September 30, 2010

September 26, 2010

Bitumen: Viscosity Grading of Bitumen

Viscosity Grading of Bitumen

Grading of Bitumen, although various standards are in place, the property whether Penetration or Viscosity has to be determined for the effective selection of the material for construction of roads is discussed here.

The grading of bitumen through penetration test at 25°C was first adopted in the early Sixtees on Paving Bitumen, which was in practice till today . The key requirements for bitumen were the specific gravity, penetration, water content, flash point, softening point, ductility, loss on heating
test and solubility in trichloroethylene. Bitumen conforming to this standard was performing well , when construction specifications like surface dressing and premix carpet were largely in practice. With the increased use of designed dense mixes, increased traffic volume and loading, higher road user's expectations and changes in crude quality, was felt essential lately . Hence new standards were developed like penetration ratio, paraffin wax, Frass breaking point, Loss on heating by Thin Film Oven Test (TFOT) and absolute viscosity at 60°C and 135°C were introduced.

Penetration ratio is an indicative test for temperature susceptibility, while the wax content in excess of 5% is considered harmful as it produces tender mixes due to the lowering of viscosity at 60°C. Refineries are generally producing only two grades of bitumen viz 80/100 and 60/70 penetration grades. The specified values of viscosity for these two grades of bitumen are minimum 750 and 1500 Poise respectively, which are not considered adequate to control rutting at high pavement temperatures (say, 60-70°C). Therefore, viscosity based specifications were extensively deliberated by experts in the BIS forums and ultimately decided to switch over from Penetration based grading system to Viscosity based grading system .

The revised grading system is yet to be implemented both by manufactures and by highway construction industry , though the choice of viscosity grades is simple since the following criterion of equivalency holds good .

Advantages of Viscosity Grading Concept

• Viscosity is fundamental property; testing is independent of test system and sample size
• Viscosity is tested at 60°C which is regarded as maximum pavement temperature in summer
• Temperature susceptibility can be controlled by viscosity test results at 60 and 135°C.

However, all said, refineries are mostly producing / specifying in terms or Penetration grades till now.


September 25, 2010

Cationic Emulsions, Quality Asphalt Emulsions, Asphalt Emulsions Suppliers - BenzeneInternational

Cationic Emulsions, Quality Asphalt Emulsions, Asphalt Emulsions Suppliers - BenzeneInternational

Cationic Emulsions, Quality Asphalt Emulsions, Asphalt Emulsions Suppliers - BenzeneInternational
Cutback Bitumens, Liquid Bitumen - BenzeneInternational

Cutback Bitumens, Liquid Bitumen - BenzeneInternational

Cutback Bitumens, Liquid Bitumen - BenzeneInternational
Oxidized Bitumen, Blown Bitumen, Oxidized Asphalt, Blown Asphalt - BenzeneInternational

Oxidized Bitumen, Blown Bitumen, Oxidized Asphalt, Blown Asphalt - BenzeneInternational

Oxidized Bitumen, Blown Bitumen, Oxidized Asphalt, Blown Asphalt - BenzeneInternational

Oxidized Bitumen, Blown Bitumen, Oxidized Asphalt, Blown Asphalt - BenzeneInternational

Oxidized Bitumen, Blown Bitumen, Oxidized Asphalt, Blown Asphalt - BenzeneInternational
Base Oil, Base Oil SN 150 SN500 - BenzeneInternational

Base Oil, Base Oil SN 150 SN500 - BenzeneInternational

Base Oil, Base Oil SN 150 SN500 - BenzeneInternational

September 22, 2010

Penetration Grade Bitumen, Bitumen Performance - Your Trusted Partner for Generations

Penetration Grade Bitumen, Bitumen Performance - Your Trusted Partner for Generations
Bitumen, Bitumen Services, Bitumen Storage, Bitumen Supplier - BenzeneInternational

Bitumen, Bitumen Services, Bitumen Storage, Bitumen Supplier - BenzeneInternational

Bitumen, Bitumen Services, Bitumen Storage, Bitumen Supplier - BenzeneInternational

Bitumen Plant

Saratov region-based firm RBP intends to invest $48.6m building a plant to produce bitumen and polymer roofing and water-proof materials and mastic in Saratov region, news agency RIA Novosti reports.

The plant is reportedly to be located on a 6.8-hectare land site near the village of Dubki outside the city of Saratov.

The plant is scheduled to be put into commission in Summer 2011.

Source -

August 12, 2010

Another Bitumen Scam

A TOOLERN Vale couple are $4000 out of pocket after becoming the latest Melton shire victims of a bitumen scam.

Pensioners Anne Davies, 76, and husband Fred, 75, handed over the money to road workers who offered to lay bitumen on the couple’s driveway with materials “left over from a larger job” in Coburns Rd.

Mrs Davies claims the crew worked for no longer than 90 minutes on her Diggers Rest-Coimadai Rd property, laying asphalt that is already weed-ravaged and has begun to wash away.

Last month, Leader reported the same group demanded $6750 from an Exford couple, who refused to pay after a shoddy resurfacing job on their driveway.

Mrs Davies said the workers originally asked for $4750 in cash, but reduced the price to $4000 as an “act of goodwill”.

She withdrew $3000 from her bank account and borrowed $1000 on a credit card to pay the crew.

The couple were later forced to borrow $1000 from their son and $250 from their daughter to repay the credit card debt and interest.

The scammers issued Mrs Davies with a written receipt that had no business name, ABN number or contact details on it.

Mrs Davies, who was visibly emotional, said she was “shocked” upon learning how much the work had cost. “I kept going out and saying how much is this going to cost, and they just kept saying no worries, no worries, we’ll be right, we’ll see you right,” she said.

“They were very encouraging, like they were going to do it cheap or something.”

Mrs Davies said the group of four men appeared professional with fluoro vests and a large truck. “They seemed genuine and I trust anybody, I’m just that kind of person,” she said.

“I wouldn’t dream of conning people like that, I’d rather give them the money if they needed it.

“It makes me cry just thinking about it.”

Mrs Davies said the group’s leader was named Jamie and had an English accent, while one of the workers called Terry had an Irish accent.

Anyone approached by rogue tradesmen is urged to take down as much information as possible about them and report it to police and Consumer Affairs on 1300 558 181.

Source -

Figure 1: Geological setting of the bitumen clast in the Al Khlata Formation, upper Carboniferous, Oman.
Crustaceans from bitumen clast in Carboniferous glacial diamictite extend fossil record of copepods
Paul A. Selden,Rony Huys,Michael H. Stephenson,Alan P. Heward& Paul N. Taylor
Journal name:
Nature Communications
1,Article number:50
back to article
Figure 1: Geological setting of the bitumen clast in the Al Khlata Formation, upper Carboniferous, Oman.
(a) The bitumen clast in situ in Al Khlata Formation diamictite. (b) Location map of the Sultanate of Oman showing the bitumen clast locality (Wadi Al Khlata) in relation to the outcrop and subsurface extent of the Al Khlata, the likely source of the bitumen in the Thuraya area, and the ice flow direction as evidenced by glacially striated pavements. (c) Diagram showing our interpretation of the origin of the bitumen clast and its crustacean fragments. (d) Stratigraphy of the Al Khlata Formation showing the relative age of the deposits containing the bitumen clast. (e) Gas chromatogram of the solvent-soluble fraction of the bitumen clast. The chromatogram is unusual for a surface petroleum sample, as it contains a series of apparently unaltered n-alkanes in the range of nC7 to nC27. Biodegradation of surface oil seeps normally removes some or all of the n-alkanes present60. The relatively high abundance of biomarker compounds eluting between 4,000 and 5,000 s is indicative of mixing of at least two oil charges from Huqf source rocks. Thermal maturity of the bitumen, estimated from molecular distributions of biomarker compounds and from bitumen reflectance analysis, suggests relatively low thermal maturity of the high-molecular-weight fraction (equivalent approximately 0.6% vitrinite reflectance).

