ROCK N Road Bitumen has spent more than $1 million on upgrading its
safety management system following the death of an employee.
On November 15, 2010, traffic controller John Halligan died after being struck by a spreader truck at a resurfacing roadworks site at Glenden.
The company pleaded guilty yesterday, in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court, to failing to discharge workplace health and safety obligations and was fined $40,000 and ordered to pay $7878.40 in costs. No conviction was recorded.
This is the second workplace death that has put the Mackay-owned company in front of the court.
In May 2008 mother of three Rondell Purcell was doing maintenance on a 16-tonne multi-tyred roller when she was struck by a truck and killed at a roadworks site on Sarina-Homebush Rd.
Rock N Road Bitumen was fined $80,000, and the company told the Daily Mercury it had spent a "hell of a lot of money" on safety improvements. The court heard yesterday the company was sentenced over Mr Halligan's death on the basis they didn't comply with their own procedures. Prosecutor Valentina McKenzie, acting on behalf of the division of Workplace Health and Safety, said there was no communication between the truck drivers and traffic controllers about where the traffic controllers would be and there was no designated area for the traffic controllers working that day.
Defence solicitor Sam Betzien said Rock N Road Bitumen "recognised it had fallen short of the standard" imposed by the Health and Safety Act. She said it was not a case where there were no procedures in place.
Magistrate Damien Dwyer said "procedures were in place, but weren't enforced during the day".
"If they had ensured the safety procedures were in place... this tragedy wouldn't have occurred."
Rock N Road Bitumen has 60 days to pay the fine.
May 15, 2013
ROCK N Road Bitumen has spent more than $1 million on upgrading its
safety management system following the death of an employee.
May 14, 2013
The waiting game for proposed pipeline projects such as Keystone XL or the Trans Mountain expansion, along with a new focus on rail transport, has resulted in growth of an industry segment many consider a sideline: Storage.
“As the industry continues to grow, and as the industry continues to look for different ways of accessing markets, whether it’s by pipeline or by rail, all of that growth requires additional storage – particularly when the pipelines start to become full,” said David Smith, chief executive of Keyera Corp., a midstream company that focuses on natural gas processing and natural gas liquids, but also has a significant storage business.
“When the pipelines start to become a constraint, then you can see you just can’t put more product down the pipeline. You need to be able to stage it through storage.”
Whether they use above-ground steel cylinders, or underground hallows that formerly contained salt but can now hold tens of thousands of barrels, there have always been companies that choose to keep oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids in storage while they wait for a better price or a different market.
However, some companies say demand for such storage is increasing due to the additional layers of logistics that now accompany shipping oil out of Western Canada.
The nearly 2 million barrels of bitumen a day produced by the oil sands industry is expected to increase to 3.8 million barrels a day by 2022, according to Alberta’s energy industry regulator.
At the same time that production is ramping up, shipping out of Edmonton or Hardisty, Alta. – two key takeoff points for Western Canadian oil – is not as easy as it used to be. Space on pipelines is more difficult to find and many companies are increasingly looking to rail transportation for at least a segment of their production. The industry is anxiously awaiting decisions on a number of proposed, but not approved, pipelines they hope will alleviate constraints on getting oil out of landlocked Alberta.
Reynold Tetzlaff, a Calgary partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the east-central Alberta town of Hardisty – a jumping off point for shipments of crude south to United States markets – “is becoming a bit of a hub for tanks.”
For instance, Gibson Energy Inc., a large midstream company, has announced 1.7 million barrels of new storage tank capacity in the past seven months. Gibson operations vice-president Rick Wise said the main reason storage and tanking demand is going up is due to increasing oil production, and “the only thing new is the pipeline capacity isn’t enough to take away all the barrels that want to leave Western Canada to markets.”
Wise said companies are asking for more storage capacity because they believe new pipelines will be built, and they will eventually have the ability to ship even more. “There’s probably a pent-up demand for storage, for tankage, but as soon as pipelines are announced – whether it’s Gateway or Keystone XL – the demand for tanks is going to really increase.”
