December 30, 2009

Kenya needs lot of bitumen

Demand for bitumen in Kenya is currently high due to the government allocating more funds for roads construction. According to Metro Petroleum, there is increased uptake of the product as the government is making significant investment with a plan to initially spend Sh200 billion in the road construction sector.

Managing director Bill Rotich said industry players expect bitumen used in Kenya to be over 18,000 metric tonnes due to the many planned and ongoing construction activities. “Over 18,0000 metric tonnes of bitumen will be used this year. Prior to 2004, demand was historically very low as the government was by then not investing significantly in roads infrastructure,” he said. Firms involved in selling bitumen include Shell, Total, KenolKobil, Engen and Pan African Petroleum among others.

Data complied by Petroleum Institute of East Africa shows that the Mombasa based Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd produced 3,358 metric tonnes of bitumen between January and March this year. It is also imported either in bulk or drums of 200 kilogrammes. The main sources of imported bitumen are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.

Statistics from the Kenya Revenue Authority indicate that increased road construction activities led a rise in the use of bitumen with 4,205 metric tonnes consumed in the first quarter of 2009. Consumption has risen steadily from 11,650 metric tonnes recorded in 2006, to 14,643 MT in 2006, with 16,677 metric tonnes recorded in 2007 and all time high of 17,733 MT last year.

According to Mr George Wachira, a director of Petroleum Focus (a consultancy firm), Kenya has a facility for handling imported heated bitumen at Mbaraki along the Indian Ocean shore in Mombasa. “Engen-owned Mbaraki facility has a capacity of 3,000 MT. It acts as a wholesaler due to being the only player with storage handling facilities and is therefore the only bulk importer,” he said.

Bitumen attracts 10 per cent import duty, 16 per cent Value Added Tax, Petroleum Development Levy of Sh0.40 and import declaration fee of 2.25 per cent. Mr Wachira said the government requires that imported bitumen must have a certificate of origin and comply with specifications set by Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Black Topping Stopped

Imphal, December 29 2009: Monetary demands from underground outfits have literally brought to a halt the black topping works along Tiddim line from Tulihal airport to Churachandpur and the repairing work along NH-39 .

A reliable source informed The Sangai Express that black-topping work of NH-150 from Tulihal airport to Churachandpur has been halted for four months now following a prohibition in connection with a monetary demand.

The Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways has already sanctioned Rs 23 crores for repairing NH-150 following which the Works Department issued the necessary work order on September 11 this year.

But the work order could not be executed till date following prohibition by UGs in connection with monetary demand, conveyed a source.

The Works Department had set the completion target of the road development work by March next year.

But under the existing circumstances, the Department is worried in case the sanctioned amount get lapsed due to non-utilisation within the stipulated period.

Moreover, many Engineers of the Department related to the particular work have gone hiding because of the monetary demand.

The 54 kms long section of NH-150 from Tulihal airport to Churachandpur should mechanised black-topping, according to the work order, mentioned the source.

On the other hand, the repairing work of NH-39 has been prohibited by one UG group.

It is reported that labourers are unable to work on the highway.

This was stated by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi at the 125th foundation day anniversary of the Indian National Congress yesterday.

According to an official of Works Department, the work of filling up potholes for 10 kms from Senapati toward Imphal was taken up to make the highway motorable even though this was not included in the work programme.

However, the same work, which is not included in any work programme nor any money sanctioned for it, has been halted since today following the demand for certain percentage of money from a hill based outfit.

Even as Rs 39.25 crores have been sanctioned by the Centre for repairing/developing NH-39, the work has been caught in a lengthy tender process.

As there is strong doubt over completing the road development work within the current working season, the department is making extra efforts by sending another proposal of Rs 5.25 crores to lay at least a thin layer of bitumen before the end of the working season.

In case, no bitumen layer is laid this time, then full repairing work of the highway will have to wait for the next season.

This would damage the highway completely.

Despite the efforts of the department, the officials have been perplexed by the disturbances coming from different quarters.

Source: The Sangai Express

December 28, 2009

Cheating on Bitumen

Poor quality roads: BBMP shifts Executive Engineer
Bangalore, Dec 26, DHNS:

Enraged by the poor asphalting work on Old Madras Road, BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena on Saturday shifted the Palike’s Executive Engineer from the project and served a notice on two of the three contractors.

Palike sources told Deccan Herald, which brought to light the tardy road-laying work on Old Madras Road on Saturday, that the Commissioner has threatened the two contractors of a harsher action if quality is not maintained.

People had complained that the bitumen content was not appropriate, and had failed to hold the gravel. Besides, the newly laid road has become uneven days after it was laid, putting a big question mark over the quality.

Traffic expert M N Srihari too was critical about the quality of the work saying that the contractors should have removed a layer of the already existing road for the longevity of the newly laid road. He also was of the view that heavy vehicular movement should be restricted till the setting of asphalt.

BBMP sources said an inspection was carried out soon after Deccan Herald spoke to the BBMP officials. The officials who inspected the work confirmed Deccan Herald report about the sub-standard work.

Angry with the sub-standard work the Commissioner instantly shifted the executive engineer from the project and directed the Chief Engineer of BBMP Major Roads Chikkarayappa to serve notices on the two contractors for their poor job.

December 17, 2009

Asbestos in Road.. Is Bitumen the prime source

The following article proves that Asbestos, which is a banned substance has found its way to the road.

Only the Bitumen Pitch from Bahrain has high asphaltine content ( around 15%) and not sure how it enters into the australian markets.

Pls read on..

The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change and Water (DECCW) have confirmed the presence of asbestos in a sample of road base taken from Plains Station Road in Ewingar.

The sample was taken by Ewingar resident Michael Mizzi after his friend, geology student Jeff Finlay, told him that some of the rock used in road base in the area contained asbestos.

“I started looking into it on the internet and found that there were two types of asbestos and both of them were considered to be carcinogenic,” Mr Mizzi said.

He collected three random samples from along Plains Station Road and took one to Page MP Janelle Saffin’s office and one to Southern Cross University for testing. It was sent to a laboratory in Sydney for analysis and came back positive for chrysotile asbestos.

DECCW were called and further testing was done confirming the presence of the material. In an email to Mr Mizzi, Jon Keats from DECCW said: “We recently undertook an inspection of Plains Station Road with Council officers and collected samples for analysis. The results confirmed the presence of chrysotile asbestos in a number of samples, although no respirable fibres were detected. Council met yesterday afternoon with DECCW to discuss its proposed response to this issue. Council advised that it would also be liaising with and seeking advice from the Workcover Authority and NSW Health. DECCW will be monitoring Council’s response to this issue.”

Mr Mizzi believes Council should call a public meeting and alert residents as to what the dangers are.

Clarence Valley Council general manager Stuart McPherson said they were doing more tests to determine exactly where the material was.

“We believe the vast majority of the material is at a couple of bridge projects and it has also been detected on some heavy patching sites on Plains Station Road and Bulldog Road,” he said. “We are negotiating with state agencies that have regulatory powers in this area, particularly the EPA, and are hoping to have resolutions about a process that we will undertake to resolve the issues shortly.”

Mr McPherson said Council would be sealing the roads with bitumen where the patching work had been done in the short term.

“We will have more permanent rectification measures that we’ll undertake following negotiations with the ETA,” he said.

Mr McPherson said the material had come from a Council quarry at Ewingar that has been suspended from operation until further testing is done to determine whether they can continue to use it.


December 16, 2009

Painting the road with Bitumen- Uganda

Works Minister John Nasasira has taken a lot of stick for the deplorable state of Kampala City Council roads because many people presume he is in charge of all roads in the country.

Try as he can to explain himself out of the confusion, it has stuck. In the meantime, KCC the real 'owners' of these potholed roads, continues to lie in bed with the tried and failed Zzimwe Construction company.

Well, finally City Mayor Haji Nasser Sebaggala has acknowledged it after an arm twisting threat that would have taken the roads away from his jurisdiction to the ministry of Works. He probably realized he would lose a whole section of his cash cow. These rag tagged roads have for long been what some families 'feed' on and any attempt to take them away is to ignite a street battle.

It is therefore not surprising that when Nasasira asked to 'lend' a hand on the Mayor's roads, the latter quickly sought the legal advice of the Solicitor General who recommended against Nasasira getting involved. So, final result: We shall still have these roads as messy as they can be as long as Haji and his cohorts still have empty tummies to fill.

Obviously, the ministry of Works is not a bunch of saints. In 2007, in the time leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the ministry temporarily took over control of city roads; repaired a few, carpeted others and simply painting other with bitumen. The job was so shoddy that it lasted only for the period of the meeting. Today, only an outline of some of those jobs on the roads still exist and yet from the current Parliamentary probe on how money was spent for Chogm, billions of shillings are unaccounted for.

