Guiding chemicals & petrochemicals companies through shaping, planning, and executing capital projects effectively.


With a long-standing role in driving capital project execution and organizational effectiveness through analytical research, IPA is recognized as a trusted advisor to companies in the commodity chemicals and specialty chemicals industries worldwide.


What We Do

Capital effectiveness is essential for survival within the chemicals sector, which is marked by narrow profit margins, intense competition, and unpredictable investment cycles. IPA’s chemicals business area, covering both commodity and specialty chemicals, benchmarks and evaluates the performance of capital projects and project systems. Our work provides valuable insight into how well an individual project is poised for success and how well a project system is delivering projects that meet business needs that have predictable yet competitive results.

IPA not only measures performance outcomes, but also diagnoses the root causes to poor or variable outcomes. This information is then used to make timely adjustments to individual project and investment decisions and drive improvements to project work processes, governance structures, and project organizations. Over time, IPA’s work closes the loop on continuous improvement by measuring the effect the changes have had on project outcomes.

The sectors supports industry clients at three levels:

Individual Project Level
Benchmarking gives clients an objective and quantitative assessment of a project’s cost and schedule competitiveness against like projects, and provides a measure of project development readiness.

Project System Level
The performance of a client’s project system can be evaluated to identify weak and undefined functions and work processes. Evaluations also result in recommendations to improve capital project system effectiveness.

Industry Level
The sector draws from issues raised by individual clients and leads multi-client research studies to address industry-wide concerns. Downstream industry benchmarking conferences and cost engineering forums allow participating companies to share Best Practices for delivering more cost-effective capital projects.

Our Approach

The types of projects benchmarked by IPA include multibillion dollar grassroots, integrated manufacturing facilities, new technology roll-outs, incremental expansions, and small plant revamps.

IPA is data driven - With information from more than 4,000 chemical projects, the Chemicals database is used to develop and keep current proprietary models and tools to benchmark chemical projects and project systems as well as project organizations.

Maintaining a capable project organization is very challenging in the Chemicals sector. Capital investment is cyclically driven with market swings that are unpredictable. Hence, project organizations must be ready to respond when the businesses are ready to invest, but be able to scale-back to reduce fixed costs during down-cycles. IPA can assess the strength of a project organization by reviewing its structure, function, types of competencies, and level of resources.


Project Regional Risk Analysis & Country Profile
IPA's Project Regional Risk Analysis and Country Profile reduces the burdens project organizations and businesses face in executing a capital project in a new and/or unfamiliar region or country. Organizations must assess local content risks and their impact on project performance to select the best opportunity for business needs. Business executives are expected to ensure their project teams are sufficiently experienced and have access to meaningful information on regional labor performance, logistical challenges, and the political environment. However, owner companies lack detailed and unbiased data to assess these types of specific regional project risks.

Capital Project Evaluation

Owner companies have turned to IPA to benchmark and evaluate the performance of individual capital projects and project systems for nearly 30 years. The Chemicals industry sector maintains and continually adds to a proprietary database containing input from more than 4,000 chemical projects.

Using industry-recognized statistical models and assessment tools, experienced IPA analysts are able to provide a variety of capital project evaluation services for its clients.

  • Benchmark and evaluate individual projects
  • Assess individual project cost and schedule risk
  • Determine a project’s cost and schedule competitiveness and predictability throughout its development
  • Pinpoint capital project system work process weaknesses
  • Identify drivers to improve project cost effectiveness
  • Conduct both qualitative and quantitative analyses measuring capital project system effectiveness, using IPA’s proprietary suite of Project Evaluation System (PES®) tools

Team Effectiveness
IPA offers organization and project team assessment services to determine owner and project team function competencies and assess team integration, including the use of contract services.



Commodities and specialty chemicals companies benefit from industry-driven research into the latest practices believed to reduce capital project costs and into deploying new commercial operation technologies. IPA’s extensive global Chemical Project database—more than 4,000 industry capital projects and growing—allows researchers to analyze project performance from several directions and produce quantitative research findings that companies can leverage so they can use capital more effectively and deliver better capital project outcomes.

See the full list of available studies for the Chemicals Industry



Project Assessment Software
With the FEL Toolbox software application, a company can accurately measure the quality of Front-End Loading (FEL), or project definition, for a particular project (less than US $20 million), based on IPA data. Additionally, project teams can use the application to benchmark their project’s FEL compared to other projects executed by their company as well as similar projects in the industry.

Training & Education
The IPA Institute, IPA’s education division, offers a suite of courses centered on various capital project development Best Practices derived from IPA research. The following are public courses frequently attended by project professionals in the Chemicals industry:


Industry Conferences & Committees

Several owner clients participate in industry groups sponsored and coordinated through IPA. These groups gather annually to share knowledge and Best Practices for improving capital project effectiveness:



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Key Contact

IPA-Natalia-Zwart-Chemicals-Life-Sciences-Nutrition-300pxNatalia Zwart
Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences & Nutrition


Natalia joined IPA in 2001, and currently serves as Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences, and Nutrition. Natalia develops business plans and oversees IPA’s relationships with client companies in these industries.



Jordan Sealock
Manager, Chemicals, Life Sciences & Nutrition


As Manager of the Chemicals, Life Sciences, and Nutrition Business Area, Jordan Sealock is responsible for developing business plans, growing and maintaining client relationships, and advancing research in the area. Previously at IPA, Jordan was the Deputy Director of Research and a Senior Project Analyst and Client Coordinator to various global clients.











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