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- http://www.foxbusiness.com/

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

Flickr

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."

Source- http://www.thisnottingham.co.uk/

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

Source- Businessonline.com

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.
Source- Gaseta.kz

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.

Source-onlinenews.com

July 11, 2009

It was Plastic and now Used Oil..for Btiumen on Road


The construction of asphalt roads would be made ‘greener’ by using waste vegetable oil instead of bitumen, says international building-materials company Aggregate Industries.
According to spokeswoman Helen Bailey, the 1.25M tonnes of bitumen used every year carries a “significant environmental and economic cost”.


She has already been awarded the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award by the Worshipful Company of Engineers for her work.
Now her new system, which is awaiting a patent, will shortly be pioneered on road surfacing projects in Lincolnshire.


She says: “I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix, using a waste product readily available in the UK. My new method meets all UK standards, but is much better for the environment.”


She adds: “I was delighted to find that the waste fat produced by cooking chips, one of the nation’s favourite dishes, can be used to glue our roads together!”


Source- New Energy Resources- UK.

July 10, 2009

Goes without Saying-- BP Shell still making Money on Bitumen

Oil companies Mobil and Caltex may have taken a profit bath last year but the balance sheets of their competitors BP and Shell are scrubbing up nicely.


BP filed its return late last month, recording a $58.2 million after-tax surplus for the year to December 31, a 36 per cent increase on the previous year. Shell posted an $84.3m profit during the same period, a marginal increase compared to 2007.


ExxonMobil and Chevron, operators of Mobil and Caltex petrol stations, last year lost $189m between them. Both companies blamed huge increases in the cost of crude oil and refined petroleum products and foreign exchange losses for the poor results.


Jackie Maitland, Shell spokeswoman, also notes that costs increased sharply during 2008, resulting in a $63m loss on its petroleum sector (rather than the group).
BP spokeswoman Diana Stretch said the reason the oil companies reported such disparate results in the same trading conditions was due to different accounting practices.


''There's quite a difference between what some [companies] include and some don't,'' Stretch says, pointing to the fact that both ExxonMobil and Caltex carry debt priced in US dollars. The New Zealand dollar lost about 40 per cent of its value against the US during 2008.

Maitland says the company's continued profitability stemmed from its diversified portfolio, which includes a 38 per cent stake in privately-owned civil construction company, Fulton Hogan. ''That's a profitable shareholding,'' she notes. Shell also owns a quarter of Loyalty New Zealand, which operates the Fly Buys franchise, in addition to its bitumen, chemicals, service station and New Zealand Refining Company interests. Shell offset the petroleum losses and marginally increased its profit due to its group interests.


While BP was pleased with its result, Stretch says, it was still below expectation given its asset base of $1.2 billion. ''We're part of a global organisation and our parent clearly has expectations of us to provide a return to the shareholder. We will aim for another improvement next year,'' she said.


Meanwhile, Shell expects to announce in early August whethrr it has a buyer for its New Zealand assets after its partner, UBS, issued an ''information memorandum'' on the sale last month. In addition to its 230 petrol stations, Shell is selling its marine terminals, aviation business, commercial fuel, chemicals and bitumen interests, Maitland says.


July 9, 2009

Cutting Road Emission using Old Chips



Old chip fat could be used in road-laying to cut emissions



A new use for old chip fat could help cut emissions created from laying roads, engineers have claimed.


According to Helen Bailey, the use of some 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen in the asphalt industry each year comes at a 'significant environmental and economic cost' as it uses imported crude oil Photo: PA
Helen Bailey, an engineer from Aggregate Industries, has developed a process replacing bitumen, which is normally used in road surfaces to "glue" asphalt together, with waste vegetable oil.

According to Miss Bailey, the use of some 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen in the asphalt industry each year comes at a "significant environmental and economic cost" as it uses imported crude oil.

"I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix, using a waste product readily available in the UK.

"My new method meets all UK Standards, but is much better for the environment."

She added: "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!"

The new system, which is awaiting a patent, will shortly be tested on road surfacing projects in Lincolnshire.

Ms Bailey has already scooped an industry award – the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award by the Worshipful Company of Engineers – for her work.