First however, I believe that where credit is deserved it should be given. The ministry of Works is in charge of National roads only which make up about 21,000 kilometers. These exclude city and district roads. The ministry is one of those that receive the biggest budget annually to construct and maintain these roads. After putting up with public scorn, the ministry has been doing a publicity stunt to get the monkey off its back. For those who have travelled to any direction outside Kampala in the last six months, there is a remarkable difference that is recognizable on the roads.

The Fort Portal stretch through Kasese to Bushenyi literally begs for respect. And somebody said recently that an aero plane under distress can safely land on; Jinja-Bugiri; Soroti-Dokolo; Busunju-Hoima, Sironko-Kapchorwa; Masindi-Kafu, Karuma-Arua; Gayaza-Kalagi; and Ntungamo-Rukungiri. It's been a painfully daunting process to get Works to show any work for all the money they have received over the years. For close to 10 years, Nasasira kept explaining away the Jinja-Bigiri situation. Kabale-Kisoro, Dokolo-Lira, Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara; Matuga-Ssemuto-Kapeeka; Kampala-Gayaza-Zirobwe are finally under construction. For that record, however late, Nasasira deserves to take up KCC's roads.

KCC lacks the moral will to do the job even if, as Sebaggala says, he only needs to be supported with 'capacity and machinery'. The institution is ridden with shoplifter that any attempt towards development has been thwarted. Millions of dollars literally went down the Nakivubo Channel yet there is little to show for it and every time Kampala has a drizzle, the city floods.

Although I don't think government's attempt to snatch the city from KCC would make much difference in terms of cutting out corruption, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt on roads simply because KCC has sung the same song for so long that we would rather do with another one.

Source - Frederick ..

December 7, 2009

Bitumen Company Fined

Rondell Purcell was killed in a workplace accident in which a multi-tyred roller ran over her.

CONTRIBUTEDRONDELL Purcell was bending over, doing maintenance on a 16-tonne multi-tyred roller on a dusty dirt road when she was tragically killed.

There was no-one in the cabin of the roller but the engine was running and the gear lever was in neutral.

However, the lever was knocked into reverse by another truck on the worksite being driven by a sub-contractor.

Ms Purcell, a 38-year-old mother of three, died before paramedics could get to the scene.

About 12 fellow workers were nearby and were dramatically traumatised by the horrifying death.

The employer, Rock N Road Bitumen Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty in the Industrial Magistrate’s Court in Mackay yesterday to failing to discharge its workplace health and safety obligations.

The company was fined $80,000 and was ordered to pay $2680 in investigation costs.

The accident happened about 9am after the stationary roller was hit by a reversing truck, causing it to roll down an embankment and over Ms Purcell.

The accident happened while Rock N Road Bitumen was surfacing Frank Miles Road, a dirt stretch about 4km from the Bruce Highway which intersects Sarina-Homebush Road.

Counselling was organised by the company for Ms Purcell’s fellow workers.

Ms Purcell was from a large family and was the seventh of nine children. She had three children of her own, aged 21, 19 and 12.

Her sister, Maria White, said at the time of the death: “Rondell was happy-go-lucky and she would just talk to anybody. Almost everyone who knew her would say she would make friends with everyone wherever she went.”

In court yesterday, barrister Samantha Betzien, for Rock N Road Bitumen, said the fatality shocked the company which had safety systems in place.

“Regrettably those systems were inadequate in preventing this accident from occurring on this day.”

As a result of the death, all safety systems were reviewed, extra consultants were brought in, and the company co-operated in preparing a safety alert which went nationwide.

Rock N Road Bitumen had a previous good safety record and was a good corporate citizen, highly active in the Mackay community, Ms Betzien said.

Outside court, Rock N Road representatives Andrew Galea and Kelly Leech said: “Ms Purcell was a valued employee. The directors and employees express our deepest regret and sympathy to Ms Purcell’s family.

“An annual Rondell Purcell Commemorative Training Day has been established by Rock N Road in her honour.”

Bruce Mckean | 5th December 2009

December 3, 2009

bitumen sunshine

Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. Carbonate Pilot Application # 1587764 Approved by ERCBCALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2009) - Sunshine Oilsands Ltd., ("Sunshine" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce that the Sunshine Harper Carbonate Pilot Application # 1587764 has been approved by the ERCB. The ERCB approval number is 11379.

Mr. Brown, the company's Co-CEO & COO, stated, "this application approval is a significant element in the progression of our business plan. This in-situ pilot will move the evaluation of our carbonate resources ahead substantially. We anticipate the pilot's outcome will have a positive impact on the majority of our million acres, and with the results we will review our resource report and consider options for contingent barrel recognition." The Company has a diverse portfolio of assets, including conventional heavy oil, a large bitumen resource in the region that can be harvested with conventional SAGD and world class carbonate resources."

Sunshine is focused on the development of its contingent resources in the Legend, West Ells and Thickwood regions, which Sunshine believes can achieve a combined production potential of 180,000 bbls/day for a life cycle spanning at least 30 years.

About Sunshine Oilsands

Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. is a Calgary based company engaged in the development of its significant holdings (1 million acres) of in-situ oil sands deposits in the Athabasca region.

The Company's initial development plans include a conventional heavy oil project and an 180,000 bbl/d production profile from part of its cretaceous land inventory. Sunshine's initial adjudicated resource report which was based on 58 core holes encompassing 396 sections, attributed 9.1 Billion barrels of original bitumen in place, 2.5 Billion barrels high case gross lease recoverable resources and 1.3 Billion best case gross lease recoverable resources.

Source- Marketwire

Bitumen Upgrader


A rendering shows what the upgrader for North West Upgrading will look like after all three phases of construction are complete. The project is expected to cost about $15 billion.

A plan to build the world’s first bitumen upgrader that fully incorporates carbon capture technology could make North West Upgrading (NWU) one of the companies to lead the oilsands energy sector out of the recession.

“We were well capitalized at the time of the financial meltdown, which slowed us down a bit,” said Ian MacGregor, chairman of NWU.

“We weren’t able to raise enough money, but we had enough to keep moving.”

NWU was founded in 2004 to build a three-phase, $15-billion upgrader near Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Like many other oilsands producers, their plans were delayed late last year by falling oil prices, uncertain financial markets and high capital costs.

“We have come a long way in the last year and done a lot of engineering,” said MacGregor.

“We have spent a lot of time dealing with carbon dioxide emissions.”

A unique and more sustainable approach to the upgrading of bitumen is being designed and built by NWU.

“Most upgraders have been cancelled and a lot of people don’t know what to do because of the CO2 (carbon dioxide) regulations,” said MacGregor.

“This was part of our solution from the get go. This is a significant difference because we are the only people in the world with this solution.”

One of the most important elements of NWU’s design is that the upgrader will use gasification to make hydrogen from the heaviest components of the bitumen.

“Most industrial processes involve the addition of hydrogen,” said MacGregor.

“But when you make hydrogen, you also make CO2.”

He said the upgrader will be the first of its kind in the world designed to produce a clean CO2 stream off the gasifier in a useful form.

NWU has a contract to sell the CO2 to Enhance Energy, where MacGregor is also the chairman.

Enhance Energy will take the greenhouse gas from the upgrader by pipeline to an enhanced oil recovery project in the Red Deer area of Central Alberta.

The CO2 will be sequestered or injected into the mature oil reservoir, owned by Fairborne Energy Ltd., to boost production.

“This is the most efficient upgrader in terms CO2 emissions of any plant like this being built,” said MacGregor.

“It will have the lowest CO2 footprint in the world for production based on fuels from heavy feedstock.”

The NWU upgrader also has a refinery that will take bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands region and turn it into low sulphur diesel fuel.

“We take the lowest quality tar like substance and make the highest specification diesel fuel, which is in high demand,” explained MacGregor.

“This European specification diesel fuel can be sold anywhere in the world.”

Another important element in this project could be a proposal by the Alberta government to increase bitumen upgrading capacity and value-added activity within the province, by processing a share of royalty bitumen.

As the resource owner, the government is entitled to take its royalty share of bitumen production in kind.

The government wants to take a portion of these bitumen royalty in-kind volumes and get them commercially upgraded to higher value products.

“The provincial government has recognized that bitumen, if processed, is more valuable than royalties,” he said.

“We have a real compelling proposal to have royalty production.

“If we get this feedstock, we will go back to the markets to raise the money we need.”

The deadline for proposals is Jan 27.

If NWU gets the government contract, it will return to the market to raise additional money for construction.