July 28, 2010

Oxidized Bitumen Process


Oxidized Bitumen has a wide variety of industrial applications Roof Felts i.e., Water Proofing for Roof & Floors, Anti Rust Pipe Coating, Anti Slip Layer Compound for Piling, Sound Dampening Felts, Under Carriage Sealant and Coats in the Automotives, Electrical Cable Joint Protection (Fillers), Joint Filling Compounds, Sealants, Bituminous Marine Mastic for the Oil & Gas Industry and many more in our day to day life.

Technical Advantages

Water Resistant
Chemical Stability

Manufacturing Method

Oxidized Bitumen is produced by either Continuous or Staggered Blowing Process. Heated Penetration Grade Bitumen up to 300 deg C under controlled environment is blown with air in the Chimney / Tower. This process removes the Oil Content in the Bitumen and it is oxidized. Fuel oil is added to the process to make the penetration higher, if it is required to do so.

The oxidized bitumen, still at higher temperature, to be handled carefully and packed into Bags or drums as required. The associated safety and work place hazards need to be handled efficiently.
The different grades for suited applications produced are designated by two numbers to indicate the mid-points of their softening point and penetration ranges.

Manufacturing Process

Chemicals are added in order to decrease the time for the reaction time for blowing which shall have better control over the blowing conditions to produce different grades of Oxidized Bitumen with low capital investment.

Blowing is preferably done from the bottom of the Chimney/ Tower and the Temperature can be controlled by Water Jacketing.


While using distilled Used Oil or Crude Oil for the production of 90/10, 85/25 grades to the tune of 25 percent, care shall be taken the injection of oil shall be free from water to eliminate any explosive reactions during the process.

Dry and Harder Grades

Other grades are produced without adding Oil and the finished product will have near to Zero Penetration is predominantly used in Asia.

Process Control

Capacity of the Tower to be limited to not more than 75 percent as the volume increases with rise in temperature during the process. Injection will take place around 230 degrees.

Tower Temperature shall not exceed 290 degrees as the reaction will get critical leading to explosion.

Oxidation is done when the Admixture enters from the top of the tower and the bitumen at the bottom sprayed through the nozzle at an optimal temperature of 270 degree Celsius. Sampling from the tower has to be analyzed to determine the end point of blowing and the required properties of the final product.

Waste and Recovery

Gas and steam produced in the process shall be circulated through the condenser and separated. Minor amounts of furnace oil shall be recovered which can be reused to hear the furnaces.


Packing is done when the final product temperature brought down to 160 degrees in bags with Moulds or in steel drum before it cools down to room temperature and become solid.

Oxidized Bitumen

July 21, 2010

Oilsands- Koreans Teams up

By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald July 21, 2010 2:04 AM

A $7-billion-a-year Korean construction firm has been contracted by Korea's state oil company to build an oilsands project in northern Alberta, a first for both companies.

GS Engineering & Construction Corp., which builds oil, gas and petrochemical plants, as well as buildings, roads, bridges and harbours around the world, has been awarded the $300-million contract to build the 10,000-barrel-a-day BlackGold Phase 1 project by Korea National Oil Corp.

Regulatory approval for the steam-assisted gravity drainage facility, estimated to cost a total of $400 million to $450 million, was received last year and the company recently filed the paperwork for a 20,000 bpd expansion.

The deal is part of continuing trend by Asian companies to invest in the oilsands to ensure their future energy needs, although there is no current direct bitumen conduit from Alberta to Asia.

KNOC has said it aims to double its worldwide production to 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2012 -- Korea is the seventh largest oil consumer in the world at 2.3 million barrels a day and the fifth largest oil importer.

The BlackGold facility is expected to produce first bitumen by late 2012 or early 2013, and will be operated by Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust, which KNOC bought for $1.7 billion in December.

"We've been looking at it and now we feel comfortable proceeding with that project," said John Zahary, Harvest president and CEO, adding the technology will be classic SAGD, where steam is injected into the formation with a horizontal well to melt the heavy, sticky oil, which is collected in a second horizontal well.

It's expected to have an average steam-oil ratio of around 3-1, similar to other in situ thermal projects in the area south of Fort McMurray.

The company has not decided whether to use pipeline or truck to get the product to market. "There are number of different options," said Zahary. There is no plan to upgrade the bitumen in-house.

Services sector analyst Jeff Fetterly of CIBC World Markets said the introduction of foreign players in oilsands construction creates an "interesting dynamic" as the pace of resource development heats up in northern Alberta.

"The sense I get and the feedback I get talking to most of the service companies leveraged to the maintenance side or the construction side of the business is there will probably be more than enough work to go around for everyone," he said. "There is a lot of specialist knowledge in terms of understanding where you're developing this project and the region you're working in where the domestic companies are at an advantage, but it's also a function of what the capacity is going to look like."

He pointed out that a foreign general contractor will likely dole out hands-on work to local companies.

But Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said there's no guarantee the project will create jobs for Albertans, adding that unions in Korea have criticized GS's safety record.

"This may end up being the worst of all worlds for Albertans," he said. "We face the prospect of losing jobs in both construction and upgrading if this project is allowed to proceed."

On its website, GS lists one North American office, in Houston, and 10 in Asia and the Middle East, including two in China. It says it had record revenue and earnings in its last fiscal year, generating 569 billion won ($492 million) in operating profits on revenues of 7.8 trillion won ($7 billion).

KNOC acquired the Black-Gold leases in August 2006.

Other Asian stakes in the oilsands are held by Chinese and Japanese interests.

China Investment Corp. has a 45 per cent stake in Penn West's Peace River oilsands assets, Petro China has invested $1.9 billion in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., Sinopec has a 50 per cent interest in the Northern Lights oilsands project and recently bought a nine per cent stake in Syncrude Canada, while China National Off - shore Oil Corp. has a 16.7 per cent interest in privately held oilsands developer MEG Energy.

Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd., owned by a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company, applied in April to expand its 8,000-barrels-a-day pilot SAGD oilsands project at Hangingstone by 35,000 bpd.

Read more:

July 7, 2010

1Benzene International Pte Ltd, Singapore in The Business Times_29 June 2010

Benzene International Pte Ltd- Corporate

Benzene International Pte Ltd, as quoted in the Spring Singapore, a Government Agency website - Coutesy, The Business Times, dated June 29 2010,-come-opportunities-20100629.aspx

June 14, 2010

New Technology

India is going to adopt new technology in construction of roads, which will prevent potholes, waterlogging, reduce carbon footprint associated with reconstructing normal bitumen roads and providing road users with a more durable roads and highway resulting in less traffic disruption. More and more cities and highway authorities in India will be benefited from Germany-based company, products of German bitumen foam and bitumen stabilised paving recycling technologies, which conserve energy, reduce the demand for new materials and produce a more durable road surface. This technology ensures longevity, smoothness and pothole free surfaces of roads for a period of more than almost 10 to 15 years.

This unique technology involves crushing the existing road paving material and then combining it with an emulsion or foam of bitumen suspended in water together with a small amount of cement or lime. The bitumen acts as a flexible binding agent and band together the crushed particles. It also limits the access of water into the road base since the hydrophobic nature of bitumen inhibits water entering a layer of well-compacted material. The compaction, uniform thickness and smoothness of road will be making sure from special type of mechanical pavers. Water entering the road base is a major factor in causing roads to deteriorate, particularly in all parts of India that are subject to hot wet summers and freezing winters.

The results deriving from applied research efforts primarily in South Africa, the Netherlands, China, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America suggest that the energy consumption associated with relaying a road can be reduced by a factor of up to three compared to older and more conventional technologies. In addition, the greater durability of roads lay with this technique further reduces the expense and energy consumption associated with road repairs. The technology is being applied in developed countries and is reporting cost savings and savings in carbon emissions in the order of 30 per cent. Over all benefits is reduced disruption to traffic due to faster turn around.

In India, main problem is drainage system along roadside. However, civil engineers are working on this problem by creating slope along roads. Water can be able to percolate through storm water drains. Problem doesn't end here. What we need is timely de-silting of drains and best way to introduce rainwater harvesting system along roadsides will defeat all aims. In usual practice of normal bitumen roads, the life of road is average five years and later it needs fresh coat of bitumen, which increase height of road and decrease height of footpath. Due to change of climate in some parts of India, normal bitumen roads are failing frequently. The need of the hour is German Foam Technology, which have unique design methods and roads will prove more economical in the end as they last longer while it may be costlier.


