to be in compliance with standards and codes.
Business Interruption, EPC-related, Operations/Maintenance
Nitrogen Related Incident
Investigated events surrounding the rupture of a nitrogen vessel utilized to purge process equipment during a planned TA.  The rupture led to several employee injuries and a fatality.  Assisted counsel by evaluating existing plant safe work practices, procedures utilized by different parties associated with the event, and OSHA/PSM requirements relative to the job that was being performed.  Efforts included reviewing employee depositions, employee and contractor safe work practices, documentation related to the planned TA and incident, and OSHA regulations.  Developed expert report and provided deposition testimony. 
Expert Witness/Testimony, Fertilizers, Operations/Maintenance
Chemical Plant Construction Dispute
Provided expert report on alleged engineering design and failed mechanical completion issues for a chemical plant in a lump sum and guaranteed completion date EPC contract.  Prepared expert report and provided testimony detailing the basis of findings and opinions.  
Arbitration, EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony
Hurricane Product Shortage Claim Assessment
Assessed a product shortfall by a chemical producer following Hurricane Harvey.  Provided volume and revenue estimates, taking into consideration port closures and the timing of force majeure declarations.
Arbitration, Business Interruption, Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony, LP/Planning Practice
Plant Reliability Dispute
Assessed plant operating shutdowns and production losses related to force majeure claims.  Evaluated if these outages were reasonably the result of a force majeure event, or were related to poor maintenance practices and/or reductions in cost associated with process reliability programs.
Expert Witness/Testimony, Operations/Maintenance
Ammonia Plant Relocation
Evaluated technical issues related to project management in the relocation of an ammonia plant.  Reviewed records related to schedule, progress measurement, and construction budgets throughout the relocation project.  Reviewed project execution plan and compared actual execution to plan.  Also advised on responsibilities of the owner, contractor, and subcontractors on the project.
EPC-related, Expert Witness/Testimony, Fertilizers, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Project Feasibility
Insurance Support: Liability and Business Interruption
Assessed the merits of a liability claim and business interruption claim associated with an equipment failure in a sulfuric acid regeneration facility.  Advised on the value and key determinants of a business interruption claim.
Business Interruption, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Property Damage
Catalyst Financial Projection Review
Evaluated catalyst sales and financial forecasts for select business lines for various industry applications.  Evaluated market sizes and competitors.
Chemical Plant Fire Investigation
Provided expert witness services regarding a chemical plant fire involving sodium chlorate.
Expert Witness/Testimony, OSHA-related, Safety