The company has already raised $400-million for the project from a large group of institutional investors.

MacGregor said the company has signed a number of contracts to secure feedstock from other suppliers.

The upgrader, which is now in the detailed engineering stage, would be built in three phases.

Each phase will cost about $5 billion and would process 77,000 barrels a day of diluted bitumen.

Despite the delay, some preliminary work has already been done.

The site has been cleared, and long lead items, such as the hydrocracking vessel, special delivery material and pumps have been ordered.

No contracts have been awarded yet for construction.

If everything goes according to plan, construction will be well underway this summer and the first phase will be complete in early 2013.

The second and third phases are scheduled for completion in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

At the peak, there will be between 3,000 and 5000 people involved in the construction of the upgrader, which would make it one of the biggest projects in Alberta.

Source- by Richard Gilbert

December 1, 2009

Bitumen_Top Mineral for Nigeria

By Luka Binniyat

ABUJA - Though Nigerian is endow red with at least 34 metal and non-metal minerals, the Federal Government has agreed to concentrate on building an enabling environment for the exploitation of 7 for now, which it tagged “7-strategic” minerals.

Speaking to the Press in Abuja, recently the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke named the minerals as: Gold, Coal. Iron Ore and Limestone. The others are: Lead/Zinc, Tantalite and barites.
She said that their strategic importance is borne from the fact that they can be found across all the six geo-political regions in commercial quantities.

“If well harness”, she told the Press, “these mineral can lead to a dramatic development of Nigeria”
She said that Power Generation; Food Security, and wealth creation are just some of the good things that would come from them.

“They can also lead to high quality and cheap roads, putting the availability of Bitumen in mid”, she said.
“If big time miners take advantage of this and investe, the way they have been showing interest, we would eliminate illegal mining and in the process, take stock of the mineral we produce and adequately charge the right taxes to swell our national income”, she said.

“In view of the current adverse economic situation confronting the Nation and the world at large”. she said, “it has become imperative to place special emphasis on these 7 strategic minerals out of our 34 for now”, she said.
“Gold, Coal, Iron Ore and Bitumen are top among the 7”, she said.

She said that the Federal Government has endorsed coal among Nigeria energy mix

On Bitumen, she said that an estimates reserves of Bitumen, based on oil equivalent, (boe) , Nigeria has about 43 billion boe straddling parts of Edo, Ondo, Ogun and Lagos

“Nigerian Bitumen resources are considered to be in league with that of major bitumen it in the world”, she said.
source -

November 19, 2009

Uganda Upgrades Road networks

By Aidah Nanyonjo

THE Gulu-Atiak road is to be upgraded to paved bitumen standard, Dan Alinange, the spokesman of the Uganda National Roads Authority, has said. Currently, the 74km-road located in Gulu and Amuru districts in northern Uganda, is a gravel road.

The works shall consist of upgrading the road to a class II standard paved road, with a double bitumen surface treated carriageway of 6.5 metres wide.

The road will have single surface-dressed shoulders of 1.5 metres on each side. The road construction will take 30 months that shall be followed by a defects-liability period of 12 months.

Alinange said the Gulu-Atiak road is an important link in the national road network and contributes significantly to economic growth of the region. “It forms an important international link with Sudan since it is the most direct route between Uganda’s capital Kampala and Juba, the principal town of southern Sudan.”

Alinange said the UNRA was in the process of hiring a consultant to supervise the construction of the road. The works ministry, under which UNRA falls, was allocated over sh1 trillion in this year’s budget to improve the road network.

The money will also be used to build new feeder roads.


November 13, 2009

Merger on Bitumen Business

Eurotank Belgium B.V., controlled by Dutch oil trader Vitol Holding B.V., to acquire control of Belgian bitumen producer Petroplus Refining Antwerp N.V. and Petroplus Refining Antwerp Bitumen N.V.

Soruce- Reuters

Road Construction Not Very Lucrative

PROFIT margins in the road construction industry are under pressure, Raubex Construction has revealed.

Raubex is a construction company with operations across Southern Africa.

According to engineering news, Raubex financial and commercial director Francois Diedrechsen attributed the lower profit margins in the construction industry to a sizeable increase in the number of companies vying for especially smaller contracts.

“This happens every few years. It is just history repeating itself. Usually, within a few years these companies are gone,” he said.

Recent tender results indicated that in order to secure new work locally, current operating margins in the company's Roadmac and Raubex Construction divisions would continue to be adjusted to account for the increased competition, particularly in the light road surfacing sector.

The company stated that in Zambia, conditions were more challenging due to exceptionally high rainfall impacting on the re-gravel contracts while Rehabilitation contracts with a high content of cement and bitumen were also affected negatively by supply issues. It further states that the strength of the South African rand against the Zambian kwacha resulted in increased input costs having a negative effect on operating margins.

Diedrechsen, however, said the company delivered a “satisfactory performance”, despite challenging conditions in the first half of the year.

“Our international expansion is progressing well following the successful establishment of our footprint in Namibia, and this has already led to further work being awarded to Raubex in that country. In addition, a number of new projects were secured locally following the interim period,” said Diedrechsen. “We expect the performance of the second half of the year to improve, and remain confident that our strong financial and operational position will allow the group to maintain its performance in the medium term.”

By Nchima Nchito Jr

November 6, 2009

Construction Failures

KOLKATA: Construction agencies, it seems, have not learnt a lesson from past failures. Flyover construction at the Dunlop junction and Nagerbazar on
Jessore Road has made life miserable for motorists, as the roads crumbled under the weight of heavy cranes and trucks. Though craters had formed at Gariahat, Chowringhee, AJC Bose Road and Taratala where such flyovers had been built in the past the agencies concerned began work at Dunlop and Nagerbazar without strengthening the rest of the road.

Engineers concede that strengthening the foundation of the roads along the construction site is the solution to prevent craters. Thereafter, one can either cap the bitumen surface with mastic asphalt or lay concrete to make them durable enough to carry the load of excess traffic.

"Since the width of the road gets narrowed, as a section is cordoned off for construction work, the traffic load doubles. Unless the road is strengthened, this section is bound to crumble under pressure. And, once a small crater appears, it widens, leading to potholes all over," said an engineer.

Often, the situation persists for years, as flyover construction requires shifting of underground sewerage and water pipelines. This makes life miserable for daily commuters along the stretch, slowing down traffic, causing traffic snarls and often leading to breakdowns.

Strengthening the roads is quite impossible when the project is in progress, as there is hardly any space to divert traffic," said the engineer. "But when the situation worsens, one has to stop construction and carry out repairs. Lack of planning is apparent in every project. This leads to overshooting project deadlines and excess expenditure," he added.

Apart from damage to roads by construction work, shoddy workmanship during road repairs often leads to formation of craters after the first light showers of monsoon. Construction engineers admit road laying and repair activity is ad-hoc, with no tests being conducted to determine the traffic load and the load-bearing capacity of the roads concerned.

"Uniform laying of bitumen and other materials is key to a durable smooth surface. To cut costs, most agencies do not use a vibrating roller while repairing road stretches. Poor quality of bitumen is laid in an uneven manner. Lack of proper grading leads to accumulation of water in the middle, triggering surface disintegration," said another construction engineer.

The arterial road that cuts across the state's showpiece satellite township, New Town, had crumbled within a year, revealing the absence of monitoring and poor quality of workmanship.

High-speed corridors like the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and VIP Road get damaged each year, triggering fatal accidents. While VIP Road has had a mastic coating, that had improved the situation somewhat, the apathy towards EM Bypass continues.

"The only reason why the National Highways remain in good condition is that the guidelines for building them are strictly enforced and they are not dug up every now and then. If a section gets damaged, it is promptly repaired, so that it does not spread," said an engineer engaged in NH projects.

Experts say the main reasons why state highways and roads in the city don't last long is lack of proper supervision and technical guidance, combined with uncontrolled digging. "Contractors appointed for these projects either cheat on material or don't do a proper job unless supervised by professional consultants," said a construction engineer of an internationally renowned firm.

Civil engineers agree. "It is not that people here don't have the necessary expertise. But they are roped in for management. Therefore, projects get delayed and poor work ensures that the contractors get engaged again and again for repairs," said engineer Anjan Dutta.


November 2, 2009

Corruption at Bitumen Purchase

Three ministry of Roads employees and a company on Friday appeared in court charged with corruption.

Mr Richard Murigu, Ms Lucy Wanjiru, Mr Douglas Kiboi and Graw Enterprises denied the charges before Nairobi magistrate Cecilia Githua.

Mr Murigu and Graw Enterprises faced five charges of fraudulently acquiring Sh16 million from the ministry.

