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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Senior Engineer
Mechanical, Rotating

Education & Qualifications

B.S. Mechanical Engineering,
University of Houston 1992
magna cum laude

Vibration Analysis – ISO Level 1

Held API Certifications
API-510 Pressure Valves
API-570 Piping Inspections
API-653 A/G Storage Tanks

Areas Of Expertise

Rotating Equipment
Maintenance & Turnaround
Root Cause Analysis


Charlie Smith is a mechanical engineer with 45+ years of maintenance and engineering experience in petrochemical facilities. Throughout his career in industry, Charlie directed multiple plant turnarounds on some of the world’s largest chemical facilities. He implemented new patented technology to increase production capabilities and routinely performed root-cause analyses and diagnostics testing on plant-wide rotating equipment to enhance operating performance. Further, he executed industry-standard riskbased inspection programs on chemical facility subsystems to optimize asset utilization and efficiently coordinate schedule maintenance efforts.

At OCI, Charlie brings his decades of experience to assist clients in determining root-cause failures, and he consults with on-site engineers to ensure proper equipment repair techniques are implemented.

Selected Assignments

Description Value
Steam Cracker, SE Texas $2B
Debottlenecking Project $100M
Quench Tower, Pressure Vessels, Piping 2006 $24M
Compressors & Turbines 2007 $8M
Condensing Steam Turbine 2012 $7.5M
Butanediol Complex, Malaysia $500M
Butanediol Turnaround, 2004 $9M
Maleic Anhydride Turnaround, 2003 $26M
Petrochemical Facility, Texas Gulf Coast $600M
Debottleneck NPG Expansion 1995 $52M
HDO Cooling Tower Repairs (OSBL) 1999 $5M
60 kTon NPG Overhaul & Catalyst Repair (ISBL) 1999 $7M
60 kTon NPG Pumps & Tanks (OSBL) 2000 $8.5M
NPG Flaker – Installed Patented Process 2000 $11M
Westlake Chemical Plant, SE Louisiana $80M
Crude Transport Facility, TX Gulf Coast $12M



Steam Cracker, SE Texas
Charlie was the rotating equipment specialist on a single-train steam cracker that generated 2 billion pounds per year of ethylene and 2 billion pounds per year of propylene. Charlie provided day-to-day technical support as a subject matter expert to steam cracker maintenance and operations engineers and maintenance technicians. He directed various capital projects for the plant’s heavy-duty rotating equipment, led multiple plant turnarounds, and performed numerous mechanical root-cause failure analyses. Charlie implemented API 581 Risk-Based Inspection Technology procedures to analyze facility subsystems and schedule inspection intervals depending on the equipment’s chemical process environment.

-Facility Maintenance & Capital Projects
The plant’s first turnaround (2006) was a major endeavor that involved replacing the main quench tower’s chemical mixing sections to retrofit from Raschig rings to trays, and inspection/maintenance to pressure vessels and piping. The subsequent turnaround (2007) focused on overhauling all the cracker compressors, two 74k hp steam turbines, and one 10k hp steam turbine. The plant’s next major turnaround (2012) was similar to 2007s and included overhauling all cracker compressors, two 74k hp steam turbines, and one 10k hp steam turbine. Charlie was the mechanical rotating lead on the $100M de-bottlenecking project (2019) and the mechanical lead for the engineering and installation of a new 96 kHp (71.5 MW) $8m condensing steam turbine.

Butanediol Complex, Malaysia
Appointed as the senior maintenance manager, Charlie led the maintenance department on a new butanediol complex (butanediol and maleic anhydride) and was responsible for ensuring compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations and standards. Charlie performed API 581 risk-based inspection programs for the acrylic acid and oxo-alcohol facility systems and coordinated maintenance activities with commissioning teams and plant operations staff.

Charlie routinely provided solutions to maintenance and equipment problems, including pumps, reciprocating compressors, boilers, and extractors/contractors. Charlie supported a major oxo-alcohol plant turnaround on rotating and static equipment and managed the overhaul of acrylic acid plant gas turbines to eliminate performance issues. Charlie also represented the client in discussions with various equipment vendors to resolve warranty and performance challenges.

Petrochemical Facility, Texas Gulf Coast
Charlie was appointed as the process engineer within the oxo alcohol/polyalcohol group of a mega petrochemical facility. Charlie authored various manuals including regulatory compliance, job instructions, and process descriptions. He planned and supervised plant shutdowns and outages with plant and contract personnel. He instituted changes in equipment and manufacturing methods to eliminate endproduct quality issues. Charlie solved production and process issues related to manufacturing, logistics, and maintenance – and equipment issues related to pumps, axial & reciprocating compressors, and boilers. Charlie directed operations and environmental compliance of the boiler and industrial furnace unit (BIF) for RCRA hazardous waste.


U.S. Patent No. 537711, Finishing of Neopentyl Glycol


Louisiana Plastics Plant – Hurricane
A chemical plant in SE Louisiana experienced issues after a hurricane impacted the facility. Charlie was engaged to investigate damages related to the process compressor. Charlie reviewed the repair vendor and repair manufacturer documentation, performed on-site equipment inspections, and wrote multiple technical RFIs. Charlie’s investigation revealed the underlying factors contributing to failures within the plant’s nitrogen systems.

Crude Transport Facility, TX Gulf Coast
A flood event occurred at an onshore terminal facility that transfers crude to oil tankers for downstream distribution. The flood waters damaged vertical storage pumps and other critical transportation equipment. Charlie was engaged to assess the damage sustained to the main transfer pumps. Charlie provided expert consulting services to on-site engineers and staff on the proper repair techniques to change mechanical seals and bearings and how to properly restore pumping equipment.


2021 – Present OCI-USA
Houston, TX
Senior Engineer
2004 – 2020 BASF – Total Limited Partnership
Port Arthur, TX
Rotating Equipment Engineer
2001 – 2004 BASF – Petronas Limited Partnership
Kuantan, Malaysia
Senior Maintenance Manager
1992 – 2001 BASF
Freeport, TX
Maintenance & Operations Engineer
1988 – 1990 Lockheed Martin (NASA)
La Porte, TX
Mechanical Design Engineer
1977 – 1986 Brown & Root
Houston, TX