Fabri Consulting Engineers
Fabri Consulting Engineers

Douglas Burns

Executive Summary

Robert Douglas Goodwin Burns B.Eng (Hons), is currently Engineering Director at Fabri Consulting Engineers Limited. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Strathclyde in 1986. After spending two years working in the design of vacuum heat treatment equipment, in 1988, he joined Trident Engineering Consultants, as a Mechanical Engineer. He specialised in engineering design for the downstream oil industry, initially in the UK and subsequently across the world. Douglas was an employee for almost twenty years before he and Dave Burnett formed Fabri Consulting Engineers Limited in 2005.

In the last ten years he has been responsible for engineering management of major Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management contractors appointed on large downstream oil projects in Turkey (US$80 million) and the Netherlands (US$140 million). Fabri Consulting Engineers have a wide and diverse range of clients in the downstream oil industry including VTTI, TOTAL, Shell, BP, INEOS, Tokheim, Verwater, Trafigura and the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority in Tanzania in association with Live Tech.

During this period Douglas has also prepared various publications, including:

  • In co-operation with the Energy Institutes’ Marketing Safety Committee edited the following publication “INSTITUTE OF PETROLEUM, DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF DISTRIBUTION INSTALLATIONS” - Model Code of Safe Practice in the Petroleum Industry - Part 2 third edition dated 2005.
  • BP European Logistics - Biofuels Logistics Storage and Handling Guidance, first edition dated April 2008.
  • BP Netherlands - BAT Storage Tank Maintenance Handbook, first edition dated April 2009.
  • BP European Logistics - Pipeline Integrity Management Systems Guidance, first edition dated September 2009.

In 2010 Douglas was instructed by Pinsent Masons LLP, solicitors for West London Pipeline and Storage Limited ("WLPS") and United Kingdom Oil Pipelines Limited ("UKOP") to prepare Oil Terminal Engineering expert witness reports in relation to the proposed reinstatement of their assets and facilities at the Buncefield Terminal in Hemel Hempstead (the "WLPS/UKOP Site"). The WLPS/UKOP Site was severely damaged as a result of the explosion and subsequent fires at the Buncefield Terminal on 11 December 2005.

Since completing these reports (and various associated supplemental ones) the case was settled out of court two days prior to trial in March 2011. During the build-up to trial Douglas attended witness familiarisation courses.

Most recently his work has been subject to confidentiality agreements.


Health and Safety

HAZID, HAZOP & LOPA experience

Safety Review experience

CDM regulation experience

SEVESO 2 experience

Safety Integrity experience

Risk Assessment and Method Statement – permit to work experience


Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management services for Vapour Recovery systems.

Bio remediation of fuel oil and crude sludge.

Wetlands Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management services.

Oily water treatment/separation systems for Shell, BP and Kuwait Petroleum.


Engineering of diesel driven F-35 fuel export pumps for NATO.

Engineering of JP-8 facilities for NATO.

Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management services for new high pressure hydraulic supply and test systems for the RAF.



Oil Terminal Expert – Buncefield Litigation between UKOP/WLPS and Total/HOSL. - Expert Witness Reports

These reports were intended to answer specific questions in relationship to the proposed rebuild of the UKOP/WLPS site, namely:

  • What tankage, equipment and facilities existed prior to the Incident with what operational and functional capacity?
  • Is the proposed reinstatement scheme for which the Claimants have obtained planning permission (as detailed in the design review report prepared by the FEED contractor, CB&I Lummus ("CB&I")) a reasonable replacement for such tankage, equipment and facilities as existed prior to the Incident given:
  • current legal requirements; and/or
  • (insofar as they are not a legal requirement) current standards, guidelines and practice?

If not:

  • what is the reasonable replacement for such tankage, equipment and facilities as existed prior to the Incident given current legal requirements; and
  • what is the reasonable replacement for such tankage, equipment and facilities as existed prior to the Incident given current standards, guidelines and practice (insofar as they differ from the current legal requirements)?

Whether there is any element of betterment in the proposed reinstatement scheme and, if so, whether such betterment is:

  • pursuant to a legal requirement; and/or
  • required by current standards, guidelines and practice; or
  • not required either by law or to comply with current standards, guidelines and practice.

What was the remaining expected useful lifetime of undamaged tankage, equipment and facilities which existed prior to the Incident?

What is the expected useful lifetime of the replacement tankage, equipment and facilities?

BP Netherlands BV, Amsterdam Terminal as Project Engineering Authority.

Reporting to the Senior Project Manager and European Logistics Engineering Authority the Project included:

  • construction of four new barge offloading jetties and one sea going jetty;
  • refurbishment of circa 300km3 of white oil storage tanks;
  • new bio-ethanol storage and blending facilities; and
  • construction of new vapour recovery systems for treating hydrocarbon vapours.

BP Oil International as ATAS Refinery/Terminal Conversion Project Engineering Manager.

Reporting to the European Logistics Engineering Authority the project included:

  • Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Surveys;
  • ACM Removal/Clean-up;
  • National Grid Electrical Hook-up;
  • Natural Gas Supply to New Package Boilers;
  • Refinery Decommissioning and Demolition/Dismantling;
  • Pipeline Integrity Works;
  • Fire Protection Upgrades;
  • Tank Overhaul and Refurbishment (Black/White and Crude Oil Conversion);
  • Pipeline conversion (Black Oil/Crude Oil to White Oil service);
  • Terminal Import Capacity Improvements;
  • Product Blending System;
  • Rail Loading;
  • Selective Additive Injection Systems; and
  • Upgrading Terminal Automation and Security Systems.