This, the court heard, they did by pretending that they delivered 450,000 litres of bitumen to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport on June 30, 2007.

Ms Wanjiru and Mr Kiboi each faced four counts of failing to comply with the law.

Graw Enterprises was said to have been paid about Sh6.5 million for the delivery.

Mr Kiboi allegedly issued a counter receipt voucher certifying that 150,000 litres of bitumen had been delivered by Graw Enterprises and received at the Wilson Airport depot on June 29, 2007.

The three accused had been arraigned in court on Wednesday, but did not plead to the charges after it emerged that the charge sheet was defective. The case will be heard on December 8 with a mention on November 13.

Source -

October 30, 2009

Mobile Asphalt Recycler

A vehicle that both recycles and re-lays old asphalt for footpath resurfacing is being trialled by Dorset County Council.

Manufactured by RSL, the VEB Hot Asphalt Recycler is on loan from Cornwall Council as North Dorset trials it on two footpaths in the area.

The process works by skimming off existing layers of asphalt from the footpath and loading them into the machine’s hopper. Once a small amount of bitumen has been added, the asphalt is then heated up and re-laid on the pathway or as a patch on the road.

It is capable of producing up to 10 tonnes of recycled asphalt per hour.

Head of the Dorset Works Organisation - the county council’s in-house contracting division – Andrew Martin said: “These trials highlight our need to carry out more work using new techniques that could reduce costs and the impact we have on the environment.”

Other technology to repair potholes more efficiently than conventional methods called velocity patching is also being tested. It is thought that both machines would save the council money on construction materials and reduce transport and waste costs.

Tiffany Holland
29 Oct 2009

October 29, 2009

Vitol Aquires

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Oct. 28 -- A division of Vitol Group agreed to acquire Petroplus Refining Antwerp and Petroplus Refining Antwerp Bitumen from Petroplus Holdings for $25 million.

The transaction price excludes the cost of the inventory. Closing, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected by yearend.

The Belgium refining assets include a bitumen processing plant with 875,000 tonnes/year capacity. Assets also include a 22,300 b/d gas oil hydrotreater, and tank storage.

Petroplus Holdings, a European independent refiner, currently owns and operates seven refineries having a combined throughput capacity of 864,000 b/d.

October 10, 2009

Road Works Inspection by Minister

ROGRESS at Joburg's construction sites and road works are on the agenda this month for the City's member of the mayoral committee for transport, Rehana Moosajee, and Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.

Briefing the minister of transport, Sibusiso Ndebele Road works, which have become a feature of the highway network, are testing the patience of motorists who are driving more and more dangerously to get to their destinations as soon as possible, according to the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral).

But the road works are not in vain as roads are being widened. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) would ensure that bottlenecks at interchanges were resolved, and freeway renovations would alleviate congestion, said Sanral.

In phase one of the project, 34 interchanges are being upgraded, including the Allandale, Atterbury, Gilloolys, Rivonia, William Nicol and Elands interchanges.

On 6 October, Moosajee, Ndebele, and Nazir Alli, the chief executive officer of Sanral, among others, were on a tour, focusing on transport. They visited the Aviation Training Academy in Kempton Park; the Gilloolys interchange, where construction workers are building a bridge to alleviate congestion; and Sanral's Network Management Centre, where roads are monitored and which sends help if there is an accident.

Freeway improvements
Effective commuter transport lies in providing different options, and those available in Gauteng include the GFIP, high occupancy vehicle lanes, the Gautrain, Metrorail and Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit.

The aim of the GFIP was to create links between modes of transport to allow people to choose public transport or car-pooling, which would alleviate congestion on roads, Sanral said.

Freeways will be widened to at least four to six lanes in both directions in some sections. Phase one will result in 185 kilometres of the existing freeways being upgraded. Over the lifespan of the project, a further 376 kilometres of upgraded and newly constructed freeways have been planned.

Engineers are using state-of-the-art technology to ensure the longevity of the work done; a new bitumen-rubber overlay is being used to seal what was previously a concrete surface. "The bitumen-rubber sealing will prevent cracks in the concrete reflecting through future asphalt overlays," explained Alex van Niekerk, Sanral's GFIP project engineer.

"What is also important to mention is that the impact this construction is posing on the environment is being minimised by the use of recycled materials. The use of ‘rubber crumbs' from old tyres will make the bitumen surfacing more flexible."

For motorists this means the lifespan of road surfaces will be substantially extended. Apart from normal maintenance, no major work would be required for at least 10 years after road works were completed, said Van Niekerk.

Read more:

October 8, 2009

Delayed repairs to cost more

The South African National Roads Agency needs more money to maintain roads, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

Sanral chief executive Nazi Alli told a briefing to the portfolio committee on transport that roads had to be maintained every five to seven years.

"The challenge is to make sure we do the maintenance at the time it is required and to make sure we have sufficient funds to do that.

"We need to recognise that there is a huge challenge we face as far as sufficient funding is concerned for roads."

Roads cost six times more to repair if maintenance is delayed by three to five years and 18 times more if left for five to eight years, Alli said.

Sanral received R5.842-billion from the Treasury and is projected to earn R354.9-million in income in 2009.

DA MP Stuart Farrow said during the briefing that Sanral had not received adequate funding over the years and this placed it at risk of not being able to maintain roads.

In 10 years Sanral will have moved from managing 7000km of road to 20 000km, by 2010.

"It has three times more roads than it had when it began, yet its budget is not keeping up with inflation," Farrow said.

"We have to support more funding for this agency. If we don't do that we will fall into trap of having un-maintained roads, which will cost us 18 times more if not maintained."

Farrow said the money was going to have to come out of toll roads where "there is some recovery coming off".

In many instances the roads around Gauteng are going to affect the poorest of the poor, he said.

"Where are the poor going to get money to pay toll fees?" Farrow asked.

The committee had to fight for extra funding from the Treasury as the funding of roads "has no relationship to the normal CPI index".

Farrow said the price of bitumen — one of the main ingredients in road construction — had gone up threefold, but this was not considered by the Treasury when it allocated budgets.

"So Treasury thinking that they can inflate budgets based on CPI has no relation to fact that bitumen prices have gone up threefold.

"We must go to Treasury and say that if you are going to give funding to Sanral it should be based on construction price adjustment figures, which are 20 or 30 base points higher than CPI."
Source -

October 7, 2009

Recycling of Roads

Telcon Ecoroad Resurfaces has launched a Rs 37 crore ($7.8 million) project in New Delhi to recover and re-use asphalt to make new roads.

The Delhi government tapped Telcon and the Central Road Research Institute for the 42-kilometer (26.1-mile) paving project, which is to be completed by June 2010.
In a typical resurfacing project, a layer of asphalt is deposited on the existing road. Telcon is using a road recycling technology out of Canada that heats and removes the top layer of asphalt.

The recovered asphalt is mixed with fresh bitumen and aggregate to increase its strength; however, it requires just one-third the aggregate and bitumen needed for new roads. Telcon said. The composition is then tested in the lab and on-site before being deposited on the road.

Telcon says the technology has the added benefit of fast drying time, as it can withstand traffic in a few hours. The road has a lifespan on five to seven years.

Telcon is a joint venture of the Tata Group, Japan's Hitachi Construction Machinery, India's IVRCL, and Japan's Green Arm.

It's not the first green transportation project for Delhi. In March, The Delhi Metro Rail installed a 5-kilowatt solar power system at its offices, a month after receiving confirmation from German carbon credit validation firm TUVNORD that it prevented 90,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted through its regenerative braking system from 2004 to 2007 (see Delhi Metro continues green push with solar and Delhi Metro earns carbon credits for regenerative braking system).


October 3, 2009

Bitumen Valuation Methods

Fred Dunn recommended that the department of energy needs to review its bitumen valuation methodology. Dunn’s office noted in March 2009 that bitumen prices used by one of the Crown-agreement operators was less than half of that used by all other operators. A lower price could lead to fewer royalties returned to Albertans, an estimated impact of $100 million.

— Auditors noted that Alberta Health and Wellness did not have a “documented, integrated delivery plan” for its electronic health records systems. As of March 31, the department had spent about $615 million on building these systems. Dunn recommended the department work with Alberta Health Services to improve systems to be able to regularly report costs, timelines, progress and outcomes.

Alberta Health Services also needs to work on a system that manages capital projects to avoid cost overruns and missed deadlines, Dunn said, citing the Calgary southeast hospital and the Mazankowki Heart Institute as examples of projects that have seen multiple cost increases and delays.


September 30, 2009

Recyling Roads with lesser bitumen

The Delhi government is finally beginning road resurfacing in the Capital. For the first time, the PWD will be using new techniques it had been experimenting with in the past.

