June 30, 2008

Bitumen Supply & Demand

The Soaring Oil prices although justifies the fluctuation in the pricing of bitumen, there is not an established mechanism to derive the bitumen price till date. The bitumen market is getting mature and liquid. The majority of the exporting nations include Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand in this region has different inputs and the range varies significantly.

Recently the Cartel led by Shell was exposed by the European regulators and the was fined to the tune of price fixing on various petroleum products.

For Bitumen, there are no posted prices except for some compiled prices from some paid subscription services ; marketers rely on a number of pricing formulas that reference various posted crude qualities.

Market pricing is seasonal with higher prices during peak season like summer being the norm due to higher demand for bitumen and other bitumen derived products.

Saudi arabia has almost banned the export of Bitumen 60/70 , which considered as the raw material, obtained from the fractional distillation process, from Saudi Aramco . The penetration grade bitumen 80/100, prepared from the aforesaid raw material by adding additives, is the value added , before being exported. The price sensitive Saudi bitumen industry, an unorganized industry, commands the most market value among the third world countries including India, Pakistan and Bagladesh.

On the Other hand, Iran is trying to sell the bitumen through Iran Mercantile Exchange, as a commodity and the pricing currency is being slowly shifting in favrour of Euro.

Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, although except for Singapore, the rest of the regional economies , being net importer, the pricing is closely followed with each other, and which is not affordable for re-export for the developing nations.

June 25, 2008

Saudi Aramco in Total


The Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and Total today signed the Shareholders Agreement and other core agreements for the establishment of their joint venture, the Jubail Refining and Petrochemical Company. The signing of these agreements in Jiddah by Mr. Abdallah S. Jum‘ah, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, and Mr. Christophe de Margerie, CEO of Total, marks an important step for the planned construction of this 400,000 barrel per day world-class, full-conversion refinery in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

The Jubail refinery project is a brilliant example of a strong strategic partnership with a major oil-producing country. Together, Saudi Aramco and Total will contribute to supply growing demand for transportation fuels and petrochemicals, especially in Asia and the Middle-East, but also in Europe where the demand for diesel and jet fuels continues to grow,” Mr. de Margerie said at the signing ceremony.As a full-conversion refinery, Jubail will maximize the production of diesel and jet fuels. In addition, the project will produce 700,000 tons per year (t/y) of paraxylene, 140,000 t/y of benzene and 200,000 t/y of polymer-grade propylene.

Saudi Aramco and Total have just released invitations-to-bid for the project’s construction, with a view to awarding all packages during the first quarter of 2009. The first orders for long-lead items will be placed in July 2008, and the project will be introduced to the lending community in the second part of 2008, with a targeted financial close in early 2009.

June 24, 2008

Tax Structure for import of Bitumen


The hike in oil prices, indirectly brings in revenue to various government entities and below is the table of various slab of tax levied at Tamil Nadu, India.







TAMIL NADU SALES / TAX ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS


Recoverable Tax Irrecoverable Tax Effective Purchase Tax
State/Tax












Sales Tax Surcharge on Sales Tax Addl Tax on GST/Turnover Tax. Purchase Tax Surcharge on Purchase Tax Addi. Tax on Pur. Turnover.
CST # Addl Tax on CST to Unregd. dealers Purchase Tax (Chennai)
Crude Oil









4.00
MS
30.00





4.00 0.00
HSD
25.00





4.00 0.00
SKO Domestic 4.00
3.00 4.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LPG Domestic 4.00





4.00 2.50
FO
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LDO
25.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
LSHS
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
NAPHTHA
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
ATF Domestic 29.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
ATF Int.Airlines 0.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
SKO Non-Domestic 25.00 5.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LPG 8.00
3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
ASPHALT
12.00
3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50












# CST to Unregistered dealers is levied at 10% or regular GST rate whichever is higher. Additional tax on CST sale to unregd. dealers is irrecoverable.