The Engineering and Procurement aspects of the Project were managed by Foster Wheeler Bimas (Istanbul) under my control.


PROJECTS HISTORY - Previous Employment

1988 – 2005 - Trident Engineering Consultants

Major projects are shown on the following list.

Aberdeen Harbour Board/BP Oil Exploration Joint Venture Project Manager.

Construction of two new double walled 5,000 tonne storage tanks, pipeline receipt, fiscal metering, new pump units, underground pipeline distribution system to ship’s bunker points. Storage tanks complete with automatic gauging, electro-pneumatic actuated tank side valves.

BP Oil UK Limited            Project Manager

Inverness Terminal

Project Management, leading construction of new marine jetty facility and terminal development to include bottom loading gantries and vapour recovery system

Air France                    Project Manager                    

Charles de Gaulle         Project management, leading new vehicle service building for   aircraft fuel dispensers and associated dispenser testing facilities.

Avin Oil                        Project Manager

Motor Oils Hellas         leading Front End Engineering Design Study for increasing terminal thoughput to road vehicles.

Kuwait Petroleum           Project Manager

Rohm & Haas              Project Management and Hazard Team Member.

Introduction of Butyl Acrylate Ship Receipt Bulk Storage (3000m³) and Vehicle Loading Facilities.

Shell UK Limited              Project Engineer

Various sites             Project Engineer on Installation of new Vapour Collection and Recovery System.

BP Oil UK Ltd                 Lead Consultant

Various Sites            Installation of Cool Sorption Vapour Recovery Units and associated collection system.

Shell UK Limited              Project Engineer

Various Sites            Decommissioning of Callidus Vapour Recovery unit and Reinstallation at Cardiff Terminal including associated vapour collection and motor spirit recirculation system.

Inverness Harbour Trust / Halcrow Crouch – New Oil Jetty

Consultant and Hazid team member

Design Review of Halcrow Crouch Design Basis Memorandum on behalf of BP Oil UK Ltd in association with Esso Petroleum Ltd & Oil Pipeline Agency.

Kuwait Petroleum (GB) Ltd - Ross Chemical & Storage Co

Project Manager

Construction of three new vertical storage tanks and associated demolition, piling, civil, mechanical & electrical and environmental improvement work.

Shell UK Stanlow Terminal 1995 Expansion Project

Project Manager

 Installation of new BP and 3rd Party fuel additive injection facilities

BP Tanzania Ltd - Moshi - Depot  Redevelopment

Project Manager

Installation of new fuel distribution depot (Storage capacity - 2500m³)

BP Tanzania Ltd - Dar es Salaam - Rail Loading Gantries

Project Manager

                                    Installation of new rail loading gantries

Kuwait Petroleum (GB) Ltd - Ross Chemical & Storage Co

Project Engineer

Installation of new top and bottom vehicle loading facilities. New product pumping system, upgrade fire fighting facilities, terminal automation

BP Oil UK Ltd - Kingsbury Terminal - Joint Venture Development

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Upgrade top and bottom vehicle loading facilities, increasing product pumping capacities, new volume shuttle additive injection

Provisional Airport Authority (Hong Kong) -    Replacement Airport at Chek Lap Kok

Senior Mechanical Engineer

For Airport Aviation fuel system

BP, Esso, Caltex - Tanzania - Replacement Jetty Pipelines - Dar es Salaam

Design Engineer

Feasibility study and detailed design of 5 Oil and Gas pipelines 2.1 km.

Shell U.K. Ltd - Plymouth Terminal Development

Project Manager

For the detailed design engineering, procurement, contracts and commissioning for the redevelopment of a road tanker loading facility to provide five new bottom loading gantries, terminal automation, enhanced security, office refurbishment.

Elf Oil UK Ltd - Confidential Pipeline Study

Project Engineer

Design study to increase product throughput in a road loading terminal fed via railcar and 2 independent multi-product pipeline systems.

BP Oil Europe - Confidential Feasibility Study

Project Manager

For the Feasibility Study to encompass the redevelopment of a large distribution site.  The study included automation, vapour recovery and effluent treatment.

Shell U.K. Ltd - Bottom Loading Gantry Skid

Project Engineer

Involved with modifying the Shell Standard Bottom Loading Gantry to facilitate the installation of a multi-user additive injection system.

BP/Elf - Confidential Pipeline Study

Project Engineer

Design study to re-route existing pipelines to provide dual pipeline receipt and co-mingled storage facilities.

BP Oil Europe - Bottom Loading Gantry Standard

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Developing the BP Bottom Loading Gantry for implementation throughout Europe as a standard.

Esso/Shell - Pipeline Re-Routing Project Feasibility Study

Project Engineer

Re-route multi-product pipeline and re-site receipt station(approx1 km).

BP/Shell - Aviation Pipeline Project Feasibility Study

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Airport supply pipeline.

BP Oil Europe - Pointlaw Terminal Redevelopment

Senior Mechanical Engineer

In charge of mechanical design and procurement of new vertical and horizontal storage tanks, ship bunkering facility and bottom loading gantries.

Oil Pipeline Agency - Refinery/Government         Pipeline Tie-in Project Feasibility Study

Senior Mechanical Engineer

10km pipeline from refinery to tie into Government pipeline.

BP Oil UK GRANGEMOUTH Terminal Redevelopment

Senior Mechanical Engineer

In charge of mechanical design and procurement of eight new bottom loading gantries and meter proving return system.

1986 – 1988                 Consarc Engineering Ltd, Glasgow, Mechanical Engineer

Pressure vessel, structural and heat transfer design, development of new products, introducing Computer Aided Design packages for heat transfer and vacuum pumping.


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