The re-carpeting process started on Tuesday on Ring Road, close to Hyatt Regency in South Delhi. The 293 lane-km of road will be surfaced using hot in-situ recycling.

The project will cost Rs 37 crore. In this technology, around 70 per cent material available in the road is used and only about 30 per cent material is added. The advantage of using this technique is that the thickness of the road surface is raised only by 10 to 15 mm.

According to the PWD, the life of such roads is five to seven years. This technique was used on an experimental basis on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road two years ago.

The PWD had started experimenting on new road building technologies after 1997 when the Supreme Court banned hot mix plants inside Delhi. With bitumen supply reduced, the PWD had been looking for alternate options.


September 28, 2009

Bitumen demand in Qatar

Stable supplies and prices seem to have brought cheer to Qatar’s construction industry, which for long faced shortage of cement, sand, bitumen, steel and other materials.

Relaxation in import procedures, production boost and slackening global demand because of the economic downturn have been cited as major reasons for the stable supply of construction materials in the local market.
Industry sources said adequate quantities of cement were now available with the country’s main producer Qatar National Cement Company (QNCC). The company levies a wholesale price of only QR14 a bag at its production facility in Umm Bab, which has seen production boost in the recent months. Qatar’s cement requirement is estimated between 18,000 and 19,000 tonnes a day.

QNCC’s production has scaled up to 4.65mn tonnes (15,500 tonnes a day) from 3mn tonnes in mid-2008 following the completion of the cement mills (Plant-4) at the company’s facility at Umm Bab.
The balance (about 3,000tons per day) is met through imports, mostly from India and Pakistan.

“Adequate cement is available at reasonable prices in the wholesale market,” said the project manager of a leading Doha-based construction firm.
The sale of cement by unauthorised retailers has already been banned in Qatar. Unauthorised retailers were charging up to QR50 a bag when there was severe shortage of cement in the country until a few months ago.
The relaxation in import procedures has come as a big relief to the construction sector. Authorised construction firms can now freely import cement, sources point out.

Cement shortage in the country was triggered by the construction boom and the first major shortage was seen in 2004. Besides the huge demand caused by the country’s rapid expansion, the lack of import facilities at the Qatari ports triggered the shortage and subsequent higher prices.
The availability of treated sand has also improved considerably though the price has not come down commensurately. The official price tag of washed sand is QR22 per tonne. But one ends up paying much more due to transportation expenses.
However, costs have now come down to about QR80/ton from QR120/ton a couple of years ago, obviously due to the fall in transportation costs.
Qatar Sand Plant is the only producer of treated sand in the state. Washed sand is widely used for concrete works in the country.
Steel prices have already stabilised in the market in line with the international trend.

A bitumen roll costs about QR100 but there is no shortage in the market now, a source said.

Bitumen, a tar-like substance and a by-product obtained during crude oil refining, is used for waterproofing in buildings, bridges and drainage.
It is also widely used for road construction and resurfacing. Qatar mostly meets its bitumen requirements through imports from Saudi Arabia.


September 26, 2009

China's Refinery to make Bitumen

In June, CNOOC's Huizhou Refinery Project commenced production, mar king the significant progress of CNOOC's refining section. Currently, the company is promoting construction of its refining system in areas around the Pearl Ricer Delta, the Yangtze River Delta, and Bohai Bay. The company aims to reach 80 million tons of oil refining and bitumen processing capacity by 2020.

China may soon alter the equation of bitumen industry as more and more refineries are coming into stream. It may be net exporter in the next decade.


September 21, 2009

Weather Delays Tracks

PROGRESS of the $2.2 million all-weather athletic track project at Lloyd Elsmore Park has been delayed for a number of reasons and construction is running behind schedule.

When the project started back in the autumn, it was announced that the new track facilities would be laid and ready for action by July.

Pakuranga Athletic Charitable Trust secretary Linda Mitchell says: “Reoccurring vandalism and arson of the machinery and construction shed during the drier summer months meant the construction company had great difficulty in finding a hire company prepared to hire equipment to them.

“They lost valuable time before the winter rain set in,” says Mrs Mitchell. “Added to this, there was a long shipping delay in the arrival of the edging blocks.”

Further works are delayed until there is drier weather, which is required before a bitumen layer goes down, ensuring there is no moisture underneath the artificial track surface. Any water seeping in could cause bubbling and long-term problems.

“The bitumen layer needs about a fortnight of fine weather and time for the gasses to escape, before the final rubber surface is laid,” says Mrs Mitchell.

Work should recommence on October 1 and the Manukau City Council has been given a finish date of January 2010, weather permitting. Signs notifying the public of the revised project completion date have been put up at Pakuranga Athletic Club.

Delayed completion affects junior and senior track and field sections of the athletic club.

However, chairman of the junior committee Graham Vincent says an agreement has been reached with the Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club to temporarily use some of its fields.

“On Wednesdays we will use the grounds directly behind the Pakuranga Athletic clubhouse,” says Mr Vincent. “Council will be marking out the track and field for us.”

The start of junior competition is delayed until Wednesday October 28, two weeks after the club’s preferred opening date.

“To use our own area, buildings and equipment, and keep operating on our own night is fantastic. And we’re not accountable to anyone else.”

Plans are underway to fence the entire athletics complex, including the clubrooms, and gates will be locked each evening. Boundaries that are satisfactory to all parties are being discussed with the neighbouring cricket and hockey clubs.


September 7, 2009

Plastic Roads ahead

A chemistry professor from Tamil Nadu has discovered that a marriage of convenience between hot bitumen and molten plastic waste could be the way towards what Lalu Prasad had once dreamt for Bihar’s roads.

R. Vasudevan’s finding, which promises to solve the twin problems of battered roads and plastic waste, has received official recognition, with the Union rural development ministry issuing guidelines for laying rural roads using plastic waste.

Civic bodies in Tamil Nadu and the state’s highway department have already laid more than 750km of plastic roads and are adding more based on the process developed by Vasudevan, head of chemistry at Thiagaraja Engineering College, Madurai.

“It’s a simple procedure where plastic waste is mixed with hot bitumen before it is laid. Since plastic waste like cups, carry bags, etc, are heated only up to 170°C, they form a molten paste and get mixed with the bitumen,” said Vasudevan, who has given the patent of the process to the college.

He added: “Since the waste is not incinerated, which happens at 690°C, no toxic gases are released. As only non-chloride polymer waste is used, chlorine seepage into the ground is also avoided.”

Adding plastic reinforces a road in three ways. It increases the road’s load-bearing capacity, makes it more resistant to heat especially during summers, and prevents rainwater from seeping down. The third factor ensures durability, since water is the main enemy of bitumen-based roads.

“The life of the road will be prolonged three to four times provided there are no cuts and patchwork after it is laid,” Vasudevan said.

Performance studies on the roads built with plastic waste in Tamil Nadu indicate “satisfactory performance with good skid resistance, good texture value, stronger and less amount of progressive unevenness over a period of time”, say the guidelines issued by the National Rural Roads Development Agency, an arm of the Union rural development ministry.

The ministry recommends the use of polyfilms with thickness up to 60 microns, hard and soft foams and laminated polymer with thickness up to 60 microns. However, polyvinyl chloride sheets (flex sheets) should not be used. The process of coating the aggregate (tar and granite mixture) with molten (waste) plastic does not require machinery.

Modifying bitumen with shredded plastic waste raises the cost by Rs 2,500 per tonne, but this is offset by the need for less bitumen, better performance and environmental conservation, the guidelines say. They even ask local bodies to contact Vasudevan (0452-2482240) for further advice.

Vasudevan said the local bodies could initially source the plastic waste from their own dumps, since a 10x10-metre road needs just 1.7kg of plastic. Two lakh tonnes of plastic items are sold every month in Tamil Nadu alone, of which 40 per cent is recycled and 10 per cent gets into garbage.
Source- The Telegraph

September 5, 2009

Bitumen tank explosion

Fulton and Hogan CEO Bill Perry said he understood the man, a sub contractor, was fitting safety equipment to the top of the 18000 litre tank when it exploded.He was Kieran John Hudson, 21, from Greymouth. He was carrying out welding work to improve safety of railings on the silo.

"Foremost this is an absolute tragedy. Our thoughts are very much with the worker's family at the moment," he said.

A man, who did not want to be named, told that the explosion at around 9.35am "sounded like a sonic boom".

"It's blown a big hole in our [workplace] roof, a piece of vent from the tank has come through our roof and left a big hole."

"The piece from the truck just came flying, hit the roof then landed on a car in the carpark," said the man who was about 600 metres from the explosion.

"It sounded like a bloody sonic boom going through the place."