The commodities covered includes

Bitumen, bitumen 80/100, bitumen 60/70, bitumen 40/50, Saudi Bitumen, Singapore Bitumen, Iran Bitumen, Cutback Bitumen, MC30 , MC70, MC250 MC800, RC30, RC70,RC250, RC800, RC3000 Blown Bitumen R90/15, R85/25, R115/15, Bitumen Emulsion, CSS-1, CSS-2 , Asphalt, Oxidiszed bitumen, Bitumen Price, Asian Bitumen, Aramco Bitumen, Shell bitumen, Russia Bitumen Caltex bitumen, Exxon-mobil bitumen, BP bitumen, Korea Bitumen,

Bitumen Drum, Drummed Bitumen, Bitumen Bulk, Bitumen Vessel, , Bitumenexporter, Bitumen Exporter, Bitumen Supplier

Sulphur, Paraffin, Wax , Slack, LDPE, HDPE Granules, Petroleoum, Derivatives, Minerals, Lubrication Oil, Base Oil, Base oil 100 SN, 150SN, 450SN, 500SN, 150BS

June 20, 2008

Iran in Sri Lanka- for Business

Iran's President Ahmadinejad (l) and his Sri Lankan counterpart, Mahinda Rajapaksa
Iran is to modernize Sri Lanka's Sapugaskanda oil refinery in a bid to double the capacity of the island nation's sole refining complex.

Iran would help expand the capacity of the south Asian nation's oil refinery to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the current 50,000 bpd within the next four or five years.

According to an agreement signed between Iran and Sri Lanka during the visit of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran will take 12 percent of the refinery's profit once it has been modernized.

The project, once completed, will reportedly make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in aviation fuel and bitumen (tar).

Tehran and Colombo signed four economic cooperation agreements to improve the south Asian nation's infrastructure Monday.

Iran has promised to provide $1.9 billion in loans and grants to Sri Lanka to help the country expand its only oil refinery, develop Uma Oya hydroelectricity and irrigation project and buy Iranian oil, the Sri Lankan government said.


June 19, 2008

Bitumen Price and Methodology


The Soaring Oil prices although justifies the fluctuation in the pricing of bitumen, there is not an established mechanism to derive the bitumen price till date. The bitumen market is getting mature and liquid. The majority of the exporting nations include Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand in this region has different inputs and the range varies significantly.


Recently the Cartel led by Shell was exposed by the European regulators and the was fined to the tune of price fixing on various petroleum products.

For Bitumen, there are no posted prices except for some compiled prices from some paid subscription services ; marketers rely on a number of pricing formulas that reference various posted crude qualities.
Market pricing is seasonal with higher prices during peak season like summer being the norm due to higher demand for bitumen and other bitumen derived products.

By necessity, bitumen is regularly blended with diluent (typically in the form of C5+or synthetic light crude) in order to facilitate its transportation via pipeline to tankers.

As such, the effective field price for bitumen is also directly impacted by the input cost of the diluent required, the demand and price of which is also seasonal in nature (in winter as colder temperatures necessitate more diluent for transportation).

Consequently, bitumen pricing is notoriously high in summer and during major shutdown by the refineries and not reflective of the annual average realized price or the economics of the business overall.
The strong bitumen demand disturbs the effective field prices during peak season for a variety of reasons. In addition to the usual seasonal issues, increase in bitumen demand and the premium for diluent was significant as a consequence of various events such as production interruptions at a regional refinery.

The absence of a generally recognized approach to the determination of appropriate bitumen pricing, coupled with the pricing seasonality (which has not been sufficiently addressed ) meant that any number of interpretations existed as to how year-end bitumen prices should be determined, for the purpose of filing to the regulatory authorities, as well.

With billions of barrels of potential and billions of dollars of planned capitalinvestment, the bitumen resources are widely understood to be a cornerstone of future energy requirements and are attracting notable attention from overseas jurisdictions as well.

It is in the best interest to all stakeholders (investors, capital markets, regulatory bodies, producers and the public at large) that a year-round bitumen pricing methodology be established that reasonably reflects the general market conditions and is not unduly influenced by seasonal demand, weather-driven or cataclysmic price movements.

In fact, the adoption of the proposed methodology for all crude qualities would have little or no effect on reported proved reserve quantities for all categories, bitumen excepted. For no other reason than bitumen alone is subject to the extreme seasonality in realized prices around calendar.


Some industry watchers propose to determine the constant price for bitumen by using, for the benchmark reference price, the published price for the crude oil after applying historical adjustments (meaning the average of the adjustments for the 12 months preceding the date of the estimate) for transportation and for quality, which create the price differential between crude oil and bitumen.