April 22, 2010

Bitumen Grade - Scam Again in the Variation

After the fake bill scam, the Building and Roadways department of the Municipal Corporation is once again in the thick of controversy. This time, the row is over the construction of the Ferozepur Road for which the MC paid nearly Rs 22.5 lakh extra to two contractors while settling the rates of bitumen used for road metalling.

In an inquiry conducted by MC Joint Commissioner M S Jaggi following a complaint from one Kuldeep Singh Khaira from the Vigilant Citizen Forum, it was found that extra payment of Rs 22.5 lakh was made to the contractor. The complaint was filed on March 8.

A road from the Jagraon bridge till Sidhwan Canal was built at a total cost of Rs 4.48 crore. The contract was given to the DM Constructions and Kabir Constructions.

The probe report said, two grades of bitumen — 60/70 and 80/100— were used for the construction, for which the basic rate fixed at the time of awarding the contract was Rs 25,507 and Rs 23,738, respectively. According to a clause in the contract, at the time of construction, the MC would have to pay the rate difference if the market rate was higher or deduct payment if it went down.


April 16, 2010

China Wants More Bitumen

Ottawa says it will use its regulatory power to stop Chinese state-controlled Sinopec from exporting raw oil sands bitumen and refining it abroad to take advantage of looser climate-change rules.

Sinopec – China's largest refiner – has agreed to pay $4.65-billion (U.S.) to acquire ConocoPhillips' 9-per-cent stake in the Syncrude oil sands project. Under the Syncrude partnership agreement, the seven owners each receive a portion of production to be marketed as they see fit.

But the Harper government vowed during the 2008 election campaign that it would prevent any company from exporting raw bitumen – unprocessed oil from the oil sands – for upgrading elsewhere in order to capitalize on lower greenhouse gas emission rules. Yesterday, the government stood by that promise.

“The government is committed to implementing our campaign pledge,” said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman in the Prime Minister's Office.

It remains unclear how the government would enforce such a policy, particularly in light of a plan by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. to build a pipeline to the West Coast to facilitate bitumen exports to the Pacific Rim. One possibility would be to impose an export tariff on bitumen shipments to countries with weaker environmental standards.

The issue is one of several that could arise as Ottawa gets set to review Sinopec's proposed acquisition, which triggers a foreign investment review because the ConocoPhillips shares are held in a separate corporation.

Ottawa must also determine that Sinopec, a major player in China's drive for energy security, will run its Canadian operations on a commercial basis.

That includes with regard to where it exports and where it processes raw materials. It has approved acquisitions by other Chinese state-controlled companies under similar rules.

In the House of Commons yesterday, New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen accused the Harper government of flip-flopping on its election pledge.

“The Prime Minister is breaking his own fundamental promise not to export raw bitumen to countries with lower environmental standards. He is exporting raw resources and Canadian jobs,” Mr. Cullen said.

The government has responded that the Sinopec deal will be subject to Investment Canada review to ensure it is of net benefit to Canada, including a review of its state-owned status.

In the short term, Sinopec has little opportunity to sell its share of Syncrude production outside Canada or the U.S., since there is only modest pipeline capacity to the West Coast.

Analysts say Enbridge's proposal pipeline to Kitimat, B.C. would open up new markets, and serves as a major drawing card for Chinese and other prospective Asian investors in the oil sands.

While Chinese firms have a strategic interest in refining crude in their home market, current oil sands producers are increasingly opting to upgrade in the U.S. rather than Canada in the expectation of higher profits from that strategy.

New Jersey-based analyst Paul Ting said Sinopec, PetroChina and China National Offshore Oil Corp. are central players in Beijing's drive for energy security.

Al three companies have undertaken massive expansion of their refining capacity in China and are scouring the world for crude supplies to feed those plants, while also increasing imports of refined petroleum products, Mr. Ting noted.

The former senior oil analyst at UBS Securities said China is increasingly worried about security of its energy imports, which are fuelling the country's dramatic growth and improvement in living standards.

“They want to get oil any way they can, whether it is crude or [refined] product,” he said. “I think what you see in the oil sands is an extension of their strategy – they've bought a lot of reserves recently and expanded their refining capacity.”

Proponents of Chinese investment in the oil sands say Sinopec and state-controlled PetroChina now operate much like any other multinational oil company, selling their oil into whatever market provides the best return. Both companies have significant public share ownership, and trade in Hong Kong and New York.

Wenran Jiang, a China expert at University of Alberta, said Sinopec is more interested in earning a profit from the Syncrude investment than shipping the crude to China. As Asia's biggest refiner, Sinopec is particularly vulnerable to rising crude prices, and the investment in crude production allows the company to offset the squeeze on refineries by earning profits when crude prices rise.

“It won't surprise me if Chinese come in with bigger investments,” Mr. Jiang said. “The question is, how the Canadians receive them, rather than whether the Chinese will come.”

By Shawn McCarthy
Source -

April 8, 2010

Bitumen Emulsions


When asphalt is milled into microscopic particles and dispersed in water with a chemical emulsifier, it becomes an asphalt emulsion. The tiny droplets of asphalt remain uniformly suspended until the emulsion is used for its intended purpose. In the emulsion state, the emulsifier molecules orient themselves in and around droplets of asphalt. The chemistry of the emulsifier/asphalt/water system determines the dispersion and the stability of the suspension. When emulsions are used in the field, the water evaporates into the atmosphere, and the chemical emulsifier is retained with the asphalt.

Emulsions were first developed in the early 1900s. It was in the 1920s when emulsions came into general use in pavement applications. Their early use was in spray applications and as dust palliatives. The growth in the use of asphalt emulsions was relatively slow, limited by the type of emulsions available and a lack of knowledge as to how they should be used. Continuing development of new types and grades, coupled with improved construction equipment and practices, now gives a broad range of choices. Virtually any roadway requirement can be met with emulsions. Judicious selection and use can yield significant economic and environmental benefits.Emulsions are less hazardous to use and can be applied in a wider range of conditions.

An asphalt emulsion consists of three basic ingredients: asphalt, water, and an emulsifying agent. On some occasions, the emulsion may contain other additives, such as stabilizers, coating improvers, anti-strips, or break control agents. It is well known that water and asphalt will not mix, except under carefully controlled conditions using highly specialized equipment and chemical additives. The blending of asphalt and water is the same as an auto mechanic trying to wash grease from his hands with only water. Only with a detergent or soapy agent can grease be successfully removed. The soap particles surround the globules of grease, break the surface tension that holds them, and allow them to be washed away.

Anionic, non-ionic and cationic emulsifiers are all available, which will successfully emulsify bitumen and provide storage stable emulsions. Cationic emulsifiers offer additional advantages, which arise from the fact that most naturally occurring aggregates are negatively-charged in aqueous media, and have a capacity to absorb cationic emulsifiers. Choice of emulsifier type, and emulsion formulation enables the rate of breaking of the emulsion to be controlled. The emulsifiers remain in the cured seal and are concentrated at the interface between bitumen and aggregate and act as antis tripping agents.

This is a test Post from

Bitumen Emulsions


When asphalt is milled into microscopic particles and dispersed in water with a chemical emulsifier, it becomes an asphalt emulsion. The tiny droplets of asphalt remain uniformly suspended until the emulsion is used for its intended purpose. In the emulsion state, the emulsifier molecules orient themselves in and around droplets of asphalt. The chemistry of the emulsifier/asphalt/water system determines the dispersion and the stability of the suspension. When emulsions are used in the field, the water evaporates into the atmosphere, and the chemical emulsifier is retained with the asphalt.

Emulsions were first developed in the early 1900s. It was in the 1920s when emulsions came into general use in pavement applications. Their early use was in spray applications and as dust palliatives. The growth in the use of asphalt emulsions was relatively slow, limited by the type of emulsions available and a lack of knowledge as to how they should be used. Continuing development of new types and grades, coupled with improved construction equipment and practices, now gives a broad range of choices. Virtually any roadway requirement can be met with emulsions. Judicious selection and use can yield significant economic and environmental benefits.Emulsions are less hazardous to use and can be applied in a wider range of conditions.