Keyera’s Smith says oil sands production growth is also fuelling a demand for storage space for condensate – an agent used to dilute highly viscous bitumen so it can be transported. Condensate has to be imported to Alberta, and oil companies want to ensure it’s on hand when they need it.
Smith said companies such as his are using rail to bring condensate north, and others are moving crude oil or diluted bitumen south. More storage is needed to facilitate the loading and the offloading of all these products.
`“The more you’re trying to put those products onto rail cars, the more storage you need in order to be able to operate those facilities efficiently. They’re not as steady a state as a pipeline is,” Smith said.
May 10, 2013
THE intention of the council to lay the old railway path with asphalt/bitumen surely runs counter to its own stated objective in its
corporate plan 2010-2014 to protect and enhance the Vale’s natural and
And to adhere to principles of sustainability and sustainable development – specifically to conserve, restore and enhance the Vale’s built and natural environment, keeping it safe, diverse and pleasant.
To turn a railway walk into an asphalt/bitumen space will run the risk of: lInviting and attracting motorised users thereby potentially causing (excessive) noise pollution, safety risks for pedestrians and non-motorised users, waste pollution through significant greater use, and disrupt the natural wildlife embedded in the flora;
lIncreasing issues of water run-off as asphalt/bitumen will not absorb water; lInvolving the council in great maintenance costs in the mid and longer term as the asphalt/bitumen breaks up and needs replacing.
Phillippa John-Cooke and Granville John Westbourne Road Penarth
May 9, 2013
MT Larcom residents have been warned to be wary if approached by
traders offering bitumen laying or other home maintenance services.
The Office of Fair Trading is investigating a number of reports of a group of itinerant traders offering bitumen laying services in the area.
Typically these operators do a substandard job which then has be fixed by a qualified trader, costing twice as much.
Residents are urged to be wary if approached by traders offering bitumen laying or other home maintenance in return for upfront cash payment. Fair Trading said bitumen bandits usually claimed they were working on construction sites in the area and offered to do the job for a low price with leftover material.
It is illegal for door-to-door traders to take any upfront payments or deposits for services valued at more than $100. Consumers must also be given a 10 business day cooling-off period and be provided with documentation to enable them to cancel the contract at any stage during this period.
Residents should also be wary of traders with no business address or those that can only cite a post office box, suite number, email address or mobile phone as their contact details.
Anyone with concerns about traders who have approached them door-to-door should take notes about the trader and the registration number of their vehicle, and contact the Office of Fair Trading via www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 74 68.
May 7, 2013
In response to many queries on road resealing and construction, the
Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) is now pleased to advise that resealing is
finally underway in Suva, and will begin to be done in full swing
throughout the country from now onwards on many existing sealed roads.
As it is a relatively new exercise on Fiji roads, the FRA feels that our users should be informed of the process and what to look out for in terms of driving safely over the new seal.
This is done to waterproof the existing sealed roads by adding another layer of bitumen and stone. Reducing the amount of water that gets into a road extends the life of the road for between 5-12 years depending on the traffic volumes and type of reseal applied.
Many of these roads will have some repair works done on the worst sections prior to resealing and the finished reseal is likely to be rougher than a brand new road but will last a lot longer than if no work is done at all.
The Authority says that the sealing of your streets is like painting your house thus protecting and extending the life of the road, while making it safe to use.
FRA is addressing the large backlog of resealing that is required on Fiji’s sealed roads and has an ambitious target of delivering over 100km of resealing each year. This means that over the next few months travelers will frequently come upon worksites with a lot of activity.
Chief of FRA, Neil Cook has asked the travelling public to take care when driving through a reseal site as loose sealing chip will be present for a few days after it has been applied which can be slippery when driving too fast, and can cause broken windscreens when vehicles don’t abide by the speed restrictions that the contractors put in place during the reseal operation.
He has expressed his concern that all drivers need to abide by the instructions given at the worksites, as driving through bitumen spray or driving on uncovered bitumen can cause irreparable damage to vehicles. Road marking will also not be present for a few days after resealing so drivers should take care especially when driving at night.
The Fiji Roads Authority appreciates the co-operation of the public in building better Fiji roads.