At first the man had thought there had been an explosion in his workshop and hurried all the staff inside.

"But then we saw the smoke coming off the tarmac and we ran to see what we could do. But there was nothing. Nothing we could do for him."

Jarrod Roberts who works at Coast Glass about 250m away from the site said "it was like a bomb going off".

"All we just heard was a big blast," he said.

"It's just blown the side out of the bitumen tank."

"You could just feel the waves coming towards you - it shook everything."

The Department of Labour is investigating.

Mr Perry was flying to Greymouth to look into the incident and said a full investigation would be carried out.

"Fulton and Hogan takes safety very seriously and such a tragedy is something that we need to understand and get to the bottom of so it will never happen again."

September 2, 2009

Bahrain to build Bitumen Plant in Oman

Bahrain's Mashael Group will build a 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) bitumen refinery in Oman that is planned to be completed in 2012, a project official said on Tuesday.

'The agreement has been signed by Mashael and the government to build the refinery at a cost of $200 million in the Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) area,' a SIPC project official told Reuters.

'Mashael will own the refinery but the land has been leased to them by SIPC for the purpose,' he added.

Bitumen or asphalt, which is produced by straight run vacuum distillation, sits at the bottom of the barrel of most crudes. The product is then put through further processing to produce market grade bitumen.

SIPC is a 50-50 joint venture between the Government of Oman and the Port of Rotterdam.

Oman is developing SIPC as a free trade zone to attract foreign investments and is home to major projects including a methanol plant, a fertiliser company, an iron pellet plant, a port and an oil refinery.-Reuters

Source -

September 1, 2009

Petro China's another Petro Industry Buy

PetroChina International Investment Company Ltd. (PTR-N109.75-3.44-3.04%) will buy a 60 per cent stake in privately-owned oil sands firm Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. in a deal that oil patch insiders see as a key vote of confidence in Alberta's massive bitumen reserves.

The $1.9-billion deal will give PetroChina a large stake in a company whose assets contain about five-billion barrels of bitumen.

“Oil sands projects are very capital-intensive long-term investments and difficult to fully finance in the traditional equity market,” Athabasca chairman Bill Gallacher said in a release. Athabasca “therefore decided to look for joint venture partners, and these strategic joint venture arrangements with PetroChina, one of the world's largest energy companies, can ensure that the MacKay River and Dover projects will be developed in timely manner, which is excellent news for Alberta and the rest of Canada.”

Rumours of the impending deal pushed up shares in several small junior oil sands companies, including UTS Energy Corp. (UTS-T1.790.1710.49%) and Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. (CLL-T1.00----%) , on a belief that major outside investment interests are once again prepared to invest in the oil sands.

“It's great news for the oil sands business. It shows that there are still large, sophisticated, deep-pocketed companies out there prepared to write big cheques,” said one Calgary banker.

Athabasca calls itself the largest leaseholder in the Athabasca region of the oil sands, with 526,000 hectares of net land.

Sveinung Svarte, the president and chief executive of Athabasca, was not immediately available Monday morning. However, in an interview this May, he said the company had spent months searching for joint venture partners.

“That has always been our philosophy to finance our projects,” he said then. “We are talking about quite a few billion dollars [in] long-term [capital requirements], and to have a partner coming in and finance a large part of that has been our model.”

At the time, he said even with low oil prices, large oil sands properties continued to attract “a lot of interest.”

“Even in this market. I would say maybe even more in this market, because I think the buyers have recognized that it's easy to make a deal today,” he said. “Because the sellers are a bit more, what shall I say, they expect a bit less than with the price at $147 oil.”

Chinese interest have taken an increasingly large stake in the oil sands. China National Petroleum Corp. made a $449-million deal for Verenex Energy Inc. in February – although that deal has had troubles proceeding thanks to difficulties in acquiring permission from authorities in Libya, where Verenex has the bulk of its holdings. And late last year, Sinopec paid about $2-billion for another Calgary company, Tanganyika Oil, which has production-sharing agreements in Syria.

The Athabasca deal shows “that major international companies are game to put up big dough for Canadian oil sands projects.

“So I'm sure people are looking at that and saying another potentially ready-to-go project is obviously Fort Hills,” said another Calgary investment source. “So UTS could be a beneficiary of that.”

UTS holds a 20 per cent stake in the proposed Fort Hills oil sands mine, which is majority owned by Suncor Energy Inc. after its acquisition of Petro-Canada. UTS rebuffed a bid by French energy giant Total S.A. to buy that share earlier this year.

Athabasca made an application last year to build two pilot oil sands projects that will use technology known as “steam-assisted gravity drainage” to exploit the crude on its lands. Unlike oil sands mines, SAGD operators use underground injections of high-pressure steam to coax the thick bitumen to the surface.

The company plans to apply for its first commercial project, a 150,000 barrel-per-day development in MacKay River, near the end of this year. It expects to begin production of a first, 35,000 barrel-per-day, phase in 2014.
source -

In the name of Bitumen

In the name of Bitumen

By the end of April 2009, a trader tried to penetrate 35 oil tankers carrying Bitumen where al-Tiwal customs administration refused to give him the permission to enter these oil tankers to the country for exporting the shipment under the name of Bitumen. When customs authority examine the shipment and found it was dangerous, the trader asked for the permission to enter these oil tankers to al-Saleef Port to be exported via this port to the country of origin. The customs agreed upon his request but till now the oil tankers still laying at the port and have not exported yet. Now the trader is demanding concerned authorities to help him get it into the country as mazot.

At the same time, SNACC took some samples from four oil tankers laying at Haradh customs department and others taken from Bajel cement factory in addition to samples taken from two oil tankers belonging to another dealer during their unloading their shipment at Bajel cement factory's tanks. All the results of the examined samples showed that they were not fit the international specifications of mazot wither in its intensity or high concentration of sulfur substances internationally approved for industrial use.

On these bases, the authority has made a number of measures, the most significant one is informing Prime Minister on dangers of entering any unexamined shipment of oil derivatives. The authority also addressed the customs authority to re-export the 35 tankers stopped in al-Saleef port and committing the trader to return them to Saudi Arabia and reporting to the SNACC on that.

August 25, 2009

Suncor Update on Bitumen Production

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) on Monday reported a vapor release at its Edmonton refinery, but spokesman Brad Bellows said he did not expect a significant impact on production.
Bellows denied local media reports of a fire and explosion at the refinery, which Suncor acquired when it took over Petro-Canada earlier this month. He said there were no injuries, and no risk to the public.

The vapor release was at the coker in the 135,000 barrel a day refinery -- the part of the refinery that converts bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to lighter grades of oil.

Suncor reported an unplanned outage at the Edmonton refinery earlier this month after a hydrogen supplier suffered production problems. Its early August takeover of Petro-Canada made it Canada's biggest energy company.

(Reporting by Scott Haggett)
Source -

August 19, 2009

Bitumen Theft Exposed

RESIDENTS of Kyotera in Rakai district were on Friday surprised when the Police invaded the LC3 chairman’s residence to search for suspected stolen property.

Three Police officers had earlier been instructed by Rakai district Police commander Juma Okungo to guard Charles Lugumya’s home to prevent any movement of property.

Residents told Police that he had hidden drums of bitumen, cement and other items supposed to be used in the construction of Mutukula road in his house.

Town council driver Hamidu Matovu, store keeper Justine Nakafeero and three law enforcement officers, John Kawooya, Yusuf Masembe and Mukasa Kizito were arrested in connection with the theft.

The Police, led by Okungo and Rakai Criminal Investigation Department chief Patrick Awori, searched Lugumya’s house, but did not find any of the materials.

Seventeen empty drums of bitumen were found in the town council store.

The Police also recovered timber, buckets, and 16 empty drums from Matovu’s house.

Matovu told the Police that he was following Lugumya’s instructions.

Lugumya said: “We had about 115 empty drums of bitumen but most were stolen. We had to safeguard the remaining ones,that is why I asked the driver to take them to his home.”

He blamed the road’s site manager and assistant engineer for failing to ensure the safety of the empty drums.

Bitumen Storage Facility in Australia

A planning permit will allow a bitumen storage facility at Crib Point that will boost state and local economies, create jobs and secure Victoria’s bitumen needs.
“The proposed facility represents an investment of around $25 million for Victoria and will create 30 full-time jobs during the two-year construction period and ongoing employment opportunities,” Mr Madden said.

Planning Minister Justin Madden said the Brumby Labor Government was taking the action the community expected in order to create local jobs in tough global times.

Mr Madden said the recommendation to allow the facility carefully considered the Advisory Committee’s report and resolved chief concerns relating to transport access, conservation and strategic planning.