An asphalt emulsion consists of three basic ingredients: asphalt, water, and an emulsifying agent. On some occasions, the emulsion may contain other additives, such as stabilizers, coating improvers, anti-strips, or break control agents. It is well known that water and asphalt will not mix, except under carefully controlled conditions using highly specialized equipment and chemical additives. The blending of asphalt and water is the same as an auto mechanic trying to wash grease from his hands with only water. Only with a detergent or soapy agent can grease be successfully removed. The soap particles surround the globules of grease, break the surface tension that holds them, and allow them to be washed away.

Anionic, non-ionic and cationic emulsifiers are all available, which will successfully emulsify bitumen and provide storage stable emulsions. Cationic emulsifiers offer additional advantages, which arise from the fact that most naturally occurring aggregates are negatively-charged in aqueous media, and have a capacity to absorb cationic emulsifiers. Choice of emulsifier type, and emulsion formulation enables the rate of breaking of the emulsion to be controlled. The emulsifiers remain in the cured seal and are concentrated at the interface between bitumen and aggregate and act as antis tripping agents.

This is a test Post from

April 5, 2010

Russian Demand for Bitumen Slides

TNK-BP plans increasing by 20% its domestic sales of bitumen in 2010, in accordance with the company’s strategy of reaching the end consumer and following the road building sector recovery forecasts.

Road builders and the construction industry are the main consumers of bitumen of TNK-BP. The shipments are executed by a network of official distributors in more than thirty regions of Russia.

“Our strategy targets the needs of the end consumer. Due to the use of specially equipped trucks TNK-BP can guarantee that the quality of the product is preserved during the whole delivery process from the refinery to the end consumer”, Eldar Verdiev, Bitumen Performance Unit Leader, said.

TNK-BP developed and introduced custom—made standards of health, safety and environment for trucks used by its distributors compliant with quality preservation requirements. This allows road transportations of bitumen to distances exceeding 1000km with minimal temperature losses.

In 2009, TNK-BP became the biggest seller of bitumen in Russia despite reduced demand in the road building sector and despite a general slide by 30% in the bitumen production industry. In 2009, the volume of bitumen sales of TNK-BP amounted to 824,000 tons, decreasing by 24% as compared to 2008 and representing 28% of the total domestic sales of bitumen. In 2009 we started to manufacture a new bitumen product BV 50/70 compliant with European quality standards and launched a new bitumen loading rack at the Yaroslavl refinery (owned on parity basis by TNK-BP and Gazprom neft).

TNK-BP owns modern bitumen trucks designed to meet all international safety requirements and quality preservation standards. As of 2009, the number of bitumen trucks of TNK-BP amounted to 230, of which 90 vehicles are owned by the company’s official distributors.

TNK-BP is Russia’s third largest oil company, 50% owned by BP and 50% owned by the AAR Consortium (Alfa Group, Access Industries and Renova). TNK-BP also owns close to 50% of another Russian oil and gas company, Slavneft. TNK-BP accounts for approximately 16% of Russia’s production (including its share of Slavneft). SEC proved reserves (life of field basis) were 8.586 billion boe as of December 31, 2009.


April 1, 2010

Plastic Roads in Hyderabad

Plastic roads have made a foray in the city, with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) laying out a plastic-bitumen stretch at NGO’s Colony in the BN Reddy Nagar locality of LB Nagar.

On an experimental basis, the GHMC went in for more stretches, costing about Rs 20 lakh, with the help of the Bangalore-based KK Plastic Waste Management Ltd (KKPWM) a few days ago.

The company has developed patented technology that turns plastic waste into a polyblend that can be used in roadlaying. The Indian Road Congress (IRC) and the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) have validated the technology.

Similar plastic-bitumen roads will be laid shortly near the camp office of the Chief Minister, at Begumpet and the Necklace Road-NTR Marg stretch.

More such roads are in the offing as they are water-resistant and, unlike BT roads, do not bleed during summer.

Whereas BT roads are susceptible to extensive monsoon damage, plastic roads have proved resilient, GHMC officials told Express.

Not only have such roads in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai withstood the vagaries of weather, they do not have the slightest pitting.

Plastic, they further said, reduces environmental pollution besides doubling road durability. It also enhances the binding capacity of bitumen which enables the roads to bear higher loads, thereby decreasing fatigue and enhancing road life.

For every kilometre of road, around two tonnes of plastic is required. The cost of the road thus increases marginally but is compensated by the durability and eco-friendly attributes.

The process starts with the shredding of waste plastic which is then mixed with hot bitumen and other additives to form aggregates.

The final step involves carpeting, as in the case of usual roads. Since the plastic is only shredded, and not burnt, the process eliminates chances of release of toxic gases into the atmosphere


March 27, 2010

Bitumen Supply Challenges

Tight deadline and many challenges, Esorfranki Civils was working around the clock to ensure that the stretch of the R21 highway between Pomona road and the R24 split, in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, would be ready before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Senior site agent for the project Morné Barnard said during a site visit on Friday that this section of work near the OR Tambo International Airport had to be completed by May 28, before the World Cup starts on June 11.

This formed part of the work package J of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), which Esorfranki Civils was responsible for.

The highway was being widened to four lanes on each side, while a number of bridges had to be lengthened and refurbished and some pedestrian bridges removed.

Barnard highlighted that the supply of bitumen was one of the greatest challenges it was facing at present.

Despite placing orders for bitumen two to three weeks ahead of time, not enough supply was coming through, as many of the oil refineries that supplied the bitumen were undertaking maintenance shutdowns for the World Cup period.

He noted that while about 1 000 t/d of bitumen was required by the road construction industry, only about 30 t/d to 70 t/d was currently being delivered.

Barnard said that it had informed the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) of the potential delays that this could cause.

It would meet with Sanral again next week regarding this matter.

Esorfranki also noted that another challenge was the electrical cabling that had to go underneath this stretch of road, while nearby reservoirs that were leaking were also hampering the project.

Meanwhile, Barnard said that the heavy rains experienced in the Kempton Park area during January had delayed the overall work package J project by about two months.

While the area usually got about 136 mm of rain in January, about 400 mm of rain had been recorded in January this year.

The entire project, which involved the 12 km between the Pomona road off-ramp and the Rietfontein interchange, would be completed by April 2011.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb

March 23, 2010

Recycling of Roads in Singapore- The LTA Way

IN FUTURE, some roads here will be made of materials recycled from old roads that have been torn up.

Yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) relaxed its requirements to allow such material - such as recycled asphalt-pavement waste - to be used in road construction.

It did so after constructing a portion of Tampines Road with a mix of recycled materials and testing it successfully from March to August last year.

LTA found the road's riding quality, structural performance and environmental impact to be the same as those of conventional roads made from bitumen and natural-granite aggregates.

Mr Lim Bok Ngam, LTA's deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development, said that with such recycled- waste products, "we can reduce our reliance on natural imported construction materials".

Yesterday, to encourage the adoption of such sustainable construction materials, the Building and Construction Authority launched a $15-million Sustainable Construction Capability Development Fund, which will give grants to contractors who use the materials.

They include recycled concrete aggregate, and are cheaper than natural alternatives.

The push to use alternative building materials stems from previous sand bans in January 2007 and last May, when Indonesia and Cambodia, respectively, cut off sand exports to Singapore.

Launching the fund yesterday, Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development, said she hoped that it would reduce the demand for natural construction materials.


March 18, 2010

Kenya produce no bitumen but imports

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan oil firm KenolKobil is importing 80,000 metric tonnes of crude oil at a cost of $55 million to cover shortfalls in regional bitumen and fuel oil supplies, it said on Wednesday.
The cargo, which is expected to dock in the Kenyan port of Mombasa early next month, is a private initiative outside of the east African nation's Open Tender System where marketers compete to import crude on behalf of the entire industry.

"Since mid-2009, there has been no bitumen production in the country, and marketers have been forced to import expensive stocks to feed the local market," KenolKobil said in a statement.

"Supplies of some fuel oil grades have also been insufficient, thus affecting some major consumers' operations and forcing them to turn to more costly energy sources."