Source -The Jet Newspaper
April 30, 2013
"Imports will always be more expensive," says Raubex's chief executive Rudolf Fourie. "But insufficient bitumen production at local refineries has made it a permanent reality. The withdrawal of import duty is a result of a year and a half of negotiations," he added.
Raubex bought Tosas, a modifier and distributor of bitumen, from Sasol Oil for R120m. The sale is packaged with a valuable supply agreement with Sasol Oil.
"Sasol will supply us with unprocessed bitumen for five years, meeting about 50% of the company's needs," says Fourie. "The rest will be sourced from other refineries," he says.
Companies generally use different grades of bitumen. Half comes directly from refineries, while the rest needs to be processed with specialised equipment to make it more elastic and durable.
Tricky, sticky material
But bitumen is tricky. It has to be stored in custom temperature-controlled facilities. When local bitumen supply was sufficient, there was no need for storage facilities. But without them, the industry has only been able to import small quantities, at a higher price.
In the 2012 financial year, bitumen supply constraints cost Raubex R100m. More recently, it has been able to dramatically reduce costs by investing R21m in storage facilities. This has enhanced its storage capacity from 500t in 2011 to 4,500t. The purchase of Tosas pushes this to 6,000t, which gives it the ability to order and offload a full shipment.
Basil Read will import a R20m bitumen reactor from New Zealand, which can produce up to five grades of bitumen, says chief executive Marius Heyns. It will be built in the Western Cape and will be operational by July. Unprocessed bitumen will be supplied by a Cape refinery.
Heyns says bitumen supply problems contributed to Basil Read's R171m loss in the year to December.
In addition to buying the reactor, it has developed a better reporting system. "Previously, by the time information was relayed, it was too late for the company to act," Heyns says.
Both firms intend supplying processed bitumen to the local construction market.
Local bitumen supply has been erratic for a number of years. Refineries which produce it are required to give priority to stocking "strategic minerals" like diesel and petrol. Bitumen does not fall into that category - and is more expensive to produce. A series of maintenance-related shutdowns at refineries has aggravated the problem.
Source: Financial Mail via I-Net Bridge - Bizcommunity
April 29, 2013
A £4million countywide road maintenance programme has got underway in West Sussex.
Surface dressing involves spraying a coating of bitumen on to the road, followed by one or more layers of hard stone chippings.
More than 150 roads throughout the county are scheduled to be resurfaced in this way over the next three months.West Sussex County Council’s head of highways and transport, Geoff Lowry, said: “Surface dressing is carried out every year.
“It is done to seal the road and cover over repairs carried out following winter weather damage.
“It helps protects against future weather damage too and is a very cost effective way of protecting and prolonging the life of our roads.”
Surface dressing is quick, easy, and traffic can be allowed to run on the new surface almost immediately – avoiding lengthy closures and disruption.Sealing the road in this way prevents water getting into the foundations and weakening the road, which can lead to potholes developing.
Other benefits include an increase in skid resistance which helps improve road safety.
Soon after a surface dressing is applied, the road is swept to remove loose chippings.
Where possible the County Council will give advance notice of the roadworks to residents to make sure their vehicles are not left on roads that are about to be treated.
Signs will also be put up advising drivers to drive slowly on recently treated roads.
Geoff added: “We want to remind motorists they need to observe the signs and drive slowly over a road that has been treated with surface dressing.
“This is because of the loose chippings which can flick up and damage other vehicles on the road.
“The surface dressing programme is essential and we ask motorists to be patient while this work is going on.”
Source - Country Times
April 26, 2013
Yet bitumen has been found to be cheaper and quicker to work with. This is even if concrete roads last longer.
The South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral’s) multibillion-rand road-upgrade and road-building plans were hindered last year because of shortages of bitumen, which stemmed from unplanned shutdowns at refineries.
Bitumen is a sticky, black and viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It is made from the distillation of crude oil. It has been used for years in SA to cover roads and fill potholes.
The shortages meant South Africa had to import bitumen from Singapore and Malaysia at a premium of about 20%. But road building firms such as Raubex and Basil Read have secured supply for this year in order to avoid losses from delayed projects.