June 18, 2008

Bitumen Emulsions

Bitumen Emulsions

Bitumen emulsion is a combination of three basic ingredients, Bitumen, water, and small amount of an emulsifying agent. These ingredients are introduced into a process which shears the bitumen into tiny droplets. The emulsifier, which is a surface-active agent, keeps the Bitumen droplets in a stable suspension and controls the breaking time. The final product is a liquid product with a consistency ranging from that of milk to heavy cream and can be used in cold processes for road construction and maintenance.

Advantages of Bitumen emulsions

Bitumen emulsion does not require a petroleum solvent to make it liquid and in most cases Bitumen emulsions can be used without additional heat. Both of these factors contribute to energy savings. Additionally, Bitumen emulsions offer great flexibility in their application since they offer the end-user a great variety of characteristics not found in other paving and maintenance materials. Bitumen emulsions are environmentally friendly. There are little or no hydrocarbon emissions created with their use.

History of Bitumen emulsions

Bitumen emulsions were first prepared in the early part of the 20th century and today they are used all over the world. The use of Bitumen emulsions is growing and 10-20% of all Bitumen is used in the form of Bitumen emulsions.

Classification of Bitumen emulsions

Bitumen emulsions are classified into three categories;

  • Anionic
  • Cationic and
  • Nonionic


The anionic and cationic classes refer to the electrical charges surrounding the Bitumen particles. The absence of the letter "C" denotes anionic emulsions.


Bitumen emulsions are further classified on the basis of how quickly they coalesce; i.e., revert to Bitumen cement.

RS (Rapid Set),

MS (Medium Set), SS (slow set), and

QS (Quick Set)

have been adopted to simplify and standardize this classification.

Additionally, trailing numbers are used to delineate the relative viscosity if the emulsion and the letters "h" and "s" indicate whether a hard or soft base Bitumen is used to make the Bitumen emulsions.

Thus, a CSS-1h is a cationic slow set emulsion with a relatively low Bitumen emulsion viscosity made with a hard base Bitumen.

June 16, 2008

Shell Expands in Asia


Shell Plans for big expansion in Asia.

Mr. van Beurden underlined Shell chemicals companies’ commitment to the region, citing newly-completed and ongoing projects in Singapore and China. He also mentioned plans under consideration for significant new manufacturing investments - including a world-scale styrene monomer/propylene oxide project - to strengthen Shell'€™s regional product and service portfolio to meet customers’ future needs.

By 2010, around 30% of Shell'€™s chemicals manufacturing assets will be located in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and focused primarily on supplying the burgeoning Asia Pacific market.

Shell believes the global petrochemicals industry must face three hard truths, Mr. van Beurden said. These include a likely doubling of energy demand by 2050, while conventional energy resources will become harder and more costly to access. While alternative energy sources will expand, more unconventional oil resources, such as oil shale and sands, will be needed.

€œGiven the growth and dynamism of Asia-Pacific'€™s petrochemicals industry, I expect to see developments in this region that will help transform our business and enable us to respond to the challenges we face. The region’s industry has a deep and growing pool of highly creative, capable and focused talent, and I can tell you that from a Shell perspective we are very excited about the future.
Source - Energy Asia

June 15, 2008

Arabian Crude Reached Chian

The first cargo of Arabian crude arrived at the new Sinopec Qingdao Refinery on May 18.

 
 Saudi Petroleum Ltd., Huangdao Terminal, and Sinopec Qingdao Refining and Chemical Co. Ltd. officials gather at the terminal for a photo to mark the first delivery of Arabian crude for the Qingdao Refinery.
  
 
 Mohammed S. Al-Madi shakes hands with Liu Guangwei, supervisor of the terminal where the first Saudi crude arrived for the Qingdao Refinery.
The 2-million-barrel cargo of Arabian Medium and Arabian Heavy crude was carried by the tanker Xin An Yang from Ras Tanura.

A team from Saudi Petroleum Ltd. (SPL)-Beijing, led by regional vice president and chief representative Mohammed S. Al-Madi, was on hand to establish a closer relationship with Qingdao refinery and celebrate the first delivery of Arabian crude oil in Huangdao terminal.

The SPL team met with refinery officials, led by Li Zhenmin, vice president of Sinopec Qingdao Refining and Chemical Co. Ltd. Li welcomed the team and then explained the construction, refining configuration and capacity of the new grass-roots refinery.