KenolKobil's cargo of Arab Medium crude will be in addition to a total of 160,000 metric tonnes being imported in April through the tender system, the firm said.

The company operates in several markets in Africa.

Source- Reuteurs..

Change in Price and As usual Irregularities on Bitumen

After an alleged scam in the construction of the stretch from Jagraon bridge to Ferozepur road was unearthed, the municipal authorities got into action mode, marking an inquiry into the matter.

Municipal commissioner A K Sinha has asked joint commissioner M S Jaggi to carry out the probe into the alleged irregularities and submit his report by Monday.

The matter came to light when city-based RTI activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira had sought information regarding payments made for construction of a road from Jagraon Bridge to Ferozepur Road. The information gathered reportedly revealed that the project had led to substantial losses of Rs 6,09,958.59 to the state exchequer.

“An inquiry has been marked and only after I check the records will things become clear,” said Jaggi.

Hailing the probe, Khaira urged authorities to conduct it in an unbiased and impartial manner. “The guilty must be punished,” he added.

Khaira had alleged that municipal officials had called tenders on the basis of Rs 25,507.74 per metric tonne of 60/70 grade bitumen and Rs 23,738.39 per metric tonne of 80/100 grade bitumen from Panipat Refinery.

However, the RTI reply revealed that there were large-scale irregularities in payment, which led to huge losses to the exchequer.
The RTI information also revealed that Rs 69,38,480.20 in the name of difference in rate of bitumen had been made to contractors in relation to the bills prior to the period of issue of work-order.

Since Khaira had demanded a list of officials handling the construction work, the names revealed under RTI are former municipal commissioner G S Ghuman, director local bodies S K Sharma, assistant commissioner Vinod Sharda, XEN H C Salaria, SE Dharam Singh, SDOs Kulwant Singh, Jarnail Singh, V B Khanna, Ranjit Singh, Vinod Anand and Vijay Khanna.

Source- Times of India

Turning Bitumen into Light Crude - at What Price ?

BP Plc will pick up a majority stake in ailing Canadian oil sands company Value Creation Inc, a property for which Reliance Industries too was said to be in race.

Earlier, it was reported that RIL had made a $2 billion bid for majority stake in Value Creation. Though, the company spokesperson declined to confirm if it had actually put in a bid.

Canada's oil sands has the largest crude reserves outside the Middle East.
The news comes within days of RIL's takeover bid for bankrupt chemical maker LyondellBassel being snubbed by its management.

RIL, flush with cash from sale of natural gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 field, was said to be in negotiations to buy a majority stake in Alberta-based oil sands minnow.

Value Creation is a privately-held company that owns 430 square miles of leases in the oil sands region of Alberta.

The largest block of leases, Terre de Grace, covers around 290 square miles in the western part of the Athabasca region. The company, which is reported to be in financial difficulties, also owns proprietary upgrading technologies to turn bitumen into refinery-ready light crudes.
London-based BP was said to have initially made a lower $1.2 billion bid but Value Creation did not disclose what was final acquisition price.

Value Creation said BP will make "significant capital contributions" to the Terre De Grace project, that lies about 300 miles north of Calgary, but any final price will be determined after further exploration and drilling defines the size of reserves on the property.

BP, which sold a half interest in its Kirby oil sands property to Devon Energy recently, also holds a half share in a oil sands and refining venture with Husky Energy.

The Terre de Grace property is expected to be developed with in-situ thermal technology, which pumps steam into the ground to liquefy deposits of tar-like bitumen so it can flow to the surface.

"This partnership blends a strong asset, world-class operator, high caliber talents and market security, besides financial stability," said Value Creation chief executive officer Columba Yeung in the statement.

The Terre de Grace field is expected to start production of oil in 2011 and has the potential to yield over 300,000 barrels of oil a day, Value Creation says on its Web site.
"This transaction provides Value Creation with a clean, debt-free balance sheet," the company statement said.

Value Creation retains 100 per cent control over its other significant oilsands leases (including the large Tristar block, south of Fort McMurray), Heartland Upgrader assets and patented proprietary technologies.

Soruce- Press Trust of India

March 10, 2010

Material or Workmanship?

Excitement over maintenance work on Owairaka's ring road is turning sour for one mountain user.

Auckland city councillor Cathy Casey says about six of the road's worst potholes were fixed, but within two days the bitumen had lifted.

The Mt Albert resident says she is curious to know what the criteria is for filling potholes on the "unsafe road".

"It's the worst feature on the mountain. It looked to me to be a very random allocation of fill.

"One pothole was filled, another not," she says.

"Is it bad workmanship or bad materials? What is the criteria for doing a job?

"This is what gives the council the reputation that we don't care about our maunga."

Council's park services manager Mark Bowater says because the extent of repair work was minor, the contractor used cold mix asphalt that unfortunately failed in two of the potholes.

He says although that has not happened in previous repairs, any additional pothole repair will now use hot asphalt.

"Sections of the Owairaka Domain ring road are deteriorating in condition, and are currently being planned and prioritised for more extensive replacement within the next two years," he says.

Council officers will report back to the council in April about whether it is feasible to allocate an $8 million budget for volcanic cone protection.

Currently $2.1m is budgeted for Maungawhau Mt Eden's development while the remaining 22 volcanic cones get $457,000.

The budget has also received attention from local iwi who recently signed an agreement that would give them ownership and co-management of natural features with Auckland's new council.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei trustee Ngarimu Blair says the current allocation reflects an imbalance between what is promised and what is spent.

"It is extremely worrying. We may be left with very little budget to do much. The remains of pa on the maunga are as important as Inca ruins or Stonehenge."

Mayor John Banks met locals last Saturday at Owairaka to get a better understanding of the problems.


Eight were Caught

The South African Competition Commission has referred seven companies and one trade association to a tribunal that will adjudicate on whether they colluded to fix prices for bitumen. However, the defendants say the agreement was designed to provide price stability and transparency.

The Commission opened its investigation in January last year when Sasol and its subsidiary Tosas - two of the companies named - applied for leniency in exchange for information about price fixing in the sector. The two companies have since been granted conditional immunity from prosecution, and the Commission is not seeking to fine them.

According to Sasol and the Commission, prices were fixed by Chevron, Engen, Masana Petroleum Solution, Sasol Shell, Total and Tosas through meetings held under the auspices of the South African Bitumen and Tar Association (SABITA).

However, a statement from SABITA said, "Under scrutiny is a matter that was initiated around 2001 with the intent to bring about a transparent mechanism that would deal with the rise and fall of the bitumen component in asphalt costs. As road building contracts could span lengthy periods, a mechanism was sought to minimise uncertainty of input costs, resulting largely from externalities such as crude costs and exchange rate fluctuations.

"Due to various parties not being able to reach agreement, this however was never implemented as intended. The intent of this initiative was to bring about a transparent mechanism between contractors and client bodies that would deal with input cost fluctuations and never to flout competition law."

However, a statement from the Commission said, "In its investigation the Commission found that the respondents engaged in collusive conduct from around 2000 until at least December 2009. The respondents collectively determined and agreed on pricing principles, including a starting reference price and monthly price adjustment mechanism."

The Commission has already agreed a fine of ZAR 13 million (US$ 1.76 million). It is asking the tribunal to fine Chevron, Engen, Shell, Total and SABITA 10% of their annual revenues.


March 9, 2010

New Projects Need More Bitumen

Cape Town - In recent years bitumen sales have risen sharply in response to greater demand, owing to the large infrastructure projects that the state has undertaken.

In 2008 bitumen sales rose 20.5% to 383 031 tons. Sales growth from 2005 to 2007 was 6%, 17.6% and 3.1% respectively. This followed a 4.4% slump in 2004, as reported by the Southern African Bitumen Association (Sabita).

Sabita is an industry body that represents bitumen suppliers and consumers, as well as consulting engineers.

Bitumen, one of the ingredients going into building a tar road, is in the news after the Competition Commission referred an investigation into price-fixing in the bitumen industry to the Competition Tribunal.

The Commission recommends a fine of 10% on the turnover of companies it believes guilty of price-fixing.