Over the past few years, more and more companies have focused on building bitumen concentrated roads and not concrete ones. Some of South Africa’s highways have been made from concrete, but concrete’s relatively poor handling of rain, and related car accidents, has added to the popularity of bitumen.
Last year, road upgrade projects were affected in the Eastern Cape and Cape Town, which included the MyCiTi Integrated Rapid Transit feeder bus-stop contracts. Cape Town imported 4,500 tons of bitumen from Malaysia in May last year, says Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and storm water.
Listed construction company Basil Read fell behind schedule with its contract for the N12 highway-Tom Jones Road project in Gauteng. As part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, Basil Read is upgrading the Tom Jones and Rietfontein interchanges on the N12 in the East Rand. But a lack of bitumen slowed the project and cost Basil Read millions of rand.
Road builders have found methods to keep their bitumen work going. Basil Read is establishing a plant in the Western Cape to maintain specific grade bitumen. Bitumen will be supplied from a Western Cape refinery being built with the help of a New Zealand company.
Basil Read’s MD, Dave Bennett, is confident that bitumen supply countrywide will remain under control this year."We have our plant to support us, but even without it, the oil refineries are back on track.
"We are getting enough bitumen for this year. The main thing we need though is for there not to be sudden shutdowns. At this stage, we just expect to see maintenance work on the refineries when construction companies close late in 2013 for builders holidays," he says.
He says concrete will not be used instead of bitumen, regardless of any threats to supply.
"Concrete roads can be very good but they are expensive to build. They may last longer but they also do not take to extreme weather like heavy rains like bitumen roads do," he says.
The stretch of the N1 highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria was mostly concrete, but a layer of bitumen was added to it recently, because of the number of road accidents in wet weather, he says.
"You’ll find that some of our highways are concrete. They have been built to last. However, we must bear in mind that they have cost a lot to build and the authorities would only spend so much money on main highways in the future. These roads are likely to have bitumen layers because of the experience of accidents on the concrete highway from Johannesburg to Pretoria," Mr Bennett says.
Listed road construction and rehabilitation group Raubex recently bought Tosas, a maker of value-added bituminous products, from Sasol Oil for R120m.The acquisition provides Raubex with bitumen processing and storage facilities in South Africa, and extends its footprint to Botswana and Namibia.
"Following an assessment of the strategic fit of the downstream bitumen business, Sasol Oil decided to dispose of its interest in Tosas," Sasol group said on Monday. Tosas makes modified bitumen, which includes rubber or synthetic latex. It is a durable and more elastic product with greater temperature stability.
Raubex CEO Rudolf Fourie says the acquisition gave the group the ability to work with bitumen in-house and provides 50% of its bitumen needs.
Brian Perrie, MD of the Cement and Concrete Institute, still believes there is a case for concrete roads. He says cement is safer to drive on irrespective of the weather threats. "It reflects light better than bitumen does, making it easier to drive at night. It offers built-in skid resistance and improved traction, for safer driving. It can be grooved for improved run-off, preventing aquaplaning in wet conditions."
It is also quieter than bitumen when cars drive over it, and raw materials, including cement, sand, stone and water are readily available in South Africa. "Concrete roads are viable in South Africa. They are quicker to build and require labour intensive methods which empowers local communities and creates employment. Concrete plants, unlike oil refineries, can operate all year round," Mr Perrie says.
Pieter Fourie, CEO of cement firm Sephaku, says he believes concrete should be the primary road building material in SA because bitumen requires too much maintenance.
Source - BDLive
April 25, 2013
Patna: A CBI court on Wednesday awarded five years imprisonment to three persons, including two engineers of Road Construction Department, in a Bitumen scam case in Bihar.
CBI judge Bashist Narayan Singh sentenced two engineers of Road Construction Department posted at Motihari and a contractor to five years imprisonment for siphoning off Rs 70 lakh in the name of purchasing bitumen during 1994-95.
They were also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 each.
Bitumen worth Rs 70 lakh was shown on paper being transported to Motihari from Haldia in West Bengal, but it never reached the said destination, according to the prosecution.
At the direction of Patna High Court, CBI took up the investigation of Bitumen scam cases in 1997. It is probing 18 cases of the Bitumen scam.