Al-Madi reiterated Saudi Aramco’s commitment to the Chinese market and said he hoped the visit would strengthen the relationship between Saudi Aramco and Sinopec.

After the meeting, the SPL team toured plant facilities. Qingdao Refinery has 16 key refining units, including a 200,000-barrel-per-day crude distillation unit, a 22,000-bpd continuous reformer, a 133,000-bpd hydrocracker, an 83,000-bpd hydrorefining unit for kerosene and gas-oil, a 100,000-bpd residual oil hydrotreater and 220,000-metric-ton-per-year sulfur recovery unit. The refinery, with total investment of $1.79 billion, will begin commercial operations in June after two months of test runs.

The refinery is designed to process 50 percent Arabian Light and 50 percent Arabian Heavy crude. It is capable of producing Euro-III-equivalent oil products and will mainly serve the North China market. 

June 12, 2008

Bitumen or Concrete.. Closing the Gap


The steady price uptrend in global petroleum and petroleum products has put immense pressure on the road building sector, with the price differential between concrete and bitumen roads narrowing from 60% to 20% now.

Bitumen prices, entirely determined by the oil companies, have gone up by 20% per tonne over the last one-year. Bitumen, a byproduct of petroleum, accounts for 15-20% of the cost of a highway project.

According to Samiran Sen, vice-president of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), the cost for a two-lane bitumen road is more than Rs 5 crore per kilometre. "The impact of today's price hike on bitumen prices would be around 2-3%. But the cascading effect is larger," he said.

Typically the investment of a two-lane, 10 metre wide road with --- sub-base, sub-grade, water bound macadam (WBM), bitumen macadam (BM), premixed carpet and seal coating ---- ranges from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7 crore per km, depending on the terrain character.

"Even a few years before the cost of building a concrete road was almost 60% higher than that of a bitumen road. States preferred building bitumen road even if the life span of a concrete road is much higher," he said.

According to him, a concrete road now 20-25% more expensive than a bitumen road.

Kshiti Goswami, West Bengal's PWD minister said, it is becoming difficult for the states to construct bitumen road. It seems that we would have to shift towards constructing concrete roads even when the price of cement is also appreciating."

Present at a press conference to announce the 69th Indian Roads Congress, a think-tank organisation under ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in Kolkata, he said the cost bitumen has increased by almost Rs 3,000 per tonne recently.

PK Deb, vice-president of the IRC, said that, with the increase in input costs, governments are being forced to look for alternative measures to fund the roads projects.

According to S.K. Hamirwasia, vice-president (infrastructure) of Subhash Projects & Marketing Ltd, the cost of projects will increase by 1% taking into account only the petrol & diesel price hike.


Source -Financial Express

June 11, 2008

Shipping cost


Per day rate for a supertanker was less than USD 30,000 on April 24,2008 costs around USD 119.500 toady. Soaring Bukner fuel prices, short of vessels and other geo-political tensions adds to woe.

We are looking for a chartered bitumen tanker and are unable to find one to ship our cargo on the last month quoted rates. However, we are still delivering , at any cost to the customers.

June 9, 2008

Saudi Aramco has increased the price for June Shipment

The recent hike in crude oil prices has an impact on all petroleum derivatives as well. The World's largest refiner and crude supplier has raised the prices for the June shipment according to Bloomberg.

Saudi Aramco has raised prices of cargoes loading in June to a record price, . Propane has been raised 6% from last month to to $895 a metric ton, while Butane has risen 7% to $920 a ton. The price increases come after crude oil costs rose to record highs last month.

Following the above, the cost of bitumen, may subject to rise.

Source - ameinfo.com

June 8, 2008

DIBETE-MAHALAPYE ROAD, Botswana

Ministry of Works and Transport update on the Dibete-Mahalapye road.

The contract was awarded to Arab Contractors Botswana (Pty) Ltd (Foreign owned) for a sum of P170, 916,678.99 in April 12, 2005 and the Contract duration is 24 months with a completion date of 11 May 2007. Eighteen (18) calendar months (or 75% of the Contract period) have elapsed since the beginning of the project. The overall physical progress to date is 61% against the planned progress of 63%. This represents an overall status of 1.5 weeks behind schedule. The status is based on the revised program of works after the Contractor was granted 2 weeks extension of time due to abnormal rainfall.