He said the permit conditions would address the Advisory Committee’s concerns, particularly in relation to funding and managing road works to handle the volume of heavy vehicles visiting the facility.

The recommendation also addresses the Advisory Committee’s concerns about the clearing of native vegetation and the impacts on native wildlife through the Native Vegetation Framework.

“Importantly, while Australia faces a growing bitumen shortage, this proposed facility is important for the delivery of Victoria’s roads and other infrastructure and maintaining a competitive bitumen marketplace,” he said.

“By strategically locating the facility at Western Port, the liquid bitumen can be efficiently transported from the ships to the facility before meeting the bitumen demands of Victoria’s councils and industry.”

Boral Construction Materials proposes to construct a bitumen storage facility that will include two 10,000 cubic metre storage tanks, two smaller capacity day tanks, a loading gantry and associated infrastructure. It is not proposed to manufacture bitumen onsite.

August 15, 2009

Viscosity replaces Penetration- The Australian Way

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd today became the first Oil Marketing Company to introduce Viscosity Grade Bitumen in the India.

The product was officially launched in the Southern markets at a formal function here by releasing the product catalogue which was handed over by D M Reddy, Executive Director (I&C), BPCL, Mumbai, to T K Jose, Managing Director of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala ltd.

Kochi Refinery Executive Director, E Nandakumar, and other senior officials from BPCL and Kerala Public Works Department were also present, a BPCL-KRL press release said.

The BIS hasissued IS 73:2006 specification for Viscosity Grade Paving Bitumen which supersedes the earlier specification IS 73:1992 for Penetration Grade Paving Bitumen.

Viscosity Grade Paving Bitumen replaces the traditional penetration grade bitumen and is designed to take care of pavement distress at lowest temperature (responsible for cracking) and at maximum service temperature (responsible for rutting).

Besides, the refinery is also marketing NRMB (Natural Rubber Mixed Bitumen).The roads laid with this product lasts for longer period compared to traditional bitumen. Emulsion Grades, Slow setting and Rapid setting are also specialties of BPCL which can be used even during rainy season for maintenance purposes, the release said.

Source -

Polymner Bitumen Binders

JSC Gazprom Neft and SIBUR conducted a regular meeting of the working group on joint participation in promotion of polymer bitumen binders (PBB) substantially improving automobile roads' quality and lifespan.

The participants of the meeting, involving representatives of JSC Soyuzdornii, discussed the issues of PBC production units launching and operating in the cities of Ufa (the Republic of Bashkiria), Bogoroditsk (the Tula Region) and Ivanteevka (the Moscow Region) in 2H2009. Production of PBB will be performed at the said units using DST-30-01 thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) produced by a SIBUR's subsidiary JSC Voronezhsintezkauchuk.

In course of the work group meeting, the parties outlined further steps to be made in the sphere of cooperation with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation within the framework of a draft polymer asphalt concrete GOST reviewing.

In April 2009, following the appropriate tests performance, there was a favorable conclusion on the utilization of Russian brands of TEPs for bitumen modification gained from the Dorservis Test Center Scientific and Research Oganization based in the city of Pavlovsk.

The working group intends to keep on working on PBB producers' personnel advance training and undertake further seminars on the issues of PBB productio, transportation, storage and quality inspection.

For more information, please visit SIBUR online:

August 8, 2009

Petrobank on new Bitumen Extraction Proces

Petrobank Energy and Resources looks a bit like an oil and gas holding company. It controls a few oil sands leases and is working on a new bitumen extraction process; it controls 67% of Petrominerales, which operates in Columbia and Peru; and it will soon own 64% of PetroBakken Energy, assuming its merger with TriStar Oil and Gas works out.

But its conglomerate status will not be around forever.

Petrobank plans to chip in its Saskatchewan Bakken holdings as part of the deal to create PetroBakken, which is why it will end up 64% of the new entity. It will receive a tidy dividend of 96 cents per share a year, but John Wright, Petrobank’s chief executive, expects that to change.
Petrobank, he said, will hand over its stake to shareholders. And when it does, it will be quick and clean.

August 6, 2009

Bitumen Enscapulation roofing Membrae

Leading building products and composites manufacturer Johns Manville has formed a new company called JM E3 to integrate Energy Conversion Devices laminate technology into bitumen roofing membrane systems.

ECD is a manufacturer of thin-film amorphous silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) laminates for new sustainable roofing composites. Its Uni-solar laminates are lightweight, non-intrusive and easy to install compared to heavy and fragile glass-based solar panels. The company says they provide a solid return on investment through a low installation cost and low cost-per-kilowatt-hour of energy produced. ECD currently has the capacity to produce 18 miles of the laminate daily,equating to annual power generation capacity of 178MW

August 4, 2009

Airport Extension

AS work on Bundaberg Airport's runway extension moves toward completion, Bundaberg Regional Council is preparing for the next stage of the upgrade.

A spokeswoman for council said tenders are being called for to expand the passenger terminal.
“Tenders for construction of the terminal were advertised in the Bundaberg NewsMail on Saturday, and will be open for a period of four weeks,” the spokeswoman said.

Once tenders are received, council will vote on which one to accept.

“Once the successful tender has been selected and contracted by council, a meeting will be held with businesses located at the airport to outline the construction process, which will be designed to minimise disruptions to current airport operations,” the spokeswoman said.
Bundaberg Regional Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said it was great to see the project moving forward.

“The upgrade of the airport is a major outcome of Councils' Regional Economic Development Strategy 2008 - 2014,” she said.

“Our goal is to provide significant stimulus to the region's economy - in terms of both industry and the community and this tender process brings us one step closer.”
Currently council is undertaking the final overlay of bitumen on the extended runway.
A Boral bitumen plant was constructed near the airport to provide more than 30,000 tonnes of bitumen to the project.

Weather permitting, the runway should be complete in September, however the airport cannot take passenger jets until the terminal is also upgraded to new security standards.
Council announced in March it would be spending up to $6 million to upgrade the current terminal.

July 31, 2009

Bitumen ..Is the Road Ahead Rosy...

Conflicting statements from various refiners, some upgraded ones are doing away with bitumen production and the some are going into Fuel Oil Production. However some are changing back to High density ( Venezuealan ..similar to Angolan crude) to get more bitumen.

The world demand especially the developing world needs lot of bitumen. China's current consumption may be lower after they commission the new refineries under development and Korean refiners, the major supplier to China market are looking for alternatives..

Here are the risk factors listed in Shell's semi-annual report..

There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this document, including (without limitation):

(a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas;

(b) changes in demand for the Group's products;

(c) currency fluctuations;

(d) drilling and production results;

(e) reserve estimates;

(f) loss of market share and industry competition;

(g) environmental and physical risks;

(h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions;

(i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions;

(j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including potential litigation and regulatory effects arising from recategorisation of reserves;

(k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions;

(l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions.

Hope the supplies are met with the lower crude oil price to meet the construction schedules projected by various developing countries in the near future.

Shell Statistics Soruce-

July 30, 2009

HPCL Changing into Bitumen from Fuel Oil

The Viciosu cycle has started. When the bitumen price is low, the refiners would like to go for Coke or Fuel Oil. Since last November, Bitumen prices are steady and more than Fuel Oil, lot of refiners are chaning their production progrmmes back to Bitumen.

HPCL is the latest one to join the band wagon.. Pls read on the story, thanks to Reuters.

State-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp may not export fuel oil in the current fiscal year ending March as weaker monsoon has spurred demand for bitumen from construction sector, a company official said on Wednesday.

"Normally we export fuel oil in monsoon. But we have not done anything so far," the official, who declined to be named, told reporters, adding that if the monsoons continued to elude, the company would not export fuel oil "because there is no lull in construction".
"So far demand for oil products is good because of weaker monsoon," he said. "Bitumen is in full swing."

Last year, HPCL exported about 200,000 tonnes of fuel oil, he said. HPCL runs a 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Mumbai and a 150,000 bpd plant at Vizag on the east coast.
The official said due to higher availability of domestic gas,

HPCL aims to export one million tonnes of naphtha this fiscal year, compared with 800,000 tonnes shipped out in last year.

"We hope to export one million tonnes of naphtha mainly from Vizag. At Mumbai we are maximising gasoline production. Last year NFCL (Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals) and RCF (Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd) were taking naphtha from us," he said.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Himani Sarkar) Source - Reuters


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

July 22, 2009

Minister watching the Quality

Indian Roads are not paying back what they initially worth. Lot of adulterated contents into bitumen and the quality become a question mark. Minister is getting tough.. read on.

Facing flak from the Opposition in Lok Sabha on slow progress of the National Highway Development Project (NHDP), the government on Tuesday said it was taking action to expedite the pace of implementation.

