Oil Pipeline


Laslett International’s Managing Director Bob Laslett was engaged by an international law firm on behalf of a major oil pipeline operator to provide expert opinion in the form of an Expert Witness report and ultimately to attend a three-week hearing and give evidence at the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration in London.

A dispute had arisen between the Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contractor and their employer, centred around the construction of 4 pump stations and 1 intermediate pigging station for this the second longest oil pipeline in the world.

The value of the dispute was very significant.

The 1,768 kilometres long oil pipeline starts near Baku in Azerbaijan, crosses Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and terminates at the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It crosses several mountain ranges at altitudes up to 2,830 metres. It also traverses 3,000 roads, railways, and utility lines, both over ground and underground as well as 1,500 watercourses of up to 500 metres wide. The pipeline occupies a corridor eight meters wide and is buried along its entire length at a depth of no less than one meter.


The pipeline is shown in green on the map.

The pipeline transports 1 million barrels of oil per day. The complete oil pipeline project includes two major marine terminals, eight pumping stations along the pipeline route together with two intermediate pigging stations and one pressure reduction station. The pipeline is 1,070 mm (42 inches) diameter for most of its length.

Bob Laslett as the appointed Expert Witness on behalf of the respondent was required to review a large variety of project documents, although the specific focus concerned a detailed and comprehensive review of a package of some 3000 design engineering documents. This package included design and detail drawings, specifications, schedules, data sheets, equipment lists, etc. to determine if this package of design documentation was adequate for the construction engineering and management contractor to commence construction engineering.

Specific work scope and deliverables including but were not limited to the following:

o Development of an appropriate sampling and analysis technique for the total design documentation so that it covered the full range of document types as well as all the engineering disciplines involved (Civil, Structural, Building, Mechanical, Piping, Electrical, Instrumentation and HVAC).

o Carry out a very detailed analysis of the design documentation including cross referencing and tracking of both equipment and instruments through the design process.

o Provide expert opinion in the form of a detailed and comprehensive report.

o Attend meetings with both the respondents legal team and the claimants appointed expert for the case.

o Give evidence as the respondent’s expert witness during the tribunal hearing at the International Court of Arbitration in London.

o Provide support and guidance to both the instructing Lawyers and QC in preparation for the arbitration within the specific area of oil industry engineering and construction expertise.

Bob Laslett brought not only his specific oil and gas engineering and construction expert experience in this matter but a robust methodology and attention to detail. The expert report produced for the case had to stand up to detailed review by Lawyers and the evidence was strenuously tested under cross examination by the claimants QC.

Bob Laslett’s systematic and detailed planning and control of this project provided timely information to prepare for this important international arbitration hearing.

The data was presented in a manner that a non-expert could easily interpret, assimilate and understand and discuss as necessary for the case.

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