The reasons for this delay are:
� Delayed mobilization
� Excessive rainfall from November 2005 to 31 March 2006.
� Delayed commencement of base layer works due to late arrival of jaw crusher.
� Suspension of stabilized Sub-base layer works due to over size material.
� Grading problem encountered with crushed stone base.

EOT (extension of time) to the contract without additional costs and/ or extension of time plus additional costs to be addressed by the specific provisions in the Contract Conditions for such delays. To catch uo with the schedule, the Contractor is working on two fronts and he is planning to bring in more resources.

June 7, 2008

Bitumen Testing- Australian Standard

Australia uses the viscosity of the bitumen to define the grades of bitumen. This is in total contrast with the simple and internationally followed standard of Penetration test per ASTM D-5 .

To comply with AS 2008, the viscosity of the bitumen is tested at 60 deg C to define the four grade of bitumen used for pavement construction.


Grade Viscosity International Character Application

Class 50 40-60 No Equivalent Softer Sealing

Class 170 140-200 80/100 Soft Sealing

Class 320 260-380 60/70 Hard Hot mix Asphalt , sealing

Class 600 500-700 40/50 Harder Hot mix Asphalt


Viscosity is basically a measure of consistency and higher the viscosity , the harder the bitumen gets.

The advantages of using Viscosity over the Penetration tests are

  • Viscosity is independent of the test system and the sample size.
  • At 60 deg C, the testing range is close the pavement temperature
  • Comparative studies of viscosity over a range from 60-150 deg C yields the bitumen’s temperature susceptibility.

Kenyan Road Works Dept getting tough on errant contractors



The errant road contractors use their high-level connections to perpetuate mediocrity and impunity and such impunity has cost Kenya billions of shillings that would otherwise have been spent on social projects.

Unfortunately, the custodians of interests have abdicated their roles and choose to wine and dine with the enemies and only issue cosmetic directives when prompted by public pressure.

With such attitude and connivance, the public find themselves are subjected to all kinds of inconveniences which has exacerbated the situation with the road networks. The upshot is the eyesore that is the Eastlands road network.

For instance, Outering Road, which stretches from the GSU headquarters roundabout on Thika Road to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, is a significant link that is terrible to drive.

And the Old Airport North Road which stretches from Mombasa Road to the heardquarters of one of Africa's largest airlines - Kenya Airways. Driving on these two roads is a nightmare.The Minister is getting tough with the errant contractors and hope the situation improves sooner.

The Kenyan road board and the minister is getting tough to put the house in order.



June 6, 2008

Bitumen Myanmar New Tender


Myanmar Government has called for a supply contract for 10,000 metric tones of Bitumen
80/100 and the tender is closing on 13 June 2008. Some of the conditions specified in the
tender documents, has put off a few international traders are

  • Payment will be made by the local bank and the L/C shall not be confirmed
  • Quote to be valid for 90 days ( the market price changes every week)
  • Tender document cost USD 5,000
  • Bid deposit of 2% along with a sample steel drum and a few kgs of bitumen
  • 10% performance guarantee for the supply
  • Open negotiation after the tender price revealed and re-negotiating the final cents


Probably the government officials to ease certain conditions to enable the local traders to participate in the bid by allowing partners from overseas rather getting dictated by a few refiners in the region.

Bitumen Newzeland

Newzeland uses the penetration test (ASTM D-5) as specified by TNZ/M/1 as against their Australian counterparts who uses the viscosity of the bitumen to define the grades of bitumen. This has given rise to difference in manufacturing standards between both the neighbors.


Grades as per D-5, carried out under laboratory conditions at 25 deg C to determine the depth that a weighted needle skins into bitumen specimen over 5 seconds. Thus the higher the grade, the softer the bitumen. It is measured in tenths of a millimeter. 60/70 grade has a depth of penetration between 6 & 7 millimeters.

This test, although look crude, is still internationally used as it serves as a reference point to compare the property of the bitumen at higher temperatures and it’s consistency with regards to Softening point and viscosity.

with reference to it’s physical characteristics, simply at the ambient temperature, are graded as


180/200 Softer Sealing

130/150 Soft Sealing

80/100 Hard Hot mix Asphalt binder, sealing

60/70 Harder Hot mix Asphalt binder


As Newzeland has one refinery , the additional requirements for the road construction are being imported.