“Progress of projects is closely monitored at various levels and steps have been taken to expedite land acquisition, shifting of utilities, obtaining clearances from Railways for Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and action against non-performing contractors,” road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath said.

He said the government was conducting reviews on regular basis of on-going and proposed NHDP projects which would commence within eight months from the date of award.
Nath said the conversion of two-lane roads to four-lane or six-lane was done after examining the flow of traffic. Two-lane roads would be ten metre in width and have traffic up to 15,000 passenger car units.

The minister said polymer modified bitumen is permitted to be used in the construction of national highways to improve the durability of the roads constructed.
Nath said enlightening people through signages and other measures were undertaken to improve safety.

July 17, 2009

Petro China Keeps Buying Refineries in Singapore, Malaysia

CNPC and PetroChina to get boost in overseas downstream presence
PetroChina's state-owned parent company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), is to invest in a $10 billion refinery project in Malaysia, according to private Malaysian firm Merapoh.
CNPC, China's largest oil and gas producer and supplier, has also agreed to buy the refinery's products for at least 20 years, Reuters reported.

Merapoh Chairman Nazri Ramli told a press conference that “CNPC will take up equity in the project” which will see a 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery built in the northwestern Malaysian state of Kedah.

Environmental approval for the project is expected by September.
Merapoh is responsible for project development and construction which has been slated to commence later this year and be completed by 2014.

This deal will further strengthen CNPC's overseas presence in the downstream segments, especially since its publicly listed arm PetroChina just got approval to acquire a stake in a Nippon Oil refinery following another acquisition which saw it become the controlling shareholder in Singapore Petroleum Company (SPC).

PetroChina last week made a mandatory cash offer for the remaining SPC shares.
PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., recently acquired a 45.51% stake in SPC, representing 234.5 million shares, for S$1.47 billion ($1.02 billion) from Keppel Corporation's Keppel Oil & Gas Services Pte Ltd (KOGS).

SPC has a 50% interest in Singapore Refining Company Private Limited, one of the three major petroleum refiners in Singapore. SPC also conducts terminalling and distribution and trading of crude and refined petroleum products.

Meanwhile, it is understood that two private equity firms, Hong Kong Beijing Star Ltd and Winson Investment Ltd, has already raised funds to buy a 40% stake in Merapoh each.
According to Nazri, Merapoh management would be controlling the remaining 20% stake in Merapoh, which holds the license to build and develop the Kedah refinery.

Chip fat to reduce Crbon Foot Print- On Bitumen

OLD chip fat can be used to make 'greener' roads, a company has claimed following a discovery during tests in Newark.

Aggregate Industries found the leftover liquid could be recycled as a replacement for bitumen and would cut the carbon footprint of the road building industry.
The Leicester firm has said 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen, which is made up of crude oil, is used every year for road building.

The company made the cooking oil discovery during tests at its plant in Newark.
It now wants to patent the invention before using the newly-developed asphalt across the country.

Helen Bailey, 25, research manager at Aggregate Industries, was awarded the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award 2009 by The Worshipful Company of Engineers for the invention.

Ms Bailey said: "I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix.

"The solution I developed complies with UK Standards for asphalt while reducing the carbon footprint in resultant products.

"I was delighted to find that the waste fat produced by cooking one of the nation's favourite dishes can be used to hold together our roads."


July 14, 2009

Miner Looks towards Indonesia

LISTED MINER Imperial Resources, Inc. wants to increase the exploration area in its asphalt bitumen project in Indonesia given promising reserves, the head of the company said late last week.

"We expect to have more concessions... we have made known to our partner that we want to increase [the exploration area]," Oliverio G. Laperal, Sr., president and principal executive of Imperial, told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.
Early this year, the local miner partnered with Indonesian P.T. Aspal Buton Nasional to explore, develop and exploit 1,940 hectares of the total 2,900-hectare asphalt property in Buton Island, Southeast Sulawesi Province.

"Even from the start, part of the asphalt deposit is oozing out. Now the extent [of the reserves] is what we are trying to determine," Mr. Laperal said.
The miner started exploration two months ago.

Imperial Resources gave Nasional $150,000 as a signing check for the deal. It will pay an additional $1 million after the exploration should the mining site prove to be commercially viable, plus a 5% royalty charge on proceeds from the mine.
"We will use all kinds of financial instruments [like] equity, borrowings, underwritings and bonds," Mr. Laperal said.

Imperial Resources earlier estimated the asphalt bitumen mining project to be worth $500 million. Asphalt bitumen is used extensively in road construction.
Mr. Laperal said good prices for asphalt would likely attract investors even amid the financial crisis.

"Because the price of asphalt has exceeded the price of oil starting August last year until now, asphalt mining is profitable and it has become more profitable," Mr. Laperal said.
However, Imperial Resources might find difficulties getting funds from the equity market given that asphalt "is not exactly a traded commodity like gold and copper," Jose Mari B. Lacson, research head of Campos Lanuza & Co., said in a phone interview.

"They have to look for specific investors ... I think there will be some specific investors who are knowledgeable on their product," Mr. Lacson added. In the first quarter, net losses of Imperial Resources rose by 40% to P2.141 million from P1.527 million during the same period last year.

Mr. Laperal said the company might still record losses this year as it continues to spend on exploration. Imperial Resources incurred P7.56 million in net losses last year.
Imperial was originally incorporated in 1969 as an energy firm, but it switched to information technology as its primary purpose in 2000 with the creation of subsidiary Philippine Cyber Colleges Corp., which has schools in Baguio City and Bulacan. It shifted focus to mining two years ago.

Shares in Imperial Resources were last traded at P9 apiece on June 15. — Neil Jerome C. Morales


Bitumen Factory for Highway - Must for Kazak

Main issues of construction of highways depend on bitumen factory
[15:01] 13.07.2009, Kazakhstan Today
The main issues of development of highways in Kazakhstan depend on construction of a bitumen factory. The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov informed in the interview to journalists after acquaintance with the course of construction of the highway Astana - Schuchinsk, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports.

"We see concrete results of construction of the road and the beginning of the new big project: Western Europe - Western China," K. Masimov said.
"We need to synchronize the work of road construction Western Europe - Western China. The main issue is construction of a bitumen factory."

According to the Prime Minister, "the condition for overcoming the world financial crisis is development of infrastructural projects. Construction of highways is most important infrastructural projects, which create new workplaces and stimulate industry development," he stated.

Cost of construction of the highway Astana - Schuchinsk is 114.4 billion KZT. Total extent of the site - 224 kilometers. 3500 people are taking part in realization of the project.
The project will be completed in November, 2009.

July 13, 2009

Shortage of Bitumen in Pakistan

APCA expresses its concern and anxiety on non availability of bitumen
ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Contractors Association (APCA) expresses its concern and anxiety on the non availability of the bitumen at a time when the bitumen is needed to the road contractors of the country for the completion of their projects because of the right season.

The position is that there are two refineries in the country for the supply of bitumen, National Refinery, Karachi and Attock Refinery, Attock and that both the refineries are in one hand. APCA stated that the road contractors of NWFP have been asked to bring their requirement from Karachi. The route bringing consignment from Karachi is D. I. Khan and Bannu which is not operating because of law and order situation in NWFP. APCA stated that the other available route is Via Mianwali but the transporters are not ready to bring the consignment via Mianwali.
APCA stated that the complex situation is that due to non availability of bitumen the road contractors of NWFP and around are facing serious problems for the completion of their projects and the road contractors are under threat of cancellation of their projects.

APCA stated that on the one hand the bitumen is not available and on the other hand the owners of the refineries have increased the price of bitumen from Rs. 40,597/- to Rs. 46,823/- in a short period of three months from May 2009 to July 2009. APCA stated that the shortage and non availability and increase in the prices of bitumen is a regular feature ever since the government privatized National Refinery, Karachi, which has been purchased by the owner of Attock Refinery thereby creating a monopoly situation.

APCA requests government to take immediate notice of the non availability of bitumen to the road contractors of NWFP and direct the management of Attock Refinery to make available the bitumen to the road contractors of NWFP from Attock Refinery. APCA further requests President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Minister of Commerce, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Federal Minister for Communication and Advisor to President of Pakistan on Petroleum to take immediate notice of non availability of bitumen and allow the import of bitumen from all the countries on zero percent Custom Duty and without Sales Tax and Income Tax in the greater interest of growth of construction industry in Pakistan.

APCA further request that in view of the increased projects of the infrastructure in the company there is need to add another refinery in public sector and requests the Government of Pakistan to immediately start a refinery in Public Sector to reduce the shortage and cost of bitumen.