Industrial Megaprojects: A Resource

Sept. 1, 2011
Ed Merrow, the founder and president of Independent Project Analysis Inc. is intensely curious about the complex needs and behaviors associated with large-scale industrial plant construction projects. His expertise in megaprojects is built on decades of research on the unique challenges of these complex investments, particularly in the areas of oil and gas developments, petroleum refineries (grassroots and modernizations), chemical complexes, LNG and minerals development.

IPA’s Megaprojects Database contains over 300 projects representing an average cost of $2.6 billion in 2010 terms, with an average authorization year of 2004. Approximately 100 different owner companies are represented, and nearly 70 percent of the projects are joint ventures. Projects were executed in locations around the world: North America, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, West Africa, South America, and Australia.

Merrow teaches courses through the IPA institute and has written a book based on his research. He says large industrial projects “fail much too often for comfort. Large cost overruns, major delays, poor operability, and far too many safety incidents characterize well over half of the industrial projects of $1 billion or more around the world.” In the book, he explores the reasons behind the failures and concludes that the damage is largely self-inflicted. That, he contends, “is profoundly good news because what we do, we can fix!”

The failure to align the stakeholders effectively early on and develop the basic technical data package sufficiently leads to major disappointment, he says. The standard project development process—Front-End Loading—must be augmented with an effective asset shaping process to yield successful results, he adds.  His book, helps companies, business professionals, project leaders and staff take control of their projects early on. In a release, it is described as “loaded with data to help you convince others and with lots of examples (masked to protect the guilty) to make the subject come alive.”

“Industrial Megaprojects” is available online at

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