The companies concerned are Chevron, Engen, Shell and Total. Masana Petroleum has pleaded guilty and paid a fine of R13m. Sasol and Tosas applied for indemnity when at the beginning of last year they came clean to the commission.

This followed a comprehensive internal investigation by Sasol to expose all possible violations of competition legislation.

The oil company said its involvement in the alleged bitumen price-fixing had merely been of a technical nature and not secretive. It had been precisely at the request of bitumen consumers, such as road-building contractors.

Professor Don Ross, a guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town's economics department, who was doing research for Sabita, says in a report that bitumen represents a relatively small portion of total road-building costs.

At least 75% of the costs of building and maintaining a tar road is made up of wages, transport, machinery, measuring and paint.

Ross says 90% of the bitumen produced in South Africa is used in state-funded road-construction projects. In 2007 Sabita assured government that the refineries had sufficient capacity to meet the expected increased demand owing to the extensive infrastructure programmes in preparation for the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

Bitumen stocks can be increased by using more of the crude oil residue from the refining process. A certain percentage of this residue is used as heavy bunker fuel oil, among other things. Ross says bitumen production in South Africa has been stable for the past 10 years, despite severe fluctuations in the price of crude.



March 8, 2010

Shell Never Give Up to Fixing the Price.


In September 2006, the European Commission fined Shell $137m for their role in a cartel that fixed the price of bitumen. According to a report published in the Houston Chronicle, “the EU Commission said the company was an instigator, took the leadership in the cartel and was a repeat offender”. The report went on to state that “Shell’s fine was increased by 50 percent because of its involvement in previous cartels and another 50 percent for instigating and leading the cartel.” A BBC news report revealed that Shell has previously been fined by the EU Commission for price-fixing in other markets (PVC and propylene). An article in The Daily Mail stated that Shell’s fine was increased by lOpc for “obstructing the probe”. On 29 November 2006, it was reported that the European Commission was imposing “its second-largest cartel fine against Shell, Dow Chemical, ENI, Unipetrol and Trade-Stomil.” The fine was imposed for “fixing prices of synthetic rubber, used mainly in tyre production.” According to an article in The Times newspaper, “Shell’s fine, as well as ENI’s, was increased because it was a repeat offender.” All three of the featured quotations are from The Times article. According to a BBC News report, also published on 29 November 2006, Royal Dutch Shell Plc was fined 160.8 million euros. (EXTRACT from Wikipedia)

The fines apparently did not deter Shell from deliberately engaging in price fixing cartels despite all the false claims of integrity, honesty and transparency in the Shell Business Principles. Today we publish news of Shell’s participation in a further price fixing cartel…


March 5, 2010

Another Bitumen Scam-In Pakistan

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has been acquitted of corruption and misuse of authority charges by the Accountability Court.

Allowing the acquittal application during proceedings on Thursday, the court observed that given that no objections were raised by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) deputy prosecutor general as well as the attending circumstances of the case, there was no probability of the applicant being convicted, and hence, he has been acquitted of charges levelled against him.

Malik was accused of exerting his influence as additional director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in 1995 to favour his brother-in-law’s firm. “This is triumph of justice,” claimed the interior minister soon after the verdict was announced. He alleged that he was politically victimised by former senator and Ehtesab Bureau Chief Saifur Rehman, and criminal proceedings were initiated against him at Rehman’s behest.

According to the NAB reference, Malik had gotten 50,000 metric tons of asphalt/bitumen allocated for his brother-in-law Zaheer Ahmed Nasir, a managing director of NSR industries, from the ministry of petroleum and national resources at a very low rate. It was alleged that Malik was instrumental in obtaining the permit, and in allowing the transfer of the same to Afghanistan sans central excise duty and income tax.

NAB alleged that the private firm obtained asphalt without payment of central excise duty and other charges, which totalled Rs4,877,400, and the consignment was not sent to Afghanistan but it was sent to tribal areas for its ultimate sale in the local market.

The applicant’s counsel, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, submitted that the Supreme Court’s three-member bench, while dealing with the co-accused case, observed that there is no evidence that shows that the applicant committed any breach of trust as public servant. He said that the primary witness of the prosecution, G.A Sabri, had voluntarily exonerated the applicant from all allegations levelled in an affidavit.

The counsel submitted that the quota was allocated by the then-petroleum minister, who occupied a higher post and could not be under the influence of an additional director of the FIA. Ahmed said that a series of politically-motivated criminal cases were registered against the applicant, as he refused to become an approver against slain PPP chairperson, Benazir Bhutto.

Ahmed said that the applicant has nothing to do with the allocation of bitumen to NSR Industries, submitting that had there been any influence by the applicant, the price could have not been increased fromUS$105 to US$160 per metric ton.

He submitted that there is no likelihood of any conviction against the applicant, and further proceedings would be against the provision of justice and a sheer waste of time for the court. He prayed the court to acquit the applicant from the reference in the interest of justice.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Aslam Butt had also conceded before the court that no case is made out against the applicant and did not raise an objection on the application.

The Accountability Court, which had reserved the judgment after hearing the closing arguments on February 12, observed that there is no probability of conviction of the applicant in view of attending circumstances and no objection by the NAB deputy prosecutor general. Allowing the application, the court acquitted Rehman Malik of corruption and misuse charges.


The Annual Event of Price Fixing for Bitumen By Big Boys

Oil giants tarred for bitumen price-fixing - Sasol admits to collusion in return for conditional immunity from prosecution

Pls refer our previous posting where in Shell was fined by EU Authorities last year for the same reason more than 300 million Euros.. Still the colloboration takes place means, the money involved is much more than that..

The Competition Commission has referred its findings of price-fixing in the supply of bitumen by major oil companies to the Competition Tribunal, it said yesterday.

The companies include Chevron SA, Engen, Shell SA, Total SA, Masana Petroleum Solutions, the Southern African Bitumen Association, Sasol and Tosas. "Bitumen products are mainly used in road construction to tar and rehabilitate roads, which is mainly sold to government entities," the commission said.

The investigation was initiated on January 12 last year, following an application for leniency by Sasol and its subsidiary Tosas.

"In its application Sasol admitted that, together with its subsidiary, Tosas, it had colluded with its competitors and was granted conditional immunity from prosecution provided it co-operates with the commission in its investigation and prosecution."

Sasol yesterday said it regretted its contravention of competition law but said its involvement "was technical nature, not secretive".

The world's largest oil-from-coal producer said its competition law compliance review in January last year revealed initial concerns of non-compliance with competition laws relating to Sasol Oil.

The company's launch of the competition law compliance review was sparked by a fine of over R3-billion it had to pay for leading what the European Union dubbed a paraffin mafia in 2008.

The commission said it had asked the tribunal to impose an administrative penalty of 10% on each of the firms involved, except for Sasol and Tosas.

"Settlement terms have been agreed in principle with Masana whereby it admits guilt and will pay a penalty of R13-million.

"The settlement agreement will be referred to the tribunal for confirmation shortly."

The Commission found that the respondents engaged in collusive conduct from around 2000 until at least December 2009.

"The respondents collectively determined and agreed on pricing principles, including a starting reference price and monthly price adjustment mechanism.

"This was facilitated through meetings convened by Sabita, as well as through correspondence through Sabita and direct communication between oil companies."

The commission said the conduct resulted in final customers being charged prices which were not competitively determined.

Commissioner Shan Ramburuth said the uncovering of the cartel was "another important step in the commission's work in addressing anti-competitive conduct affecting infrastructure development".


March 2, 2010

DHL Transports Bitumen

DHL Supply Chain has been awarded a contract worth €33.6m over five years, by Petroplus, formerly known as BP Bitumen. The company will handle all order management, customer services and movements of bitumen at elevated temperatures, to quarries and asphalt manufacturing plants throughout the UK.

The contract was awarded to DHL following a nine year relationship. Under the terms of the renewed contract, DHL will be implementing a number of sustainability initiatives that have been tried and tested under the company's GoGreen strategy. These include a programme to reduce fleet fuel usage through:

•Reducing the speed limit on vehicles to 85kph and gear and valve resetting to match top speed
•Driving and vehicle examination training
•Maximizing load size to enable fewer deliveries
Many of the sustainability initiatives being implemented by DHL are also intended to yield significant cost savings; the mileage and fuel monitoring programme promises a €100,000 cut in fuel costs within just one year.