Oman Bitumen Plant delayed

The tendering process for building a biutmen plant did not go on ther right road.

The contract to build plant at the 116,000-barrel-a-day Sohar refinery is likely to have to be rebid or retendered after only one company submitted an offer by the 2 June deadline.

Bitumen Blending


Bitumen is manufactured in refineries, and when done according to the description , the product is what we call a bitumen substance. The bitumen substance can be a pen grade bitumen, an oxidised grade, or a soft grade.

Most of the bitumen substances go directly to a user for his application. Some typical applications are paving, roofing, other waterproofing, mastic, the list is really quite long.

Please note that the product applied on the road or the roof, is not a bitumen substance.

In these applications, bitumen is always blended, and what is applied is a preparation in which bitumen is only a component.

Some of the bitumen substance manufactured in the refineries goes into some blending

process before being used. Through blending processes products like soft bitumen, cutbacks, polymer modified binders, emulsions and bitumen paints and primers are produced, to mention only a few.

These products are not substances; they are what can be called bitumen preparations and derivatives.

Most of the bitumen, which is used by our customers, is unblended, in other words a bitumen substance, especially in the road segment.

Some of the blended ones Emulsifiers / Polymers / Adhesion Agents / Fluxes / Solvents / Filler / RAP / TLA / Coal Tar…

Intermediate Blended Products - existing information about mastic asphalt applications and practices.

June 4, 2008

Health and safety – European Perspective


Bitumen is not classified at EU level with respect to cancer:

  • EU regulators deferred classification of bitumen, awaiting outcome of WHO (IARC) epi-study. (IARC is the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is the branch of the World Health Organisation which develops cancer classifications)
  • German regulators - AGS - deferred a “local” classification of bitumen pending outcome of animal inhalation studies

This situation of awaiting better information and deferred decisions will of course not continue indefinitely, we have to bring it to an end. Industry has therefore designed and commissioned large and advanced studies to fill the data gaps, which have been identified.

Nested Case Control Study

Does exposure to bitumen cause lung cancer in humans? Phase I of this study found a small, but statistically significant over-representation of lung cancer in asphalt workers, but that a causal link to bitumen could not be established due to possible effects of confounding factors. I. Industry signed the contract to start Phase II of this study, the Nested Case Control study, in an attempt to Identify effects of confounding factors from Phase I.

Animal 2 year study

Does exposure to bitumen fume cause cancer in animals? Identify dose response

relationship, and threshold level for health effect. No alarming results have been seen so far.

Animal mechanistic study

Clarify possible mechanisms of action and provide data on possible biological exposure
markers. This study is run as an integrated part of the Animal 2 year inhalation study.

Human mechanistic studies

Link mechanistic work in animals with human exposure data. It has been a lengthy process to design the protocols and secure the funding for this project. As of mid this year there were still some unresolved issues,


IARC is the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It develops and issues cancer classifications on substances which by European and many non-European legislators are considered authoritative and therefore applied as basis for regional or national health regulations:

  • The IARC Monographs have been the scientific basis in the past for EU classification decisions for Petroleum Products
  • In the US, Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) views IARC determination as onclusive


The opinion of IARC is therefore of the outmost importance for the industry in EU as in
USA, and we need to understand how and when it will be developed.

From the IARC web site, one can see that bitumen is a high priority item in the IARC program, and it is assumed that it will take place in 2007.The date of the official review is selected well in advance and posted on the IARC website.

A group of scientists , primarily experts on cancer, not necessarily on bitumen is being commissioned by IARC. Industry is usually allowed one or more observers at the review. They participate fully but do not vote. During the review, drafts of the various chapters are finalized and a classification is reached by simple majority vote.

The Monograph review is done on a global basis. Information about the product to be reviewed is solicited from all over the world, its manufacturing, composition, use, exposure situations and exposure data. . Their assessment is an assessment of the hazard, not the risk. Which means that protective measures in the work place to reduce risk of cancer through exposure reduction measures is irrelevant, it is the inherent hazard of the subject product that is assessed.

