Baker & O'Brien, Inc.


Service Details

Service Details

Commercial Contracts

Baker & O'Brien consultants are frequently retained as consulting or testifying experts and have been qualified to offer evidence in many contract disputes involving the energy industry.  Typical assignments include:  (a) quality variations in crude oil supply and pipeline contracts; (b) product measurement discrepancies; (c) asset valuations; (d) force majeure; (e) operations and maintenance; f) production sharing; and (g) royalties.  Our clients have included oil and gas companies, trading houses, and underwriters and brokerage houses.

Related Case Studies

Related Case Studies
High-TAN Crude Oil – Force Majeure Declaration Leads to Litigation
When a refiner claimed force majeure for no longer being able to process a supplier’s crude oil due to corrosive properties, the parties entered into litigation.  The claims and counterclaims related to “high total acid number” (TAN) crude, which were the key issues that Baker & O’Brien investigated.  We were engaged to review the positions of the two parties and provide a written expert report. Read more
Operations and Maintenance Contracts – Not Always What They Seem
A dispute arose over a pipeline operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement about responsibilities for equipment and staffing for the O&M activity.  At issue were the contractual scope of work, industry practices, typical staffing, and usual overhead costs.  Based on site investigation findings and experience with similar facilities around the world, we provided an expert report, a rebuttal report, and testified at the arbitration hearing. Read more
When “All Risks” May Not Cover “All Losses”
When a refiner failed to provide product volumes, per a crude oil tolling agreement, the trader filed a lawsuit against the refiner and a loss claim to its insurance provider.  Baker & O’Brien was engaged to verify the extent of the losses incurred and evaluate the cause of the losses—inefficiency processing or theft—and provided expert testimony at trial. Read more


Related Experience

Related Experience
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
Audit of Gas Contract
Conducted an audit of the revenue settlement of natural gas liquids and residue gas per the terms of a gas processing agreement. Investigated causes of reduced product yields, and reviewed compressor operation, fuel consumption, and product and fuel allocation procedures.
Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
Crude Oil Processing Contract Dispute
Served as expert witness concerning a dispute between an international oil trading company (Trader) and an independent refining company (Refiner), between whom there was a crude oil processing contract.  The Trader alleged that the Refiner misappropriated products to its own account.  Analyzed the refinery production and product disposition under each processing deal over a period of three years and calculated the damages under the alleged misappropriation.  Prepared an independent detailed damages claim for insurance purposes and defended the claim at trial.  
Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony, Pricing, Product Quality
Jet Fuel Underpayment Claim
Assessed jet fuel supply contracts to the Defense Energy Supply Center to see if an overpayment claim was justified.
Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
LPG Pipeline Specifications
Evaluated pipeline tariffs, product specifications, connection agreements, and liquefied petroleum gas sales agreements, including the determination of fractionator feedstock and product economics, for the export of liquefied petroleum gas to northern Mexico from fractionation facilities in West Texas.
Commercial Terms Review, Pipeline, Product Quality
Market Analysis and Term Supply Contracting - Synthetic Crude Oil
Assisted a Venezuelan joint venture company in developing a marketing strategy for a new synthetic crude oil. The assignment included an evaluation of the potential market for the new production, modeling of refinery values for the new production, detailed assessments of potential supply agreements, and assistance in term contract negotiations.
Commercial Terms Review, Crude Oil Valuation, Pricing, Product Quality
Natural Gas Royalty Dispute
Provided expert testimony regarding the reasonableness of natural gas royalty payments by comparing available arm's-length contracts, pricing, and actual costs of gathering, compressing, and processing the gas.
Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
Natural Gas Royalty Dispute
On behalf of several producing companies, demonstrated the reasonableness of royalty payments for natural gas by comparing available arm's-length contracts, pricing, and actual costs of gathering, compressing, and processing the gas.
Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
Natural Gas Tax Dispute
Following the imposition of a new oil and gas taxation regime, a dispute arose regarding the contractual right of local natural gas producers to "pass through" incremental taxes to their customers.  Served as expert witness.  Key work involved the development of a fair mechanism to allocate recovery and distribution costs between "jointly" produced hydrocarbons, including oil, condensate, natural gas, and natural gas liquids.  Prepared and defended specific proposal in the arbitration proceedings.
Arbitration, Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony, Pricing
Crude Oil Quality Contract Dispute
Expert witness services regarding a high TAN (acid) crude oil supply contract and refinery construction and corrosion.
Commercial Terms Review, Crude Oil Valuation, Product Quality
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
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
Product Supply Contract Review
Following the notice of cancellation of a product supply agreement based on crude processing, to be replaced with an agreement where refined product prices were to be supplied based on adjustments to posted prices, evaluated the economics of the proposed supply contract compared with the existing crude processing agreement.  Determined the required level of discount to OPIS prices to match product cost under the existing crude processing arrangement.
Commercial Terms Review, Crude Oil Valuation, Pricing, Product Quality
Pipeline Contractual Dispute
Assisted in a claim between a major U.S. energy provider and project promoters concerning claims that the energy provider defrauded project promoters when it proceeded with the construction of an international natural gas pipeline.  Submitted report outlining the differences between energy provider's project and the promoters' project.
Commercial Terms Review, Pipeline
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.
Natural Gas Gathering Fee Dispute
Reviewed natural gas contracts to opine on whether addition of a gas gathering fee was consistent with typical commercial experience on intrastate pipelines.
Commercial Terms Review, Pipeline
Natural Gas Processing Contract Dispute
Provided expert testimony in a dispute between an independent gas producer and a gas processor regarding a proposed natural gas processing agreement.
Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony
Pipeline Operating Dispute
Assisted in a dispute between an owner and an operator of a recently-constructed crude oil pipeline.  Prepared an expert report concerning:  (1) the facilities that should have been provided as part of the capital project to construct the pipeline; (2) the equipment necessary to operate and maintain the pipeline; and (3) whether defects found during the early operating period were the result of improper equipment design specifications and construction, or improper operation and maintenance.  Testified at arbitration in London.
Arbitration, Commercial Terms Review, Environmental, Expert Witness/Testimony, Industry Practice/Standard of Care, Operations/Maintenance, Pipeline
Fuel Oil Contamination Dispute
Expert witness services regarding a residual fuel oil contamination in a storage facility.
Expert Witness/Testimony, Forensic Analysis , Product Quality
Natural Gas Contract Dispute
Provided an expert report and expert witness testimony regarding measurement and pricing provisions of natural gas purchase/sale contract.
Commercial Terms Review, Expert Witness/Testimony
Natural Gas Royalty Audit
Audited royalty payments related to several natural gas gathering contracts.
Commercial Terms Review, Pricing
Gas Processing Contract Dispute
Submitted expert witness testimony in a natural gas processing contract dispute between a gas producer and processor.  Testimony included opinions on application of contract pricing and expense recovery terms.
Arbitration, Commercial Terms Review, Pricing