Source- The Telegraph










Inventors:Barlow, Peter L. (Sutton, GB2)
Riches, Kenneth M. (Northwich, GB2)
Application Number:06/454939 Publication Date:03/05/1985 Filing Date:01/03/1983
Assignee:Shell Oil Company (Houston, TX)

Primary Class:524/62 Other Classes:524/576, 525/54.500, 524/575, 524/572, 524/474, 524/573, 524/68, 524/574, 524/71

International Classes:C08L95/00; C10C3/02; C10C3/00; C08L7/00; C08L95/00; C08L9/00; C08L53/02 Field of Search:524/62, 524/68, 524/71, 524/572, 524/573, 524/574, 524/575, 524/576, 524/474, 525/54.5

Lieberman, Allan M. Attorney, Agent or Firm:Bielinski, Peter A.
Claims:What is claimed is:

1. A process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and an unsaturated rubber comprising treating a mixture of bitumen and between 1 and 25% by weight of the bitumen/rubber blend of rubber which has been thoroughly mixed at between 120° C. and 240° C. with between 0.5% and 5% by weight of the bitumen/unsaturated rubber blend of a free radical generator at a temperature of between about 100° and 240° C. and then mixing with between about 5% and 30%w, based on the obtained mixture, of a volatile petroleum oil fraction solvent.

2. A process according to claim 1, wherein the rubber has the general formula: A--B (B--A)n
wherein each A is a thermoplastic polymer block of a monovinyl aromatic hydrocarbon or a 1-alkene, B is an elastomeric polymer block of a conjugated diene and n is an integer, suitably from 1 to 5.


3. A process according to claim 1, wherein the free radical generator is a peroxide.

4. A process according to claim 3, wherein the peroxide is dicumyl peroxide or di-tertiary butyl peroxide.

5. A process according to claim 1, wherein the volatile solvent is kerosine.

6. A process according to claim 1, wherein the bitumen and rubber are mixed to obtain a homogeneous or finely dispersed mixture, whereafter the free radical initiator is added and mixing is continued.

7. A cutback manufactured according to the process of claim 1.

Description:BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and rubber and to a cutback thus obtained.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Cutbacks of mixtures of bitumen and rubber can suitably be used, e.g. for surface dressings on roads, in particular on sites exposed to high stresses caused by heavy turning traffic. The cutback is sprayed at the road surface whereafter the surface is covered with chippings, which are preferably precoated with bitumen. The volatile solvent of the cutback, e.g. kerosine, then slowly evaporates and the chippings should show a good retention to the road surface, even under the above-mentioned heavy conditions.

A drawback of such cutbacks is the tendency to form a skin of rubbery material at the upper surface, which skin prevents the further evaporation of the solvent. This causes loss of most of the chippings under said heavy conditions.

The treatment of a mixture of bitumen and rubber with a peroxide in order to prepare cross-linked homogeneous bitumenous compositions which are suitable for e.g. road-building is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,963,659. The use of cutbacks of these mixtures and the above-described problem encountered with such cutbacks are not mentioned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The purpose of the invention is providing a cutback which does not show this disadvantage.

The invention relates to a process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and rubber comprising treating a mixture of bitumen and rubber with a free radical generator, usually a peroxide at a temperature which, dependent on the choice of the free radical generator, gives a reasonable half life of the latter, preferably between 100° and 240° C., and then mixing with at least 5%w, based on the obtained mixture, of a volatile solvent.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The bitumen preferably has an aromaticity, expressed as the fraction of aromatic carbon in the n-heptane maltene phase (f a ) higher than 0.004×P+0.280, in which P represents the n-heptane asphaltenes content of the bitumen. Petroleum bitumen is preferred.

The bitumen may be a distillation bitumen, a precipitation bitumen, a blown bitumen and blends of two or more of the bitumens mentioned hereinbefore. Preference is given to the application of a distillation bitumen, a precipitation bitumen or a blend of a distillation and a precipitation bitumen.