Peter Clement, UK Logistics and Supply Chain Manager for Petroplus said: "DHL has an exemplary track record in health and safety and the on-time delivery of goods to our customers. We're delighted that this commitment to our business is going to be extended to support our sustainability goals. DHL's proposed combination of technical innovation and behavioural change is exactly what we were looking for from a partner.


February 22, 2010

RIL in association with Lanka IOC

Sri Lanka- 75 per cent of Lanka IOC Plc's petrol and diesel demand for the first six months of the current fiscal has been met by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

“For the first six months, of the 300,000 tonnes of products imported almost 225,000 tonnes have come from RIL,” Mr K.R. Suresh Kumar, Managing Director, Lanka IOC, told Business Line.

“In 2008-09 we had imported 550,000 tonnes of products of which 30-40 per cent came from RIL. Sri Lanka has just one refinery (owned by Ceylon Petroleum) with a capacity of 2 million tonnes, and the demand is close to 4 million tonnes for all petroleum products. Thus, to meet the balance demand we had to import.”

Reliance operates two refineries in Jamnagar -- one with capacity of 33 million tonnes and the other of 27 million tonnes.

Declining to share the numbers at which Lanka IOC sources these products from RIL, he said, “Lanka IOC procures through a tendering process and RIL has bagged orders against tenders. It is at a very competitive price.”

Lanka IOC sells auto fuels through its 151 retail outlets with plans to add 20 during the current calendar year. On how much is the company's performance impacted by the volatility in international crude prices, he said, “The performance is affected. As there is not much of storage capacity in the country, we have to import more frequently resulting in high costs.”

The company can storage products for less than a month.

Besides, the company also incurs revenue loss on sale of petrol and diesel as the price is fixed by the Sri Lankan Government. “Though there is constant interaction between the Government and the companies the prices are not completely in sync with international prices,” he said.

Currently, petrol is sold at Sri Lankan Rs 115 a litre (Indian Rs 50 a litre) and diesel is sold for Sri Lankan Rs 73 a litre (Rs 30 a litre). The revenue loss on petrol is Sri Lankan Rs 8 a litre and on diesel is Sri Lankan Re 1 a litre.

The company has no plans to enter the cooking fuel (domestic LPG) retailing business, he said. “For Lanka IOC the main revenue generator has been the retailing business. But now there is a conscious effort to change it by diversifying into bunker fuels and bitumen.”

On if the company has any plans to set up a refinery in Sri Lanka, he said, “It will not be economically viable.”

The company recently got Govt concessions for exports and is looking at exporting lubes to West Asia, Singapore, and Maldives.

Source- The Hindu Business line by R.Mishra

February 12, 2010

9km/day.. Kamal nath's target..

As the Central minister for Roads, Mr. Kamalnath has promised to speed up 9km/ day target, the state govt is catching up.. Pls read.

With re-pairing work of the controversial Maram-Senapati section of NH 39 picking up speed, Works Minister K Ranjit made a field inspection of the work today.

Even as the Government of India has sanctioned Rs 53 crores for development of NH 39, it is unlikely that the sanctioned amount can be utilised within the current working season as the tender process is taking a long time.

Under the existing condition, Maram-Senapati section of NH 39 would not be fit for vehicular traffic during rainy season.

Taking cognizance of this condition, the State Government engaged ten contractors and started hectic repairing work since the past few days.

Inspecting the repairing work today, Works Minister K Ranjit told media persons that the same section can be turned into a shapely highway by March provided there is no disturbance.

The Maram-Senapati section which is about 20 kms in length would require 571 metric tonnes of bitumen approximately.

So far, the contractors have been provided 130 metric tonnes of bitumen.

In the meantime, tender process at the Ministry of Highways and Surface Transport would be completed.

As such, NH 39 can be developed fully during the next working season.

The Minister also inspected the bitumen laying work along NH 150 near Oinam, Bishnupur.

Saying that road development work of NH 150 from near Raj Bhavan to airport was completed in time, Minister Ranjit said that bitumen laying of the second phase starting from airport till Churachandpur is in progress.

He lamented that the same work was halted during November and December last year due to disturbances from some quarters.

Stating that development work along Canchipur-Pallel section of NH 39 would be taken up soon, Ranjit informed that necessary amount for development NH 39 from Pallel to Moreh has also been sanctioned by the Ministry.

In his next stop, Ranjit inspected the preparatory work of temporary composite check post at Henbung along NH 39.Although the State Government has submitted a detailed project report putting the project cost at Rs one crore for the composite check post, the Ministry has not yet sanctioned the amount.

With a view to collect more revenue, the State Government has set completion target of the temporary composite check post in March, Ranjit said.

Land development work, construction of parking, office building and godown would be completed by March.

Pointing out that Manipur is a small state, the Works Minister claimed that Manipur can be turned into a developed State within a short period if no disturbances are posed to several projects taken up by different Government departments.

TD Minister DD Thaisii, MLA Haokholet Kipgen and MLA Bijoy Koijam were part of the Works Minister's inspection tour.

Mastic Asphalt Coat

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has taken up a project to lay a mastic asphalt coat on all motorable roads in the city proper before Puja.

According to civic engineers, laying bitumen on the surface is the cheapest way to metal a road. Bituminous roads are good in dry weather. A layer of mastic asphalt prevents water from seeping to the bitumen.

Out of the 2,500km of roads in Calcutta, only 200km have received a mastic asphalt top coat in the past eight years. Another 50km of roads is currently being coated with mastic asphalt. The civic authorities have allotted Rs 50 crore for the purpose.

Source- The Telegraph

January 29, 2010

More Bitumen Road loosing to Cement

Concrete road for each PWD division
Tribune News Service

Shimla, January 28
At least one concrete road stretch will be constructed in each division of the PWD in the state to provide better road connectivity to the people.

This was stated by Public Works Minister Gulab Singh while presiding over the meeting of senior officials of his department, here today.

He said concrete roads had added a new dimension to road engineering. He said a total of 17 roads had been taken in hand for converting them into concrete roads, out of which six roads were in Palampur circle, three in Solan circle, two each in Mandi and Kullu circle and one each in Nurpur, Una, Nahan and national highway circle in Shimla.

The minister said work of cement concrete pavement for the Kala Amb-Trilokpur road had been completed at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh. Work on one kilometre stretch of the Mallokpur-Saloli road in Una had been executed under the NABARD fund. The work for concreting of road stretch near Chamakhripu on the Shimla-Ghumarwin-Mataur-Dharamsala national highway has been awarded recently, he added.

He said there was no dearth of funds for construction of cement concrete pavement roads and several projects were under pipeline.
source- The Tribune, Chandigarh.

January 22, 2010

Tech Saves Money on Bitumen

Husky Energy Inc. and BP PLC have chopped $1-billion off the estimated cost of their planned oil sands project thanks to technological tweaks, better engineering and the weakened economy.

The first phase of the Sunrise project also received regulatory approvals necessary to proceed, Husky said yesterday.

It now expects the steam-assisted gravity drainage project to cost about $2.5-billion, down from its earlier estimate of $3.8-billion and an original forecast of $4-billion. Husky expects to produce bitumen at Sunrise in 2014.

"I think it is still high," Laura Lau, an energy and resources fund manager at Sentry Select Capital Corp., said of the reduced price tag. The project is near Suncor Energy Inc.'s Firebag operation, which she said should be used as a yardstick when comparing costs.

"It should have been in line with Suncor's estimate in the first place," she said.

Husky's reviewed the project for 11 months before coming out with its latest estimate, according to Graham White, a spokesman for the Calgarybased company. Husky operates Sunrise.

While Husky's statement provided scant detail on how it was able to lower its cost, Mr. White said the company found better ways to steam, treat, and dispose of the water necessary to extract bitumen from the ground via wells. The softened economy, which has substantially pulled down the cost of doing business in the oilpatch, serves as another example, he said.

