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Petroleum Refining

U.S. refining operations are confronting new challenges; i.e., flat product demand, foreign competition, potential threats from natural gas, more stringent environmental regulations and the emergence of light shale oil reserves. Refiners rely on FTI Consulting Energy professionals to tackle these challenges, drawing upon their experience with refining operations, knowledge of the oil and products marketplace, and expertise in regulatory policy.

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Before shale oil production blossomed, many companies, in an attempt to stay profitable and viable, entered into joint ventures and other forms of partnerships. Now that huge potential profits are possible through shale oil, companies are changing their business strategies that include dissolving those joint ventures and other partnership arrangements. In addition, increased environmental regulation, limited financial capital and aging refining assets are the source of disputes and claims. FTI Consulting professionals have considerable experience in economics, finance and operations within the refining industry. So there is no learning curve for us to climb. We assist clients with the financial analysis and modeling of complex problems, performing valuations of various aspects of the business, analyzing diverse types of claims and providing expert testimony.


Many issues for clients involved in petroleum refining include tremendous amounts of data that need to be analyzed to support a client’s position. FTI Consulting has the industry knowledge base and computing power to examine large data sets and distill them into a meaningful view of an incident or set of events. In doing so, we discover information that frequently is useful to our clients in defending their position.


Refiners face a host of serious policy issues ranging from air quality to transportation — sulfur regulation, the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, to name a few. In addition, environmental concerns are impeding the development of additional pipelines to bring new crude oil sources to existing refineries. As a result, railroads have become an expensive transportation alternative to pipelines for moving crude oil. This is generating a considerable amount of policy deliberation about safety protocols and likely restrictions. Because many of the professionals at FTI Consulting have worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) or other regulatory bodies, we are uniquely qualified to assist clients with navigating through this difficult regulatory environment.

Strategic Communications

“Small things create big waves” is the common dynamic for refineries. Beyond regulatory debate and compliance issues, refiners face public affairs and community relations challenges, crisis events and rapid response scenarios that must be managed quickly and adroitly before negative press coverage damages a refiner’s reputation and impacts its stock price. FTI Consulting communications professionals manage such events by knowing the issues, possessing technical knowledge of the entire spectrum of refining processes, understanding the terminology, and translating all this into cogent media and public affairs solutions. In addition, we provide ongoing general community relations services that help build reservoirs of goodwill that can help soften the impact of a serious event.

Strategic & Business Consulting

Refiners are faced with keeping aging refineries competitive while complying with EPA consent decrees. FTI Consulting often is engaged to conduct an assessment of the refinery’s economic value, evaluating energy efficiency, process integration and automation, cost improvements and containment, and strategic opportunities. Our Energy professionals draw upon years of experience in refinery operations — with oil companies, with refineries and with FTI Consulting — to provide sound, educated strategic guidance.


When a refiner has an environmental health claim or counterclaim, historical evidence of refinery operations can be a critical component in the case. But evaluating a refinery and learning how it operated in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s can be a daunting task. FTI Consulting has the knowledge base and computing power to do this kind of difficult research and can provide a clearer understanding of historic refinery operations. In addition, we compile, organize and validate the costs involved and present them in a clear cost/claims presentation for our client, the client’s counsel and the judge hearing the case. We provide a greater understanding of whether or not claimed health issues were caused by the refinery or by a multitude of other exposure sources.

Interim Management

The success of a restructuring, merger, acquisition, carveout, spin-off or divestiture may depend on how quickly management voids can be filled once the transaction is completed. The seasoned Energy professionals with C-level experience at FTI Consulting are prepared to fill the void when client companies face leadership, financial or operational challenges. In a moment’s notice, our experienced and credentialed senior executives assume C-level roles, providing the leadership and strategic decision-making ability to maintain momentum, establish corporate priorities, build morale and provide critical continuity. Our C-level executives serve in the following roles: chief executive officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief restructuring officer, controller and treasurer.

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