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 -