Very suitable are blends of one or more of the above-mentioned bitumens with aromatic petroleum extracts, aromatic petroleum distillates or paraffinic-naphthenic petroleum distillates in such a proportion that the above-mentioned aromaticity according to the invention is also reached. When a bituminous component of this type is applied preference is given to a blend of a precipitation bitumen and an aromatic petroleum extract, in particular a blend of a propane bitumen and an aromatic extract of a heavy lubricating oil.

The present compositions are preferably prepared starting from bituminous components having a penetration at 25° C. between 10 and 2000 (ASTM D-5-73).

The rubber can be a natural or a synthetic rubber and preferably is an unsaturated rubber. Examples are homopolymers and copolymers of alkadienes and random, tapered and block copolymers of alkadienes and/or alkenes and/or monovinyl aromatic monomers. Suitable alkadienes are conjugated alkadienes, such as butadiene and isoprene. Suitable monovinyl aromatic monomers are styrene and alkyl styrenes. Blends of more than one rubber may also be used.

Preferred are linear or branched synthetic rubbers having the general formula: A--B (B--A) n

wherein each A is a thermoplastic polymer block of a monovinyl aromatic hydrocarbon or a 1-alkene, B is an elastomeric polymer block of a conjugated diene or more than 1-alkene and n is an integer, suitably from 1 to 5, or a partly or fully hydrogenated derivative of the block copolymer.

The polymer blocks A preferably have a number average molecular weight, in the range of from 2,000 to 100,000, particularly from 7,500 to 50,000. The polymer block B preferably has an average molecular weight in the range of from 25,000 to 1,000,000, particularly from 35,000 to 150,000. Whenever according to the branched configuration two or more blocks B are immediately adjacent to each other they are treated as a single block for purposes of molecular weight. The amount of polymer blocks A in the block copolymers preferably ranges from 10 to 70%w, particularly from 20 to 50%w. As examples of monovinyl aromatics suitable for the preparation of the polymer blocks in the present block copolymers may be mentioned styrene and alpha-methyl styrene. As conjugated dienes suitable for the preparation of the polymer blocks B in the present block copolymers, preferably dienes with from 4 to 8 carbon atoms per molecule are chosen, particularly butadiene and isoprene. Polymer blocks B may also be derived by the copolymerization of one or more conjugated dienes with one or more monovinyl aromatic compounds. The 1-alkenes useful for the preparation of either the thermoplastic blocks A or the elastomeric blocks B include 1-alkenes having from 2 to 12 carbon atoms per molecule, such as ethylene, propylene, butene-1, hexene-1 and octene-1.

Suitable examples of the block copolymers considered herein are as follows: polystyrene-polyisoprene-polystyrene, polystyrene-polybutadiene-polystyrene, polyethylene-(ethylene-propylene copolymer)-polyethylene, and their hydrogenated counterparts, particularly of the block copolymers containing diene homopolymer blocks.

The rubbers may be mixed with extender oils, such as nonvolatile petroleum oils.

Preferred proportions of rubber are between 1 to 25%w, preferably 3-10%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

These blends may contain additional ingredients, such as carbon black, etc.

Suitable peroxides are organic peroxides, preferably dicumyl peroxide, di-tertiary butyl peroxide and tertiary butyl hydroperoxide.

Preferred proportions of peroxide are between 0.5 and 5%w, preferably 1-3%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

Suitable volatile solvents are volatile petroleum oil fractions, such as kerosine. Preferred proportions are 5-30%w, preferably 10-20%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

In the present process the bitumen should thoroughly be mixed with the rubber, e.g. for 1-5 hours, and preferably prior to the addition of the peroxide. This mixing should take place at 120°-240° C., preferably 140°-180° C., so that the viscosity of the mixture is low enough to allow for efficient mixing. If desirable the bitumen can be partly cutback, e.g. with kerosine, to lower the viscosity of the mixture.

The peroxide is preferably added after a homogeneous or finely dispersed bitumen/rubber blend is obtained. Mixing is then continued, preferably at 120°-160° C., for a further 0.5-5 hours. Then the volatile solvent is added to produce a sprayable mixture, preferably sprayable at a temperature of 130°-160° C.

The cutbacks of this invention are particularly suitable for surface dressings on roads, but can also be used for other purposes, such as in the roofing and building industry and for hydraulic works.

