Kuwait Petroleum International Aviation sues construction firm over allegedly breaching subcontract on pipework

An aviation fuel company has launched a legal battle for compensation of more than £1m against construction company Jewson in a row over fuel pipelines.

Kuwait Petroleum International Aviation (KPIAC), which supplies kerosene and aircraft refuelling services in the UK, accuses Jewson of backing a company which supplied defective pipes for an upgrading scheme.

KPIAC was asked by the Defence Secretary to carry out design, construction and commissioning works on construction and upgrading of the government pipeline and storage system for tankage pipework at Redcliffe Bay near Bristol in 2002, called Project Domino.

KPIAC used Trident Engineering Consultants to act for it, who in turn accepted a tender for pipework and steelwork from specialist contractor O’Neill and Dixon.

O’Neill and Dixon then used Ashworth Frazer, another pipework and steelwork supplier, to provide seamless pipework as required by the contract.

But in breach of the subcontract and negligently, Ashworth Frazer failed to supply pipes which were of satisfactory quality or fit for their purpose, and supplied pipes with surface breaking defects, and with wall thicknesses which did not comply with the required production tolerances, and then failed to warn KPIAC when the pipes appeared defective, according to a High Court writ.

O’Neill and Dixon went into liquidation in January 2006 but assigned its rights in the subcontract to KPIAC. Trident Engineering Consultants also assigned its rights to KPIAC, who is now suing Jewson and Ovalbrick, formerly Saint-Gobain Pipe Systems plc trading as Ashworth Frazer, for damages.

In a statement Jewson confirmed that "a claim has been issued against it by Kuwait Petroleum International Aviation Company (UK) Limited in relation to the supply of pipework in 2002. Jewson are vigorously defending the claim, which was issued some six years after the date of the alleged events, and deny all and any liability."