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BP suing steel companies for damaged products

BP Whiting refinery. | File~Sun-Times Media

BP Whiting refinery. | File~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 4, 2012 10:17AM



BP claims in a federal lawsuit that steel it ordered as part of its expansion project in Whiting was damaged by a fireproof coating.

Although the lawsuit does not say how much steel was affected or how much the damage has cost, a copy of the contract to coat the steel shows that BP ordered at least 3,100 tons of steel, plus about another 30,000 square feet. The company also ordered at least $4.1 million worth of steel, although it is unclear how much of this received the coating.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, says that BP bought the steel from Trinity Steel Fabricators and Schuff Steel Company, which then subcontracted with Alfred Miller Contracting Company and Tecon Services Inc. to coat the steel with Pyrocrete, a light-weight fireproofing material. Those two companies bought the material from Carboline Company.

The coating has not lived up to its promises, the lawsuit claims, as it has already started to deteriorate. Problems include crumbling, flaking, cracking and a loss of the covering. The covering has also caused damage to the steel, according to the suit. The company has since had to replace the coating and take other steps to fix the problems.

BP did say in a statement that they do not know of any integrity issues and that they do not expect the problems to delay the modernization project at the refinery.

BP says that it provided timely notification of the problems but that so far none of the companies has accepted any responsibility.

The company is asking that all of the defendants be found to be in breach of contracts or warranties and for an unspecified amount of damages.



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