EXAMPLES

1. 96%w distillation petroleum bitumen, penetration 200 (25° C., 0.1 mm, ASTM D-5-73) (200 kg) and 4%w polystyrene/polybutadiene/polystyrene block copolymer (mol. wt 16,200/137,600/16,200) were stirred at 160°-170° C. for 1.5 hours. The blend was cooled to 140° C. and 2%w dicumyl peroxide was then added in one lot. The mixture was stirred vigorously at 140° for a further 3 hours. To this mixture 15%w kerosine was added to produce a cutback having a viscosity of 80 cS at 150° C. and being easily sprayable by commercial road maintenance equipment at a pressure of 2.6 bar at 150°-160° C.

Road trials were carried out with this cutback at a site exposed to heavy turning traffic. The surface dressing prepared with this cutback cured with no skin formation and the chippings were retained.

2. Example 1 was repeated except that 1.5%w of the peroxide, a mixing time after adding the peroxide of 1.5 hours at 140° C. and 9%w kerosine were used to produce an easily sprayable cutback.

3. Example 2 was repeated except that 1.5%w di-t-butyl peroxide was used to produce a similar cutback.

4. Example 2 was repeated except that a branched polystyrene/polybutadiene block copolymer (mol. wt 20,000/75,000 per arm, polystyrene end block, 4 arms) was used. 5. A blend of 64%w propane bitumen and 36%w furfural extract of Bright Stock was prepared by mixing at 140° C. for 1 hour. 191.25 kg of the above blend were heated to 160° C. and 5 kg of the branched copolymer of Example 4 in a powder form were added slowly while being stirred with a high speed mixer. When a satisfactory dispersion had been achieved the temperature was lowered to 140° C. and 3.75 kg of dicumyl peroxide were added in increments over 5 minutes with continuous stirring. Samples taken at 1/2 hour intervals over 2 hours showed on microscopic examination to be essentially homogeneous. The resulting product was cooled to 120° C. and kerosine (19.8 kg) was added to achieve a suitable viscosity for spraying.

6. COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE


Example 1 was repeated except that no peroxide was used. The obtained cutback was a very coarse dispersion which caused blockage of spray jets and separation of the rubber phase on storage.

A surface dressing prepared with this cutback showed skin formation and quick loss of its chippings.

July 8, 2009

High Interest for Nigerian Bitumen Blocks


Sixteen investors from Nigeria, China, United States, Canada and South Africa, yesterday put in Expressions of Interest for the existing bitumen blocks in the country.

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke, while speaking in Abuja, at a news briefing on outcome of opening of bids at the end of a bidding round concluded last week, also promised that millions of jobs would be created from the bitumen industry when it is fully operational.
She said the companies were very pleased, because "that is quite a robust selection in terms of expression of interest.

Alison-Madueke said the next stage in the bidding process would be evaluation of documents during which they would select the credible ones, which will go forward and then would be invited to formally submit their bids for the blocks, adding that the entire bidding process should be completed by the end of this year.
She said,“we have put out three blocks as I said - Blocks A, B and C. Or we created three blocks. Block A is approximately 4,170 square kilometres, Block C is approximately 3,707 square kilometers. At this time, Block B has not been put forward. It will put forward at a later date.

She said the current bidding process began on June 1, 2009, and closed July 2, after the advertisement was placed in four national daily papers. THISDAY, Vanguard, PUNCH and Daily Trust, as well as the Financial Times of London.
“A whole deal of job opportunities are going to rise up around the entire bitumen bidding process,” Alison-Madueke said.

Millions of jobs in terms of employment generation, and poverty alleviation are going to be created the moment mobilisation starts for these blocks. The moment mobilisation starts, all sorts of service companies will crop up around the area of exploration and exploitation, he said.

Source- Thisday.com

July 4, 2009

Bitumen Shortage in Australia


THE road gang working on one of Western Australia's biggest construction projects, the $705 million Perth to Bunbury Highway, often laugh about how they were laying the 70km-long dual carriageway so fast they ran out of bitumen.

They aren't joking. A major upgrade to the Great Northern Highway, extensions to Wanneroo Road, north of Perth, and the creation of Indian Ocean Drive between Lancelin and Cervantes -- collectively worth hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars -- have broken productivity records, sparking a state-wide bitumen shortage.

