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BP suing fabricators over structural steel

Keywords: Tags  BP Products North America, Schuff Steel, Trinity Steel Fabricators, Pyrocrete, structural steel coating, oil refinery, lawsuit, corinna petry

CHICAGO — BP Products North America Inc. has accused two structural steel fabricators of supplying structural steel with defective coating.

The steel was installed in the company’s Whiting, Ind., refinery, which is undergoing a multibillion-dollar upgrade. The project required "thousands of tons" of structural steel coated with Pyrocrete 241, a fireproofing material which is now "degrading prematurely and causing damage to BP’s property," according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Indiana against Schuff Steel Co., Trinity Steel Fabricators Inc., Carboline Co., Tecon Services Inc. and Alfred Miller Contracting Co.

Phoenix-based Schuff and Houston-based Trinity were each contracted by BP to provide structural steel coated with Pyrocrete to the Whiting refinery. Schuff and Trinity subcontracted the fireproofing services to Lake Charles, La.-based Alfred Miller and Houston-based Tecon, which sourced the Pyrocrete from St. Louis-based Carboline. Under their contracts, Schuff and Trinity are responsible for the work of their subcontractors, BP said.

At various locations within the refinery, the Pyrocrete now exhibits "surface softness (and) crumbling; low hardness and compressive strength; delamination and/or flaking; (and) voids, cracks and other discontinuities," the lawsuit alleges.

"Trinity and Schuff failed to supply structural steel with Pyrocrete that was properly prepared and applied as required by the contract," said BP, and the allegedly improperly prepared and applied Pyrocrete is causing damage to the structural steel itself.

The Warrenville, Ill.-based BP Plc subsidiary did not name a damage amount it is seeking for alleged breach of contract, breach of warranty and negligence.

A $6.3-million purchase order with Trinity called for nearly 3,000 tons of structural sections, plus steel plate, angles, joists, decking, trusses, studs, stair treads and stringers, handrails and bolts, according to court documents.

Schuff was contracted to fabricate more than 14,000 tons of steel into caged ladders, platforms, equipment supports, pipe racks, floor plate and grating, stairs, railings, walking and working surfaces, and fasteners.

Bill Moran, Trinity’s president and chief executive officer, told AMM that his company wasn’t yet prepared to comment on the allegations.

The chief executive of Schuff Steel could not be reached for comment.

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