Refiners of Australia


Australian refineries are supplying around 75 per cent of petroleum products required by major industries and the fuel distribution network of over 6500 service stations. The reliability of the fuel supply system is outstanding given the unique logistical and geographic challenges in Australia.

The Australian oil refining industry produces the full range of petroleum products including:

· Petrol (44%)

· Diesel (32%)

· Jet fuel (13%)

· Fuel oil (3%)

· LPG (2%)

· Lube oils, Bitumen and other products (6%).

It also produces a substantial volume of product for chemical feedstock.

Australia consumed 52 000 ml (megalitres) of petroleum products. Australian refineries produced 40 200 ml, of which around four per cent was exported (excluding LPG).


Imports accounted for 25 per cent of total consumption. A proportion of this imported volume was supplied to northern and north western areas of
Australia where domestic refineries generally are unable to competitively supply market needs. Import terminals are located throughout Australia.

The bulk of imported petrol was from Singapore.


While
Australia has substantial crude oil production, around 62 per cent of this oil was exported . Crude oils required to meet the product demand mix in Australia are also imported by domestic refineries mainly from Asia and the Middle East.


Capacity: Refinery (
ml pa)

  • Bulwer Island (BP—Brisbane) 5100
  • Lytton (Caltex—Brisbane) 6110
  • Clyde (Shell—Sydney) 4980
  • Kurnell (Caltex—Sydney) 7210
  • Altona (Mobil—Melbourne) 4640
  • Geelong (Shell—Geelong) 6900
  • Kwinana (BP—Kwinana, WA) 8030
  • Total 42 970

The demand for petroleum products in Australia was around 130 ml per day.

Australian refineries must price their output to be competitive with imports (i.e. import parity) with Australian prices determined by prices in the Asia– Pacific region.


There is no tariff protection and all seaboard capitals have import facilities. Profitability of the Australian refining industry is therefore largely determined by refining margins in
Asia, and its viability depends on our competitiveness against imports from Asian refiners.

June 2, 2008

Health and Safety Issues on Using Bitumen



The HSE issue can be classified into three working level.

Producer

Each Producer has a responsibility for providing sufficient data and applicable labelling and warnings so that his product can be safely handled and applied. Of course, that also implies that he has to control his raw materials and production so that his information is correct for each batch he is supplying.

User

Worker Protection: Each employer has the responsibility for the safety of his workers that they can work safely with the material they use, the tools, the tasks, i.e. that they can do the jobs safely over time. The employer will need data for the products provided to him by the producers for that.

Government

Authorities develop and deploy regulations to ensure that a minimum protection of the workers and the environment is established, and is applied by all. The absence of regulations does not exempt the employers and producers from their responsibilities. In the case of bitumen, there is no cancer classification so far.

In other words, it is the responsibility of each producer to classify the products he put on the market. Industry’s responsibility in developing information in HSE related matters will increase in the future.

• To provide relevant information to promote the safe use of bitumen

• To provide data to answer key health and regulatory questions

• To provide data that is accepted by the broad scientific community

The importance of these data should not be underestimated. The information and advice should always be based on sound scientific data, which means the assessments need be open and transparent .

June 1, 2008

Luansobe-Mpongwe road construction

The Road Development Agency (RDA) of Zambia is working on the engagement of a contractor to tar the Luansobe-Mpongwe road, to attract investment to the economically viable area.

The road once completed, would serve as a short cut to Luanshya from the Ndola-Kabwe highway.

The opening of the road, would help to promote agriculture and other business developments along that corridor.

Ms Saili said despite being a short route, the road was now being shunned by most motorists because of its bad state.

Ms Saili said the Mpongwe-Machiya road would also be worked on by the selected contractor.

The National Roads Fund Agency (NRFA) had since made the funds available for the two projects to the RDA, as part of its support to the on-going Road Sector Investment Programme (ROADSIP II)

She said that a number of leading contractors had submitted their bids which among other things state the project’s cost and the specific time frame for completion.

The successful contractor would be given 30 days in which to mobilise equipment and start working on the road before the end of July.

Ms Saili explained that, most motorists were now ignoring the road which was between Ndola and Kapiri-mposhi opting to drive through Ndola and then to Luanshya before proceeding to Mpongwe, which was predominantly a farming area.

“Once the road is upgraded from gravel to bituminous surface, farming areas along the road would definitely change for the better,” Ms Saili said.