Wally Lukiac, manager of WA Limestone, one of the contractors on the highway, said: "The guys have probably been through the phase where they pat themselves on the back in terms of achieving these wonderful production levels and then getting ahead of the supplier."

While this delayed work on the highway for three weeks in May, pushing the completion date back to early next month, the project is still about four months ahead of schedule.

But Western Australia's road-building program is far from complete. State and federal budgets allocated $1.37 billion this year to the main roads department for other projects.

More than two-thirds, or $793.4m, will be spent on country roads, including the Bunbury port access road and the Mandurah entrance road.

West Australian Transport Minister Simon O'Brien said: "The roads budget reflects the growth in WA's economy and is designed to meet community demand for improved road transport services."

Western Australia is embarking on its biggest infrastructure spending ever, with a major new Perth hospital, a second $1bn desalination plant and a number of schools, rail, port and other projects planned for construction.

For holidaymakers and southern coastal communities, the Perth to Bunbury highway is the main focus and the day it opens cannot come soon enough.

Residents living in Mandurah, a satellite city south of Perth better known for its bottlenecks than its holiday village atmosphere, can't wait for a reprieve from congested traffic during long weekends and school holidays.

And the thousands of Perth holidaymakers who flock "down south" to enjoy the famed wineries and beaches in Margaret River, Dunsborough and Yallingup will also benefit from a 45-minute reduction in the well-worn journey. Mandurah Mayor Paddi Creevey said the project had been in the planning since the 1970s, when the area was known for its retirees and fishing and had a population of about 3000.

The city's population has now swelled to 65,000 after families in search of a seachange took advantage of house-and-land packages on offer due to sprawling development.

"We've had population growth of around 5 per cent for many, many years and that rate of growth is still continuing," Ms Creevey said. Mr Lukiac said the bitumen shortage came as a surprise and affected the whole state.

"No one anticipated the ramp-up required for this particular project," Mr Lukiac said.

"There was a period of three to four weeks where things were being rationed, so right through the state people were being told they had to have a cap on how much bitumen they could have."

Workers on the project were forced to reduce their productivity, something they found difficult after working flat out since December 2006.

He said the highway was easily WA Limestone's biggest project ever but, with the job almost complete, the company was now concerned about the future.

"It's taken us through a period of incredibly high levels of activity," Mr Lukiac said.

"It's now finishing when that's completely changed. We're finishing this job when we would love to be starting ... we're busy trying to find work."

Source - The Australian

July 1, 2009

Another Bitumen Scam


RANCHI: The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday ordered for a CBI probe into the multi-crore bitumen scam and directed the agency to submit its inquiry
report within three months.

Hearing a PIL filed by Mohd Tahir, the division bench comprising Justice M Y Iqbal and Justice D K Sinha said the CBI would investigate the matter irrespective of the positions of those involved in the scam.

The court in its order said prima-facie it was of the view that the government was not serious about the matter which needed proper inquiry. Therefore, the court directs the CBI to investigate into the matter and submit its report within three months.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Rajiv Kumar during the hearing argued that ministers, secretaries, deputy secretaries and others are involved and they were the one who gave orders to subordinate officials.

Kumar referred to a letter written by state finance secretary which indicated that fake vouchers were prepared to show fake purchases. The finance department wrote to the road construction department saying the findings show largescale corruption.

The court expressed concern over large number of PILs filed.

"The PILs indicate that Jharkhand is flooded with different types of scams. It appears that large scale embezzlement and bungling of funds have been done in procurement of bitumen," the court said.

The court said the petition indicates that the chief engineer had found various irregularities in procurement of bitumen and observed that public money had been siphoned off. The counter-affidavit filed and sworn by junior-most officers indicate no legal action has been initiated against anyone.

Earlier, Tahir in his petition claimed that the Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) of India and the Accountant General (AG) found serious irregularities in bitumen procurement which was not less than Rs 100 crore.

The PIL indicated contractors-engineers-politician nexus and said bitumen was procured on fake challans and on invoices of kerosene from several oil producing companies.
Source- Times of India