In some cases, Husky found ways to save money by using more "conventional" methods, rather than using the newest technology available to oil sands players.

John Lau, Husky's chief executive, said "design optimization" is to thank for the $1-billion in savings.

"Under the current market environment and the applied facility design for phase 1, the Sunrise oil sands project has been able to achieve a solid sustainable economic return," Mr. Lau said, giving no details of expected financial return.

Husky and BP, which are equal partners in Sunrise, have not officially given the project the thumbs up. Should the pair decide to proceed, they will begin detailed engineering, procurement and construction in the second half of 2010.

The site contains 3.7 billion barrels of proved, probable plus possible reserves, Husky said. Sunrise's first phase will produce about 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and will spit out 200,000 boe/d after all the phases are complete, which will occur about 2020.


Read more:

Poor Planning and Bad Bitumen

Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Posted On Friday, January 22, 2010 at 07:44:49 AM

BM takes a look at the issues that raised the governor’s hackles

How do his guests deal with traffic?
Bangalore may boast of many infrastructure projects, but many are just grandiose plans grounded by poor planning. The flyover to Electronics City may be ready, but driving till the flyover is nothing short of a Herculean task. Many techies who have to report to work at 9 am leave home as early as 6 am to reach office on time. They spend a good part of the working day on the road.

The roads mean to ease traffic, like the Intermediate Ring Road connecting Domlur, Indiranagar and Old Madras Road in east Bangalore is already choked due to the increase in traffic by the time the projects were implemented.

The Silk Board junction is a nightmare that is yet to be solved. The recent addition of the Hosur Expressway has raised a lot of hope, but the problem of traffic joining the main roads from arterial ones is yet to be addressed.

The BBMP had promised some signal-free junctions, but the project is still on paper.

What about half-completed projects?
Many projects are way past their deadlines. For example the Kadirenahalli Underpass (March 2009), Puttenhalli Underpass (March 2009), railway over-bridge at Whitefield (March 2008) and the Agara–Iblur junction flyover (March 2010).

Delay in projects means more hardship for citizens and commuters who have to put up with disruption in civic amenities, dug up and damaged roads, slow traffic, increased pollution and health problems. Often, vehicles are diverted to service roads that are unable to handle the increase in traffic.

Citizens have accepted these problems as a necessary evil, but incessant delays are testing their patience. They have just one question in their minds — When will it all end?

To compound matters, several projects are going on simultaneously, which means very few parts of the city are free from construction activity and related problems.

Take the case of the ambitious Outer Ring Road, which has been under construction for the last quarter of a century, and is yet to be completed!

Plus, there are plans that are yet to see the light of the day, like the Periperal Ring Road project announced by S M Krishna when he was the CM. Since then, Krishna served as governor of Maharashtra and is now a Union minister while BDA is yet to even finalise tenders for the project!

How to explain uneven development?
You don’t really have to go to the bylanes of Bangalore to get a glimpse of how bad bitumen is in the city. Just drive in front of Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor, to know the story. The main road in front of the Raj Bhavan is marked with series of potholes. It’s been several days since the road was dug up for laying a pipeline, but no one seems to have thought of repairing it. is it any wonder that the governor is complaining.

The GPO Circle that connects Bangalore Cantonment with the power centre (Vidhana Soudha) is interspersed with parts that were dug up and never filled.

Whitefield is where all the new IT companies are coming up, but drive through Prashant Layout near the International Tech Park Bangalore (IPTB) and you will come across a combination of mud roads and tarred bitumen. After repeated complaints to the BBMP yielding no result, residents have given up.

City says...
This has been the case for many years now. We cannot blame anyone in particular for these problems. The city cannot handle so many people. It is time we, the public, put our heads together and come out with solutions. People should take the initiative to not take their car once in a week and use buses instead
Hema Malini Maiya, partner, MTR restaurant

What the governor said is true. Pace of infrastructure projects is very slow. In the past three years, I have seen an improvement, but projects need to be speeded up. Projects must be time-bound
K K Narayanan, Managing Director, Metahelix Life Sciences

Planning in our city is incoherent. The BBMP has always thought in terms of numbers rather than outcome planning. It does not have a town planning department. We should focus on incentive-based public transport promotion planning wherein the people with their own vehicles will be motivated to use public transport
R K Misra, Member, ABIDe

Source- Bangalore Mirror

January 21, 2010

Conoco & Total investing Billions in Bitumen

ConocoPhillips Inc. and Total SA have approved a multibillion-dollar expansion to their joint oil sands operation, which will jack up bitumen production at their Surmont project by a factor of four.

ConocoPhillips also said it will spend US$300-million on heavy-oil research and development over the next five years, with more than 80% of those funds directed toward its oil sands projects at Surmont, Foster Creek and Christina Lake. The company has other heavy-oil assets in Alaska and China.

"We believe technology is going to make a big difference to the economic and environmental characteristics of oil sands development," said Matt Fox, president of ConocoPhillips' Canadian operations, after the Surmont partners announced their expansion yesterday.

"We're looking at a large number of technology projects — some in the very early stages, some that are [near] pilot testing, some already in the pilot-test phase."

The Surmont expansion marks Total's first major Canadian project. "This is a major step forward," Jean-Michel Gires, head of Total's Canadian operations, said of the 83,000-barrel-per-day expansion.

The Surmont steam-assisted gravity drainage operation currently churns out 27,000 barrels of oil per day.

After the expansion, which will begin this year and end in 2015, it will produce 110,000 barrels per day. ConocoPhillips operates the project and controls 50% of it, while France's Total has dibs on the remaining half.

The pair will not disclose the projected cost of the expansion, but Mr. Fox said it will be in the billions.

Rapid growth in Alberta's bitumen-rich zone can quickly translate into budget overruns. This is what happened in 2007-2008.

Yet, once again, the list of major project announcements is growing: Suncor Energy Inc. has reignited is expansion aspirations at its Firebag project, and Imperial Oil Ltd. last year did the same at its $8-billion Kearl mine.

But even with Suncor, Imperial, ConocoPhillips and Total pushing ahead with growth, Steven Paget, an analyst at FirstEnergy Corp., contends energy companies will be able to keep a lid on inflation.

One reason they may be able to avoid an overheated market, he said, is because Royal Dutch Shell PLC is wrapping up its expansion at its Albian Sands mine and Scotford upgrader.

"With Shell being completed later this year … now there's lots of room for Surmont," Mr. Paget said. "And there's lots of pipeline to move it."

ConocoPhillips' Mr. Fox said roughly 2,500 people will be employed as Surmont grows, and 300 people will work on the project in Calgary and Fort McMurray when the expansion is complete.

Total plans to invest between $15-billion and $20-billion in Canada's oil sands in the next 10 to 15 years.


January 20, 2010

Ethiopia signs new contract

The African Development Bank (AfDB), on 15 January 2010, signed a Loan Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia to finance the Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa Road Corridor Project Phase II.

The loan for an amount of Units of Accounts (UA) 85 million, representing USD 125.6 million, was signed by Mr Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, representing the Government of Ethiopia and Mr Lamin G. Barrow, AfDB Resident Representative, Ethiopia Country Office, representing the Bank.

On the occasion of the signing ceremony, Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, highlighted the importance of this multinational project as another clear indication of the Bank's commitment to support the development endeavors of Ethiopia, and expressed his great appreciation, on behalf of the Government, for the Bank's continued assistance.

In his remarks, the Bank's Resident Representative underscored the significance of this NEPAD flagship project as it will support the Ethiopian Government's efforts to diversify access to seaports and help redress the apparent marginalization of horn of Africa countries from the recent boom witnessed in intra-COMESA trade.

In reaffirming the Bank's commitment to provide continued support to the two Governments in developing this road corridor development, Mr. Barrow also reiterated the necessity for addressing the non-physical barriers, which is paramount to fostering increased trade between the two countries.

On the Ethiopian side, this multinational road project involves the rehabilitation to bitumen standard of the 193 km long Ageremariam-Yabelo-Mega road section, construction of roadside socio-economic infrastructure, construction of a One-Stop-Border-Post at Moyale and drilling of 12 community water wells within the project area, which is located in the southern and south western part of the country, mainly in Oromia region.

The road is an important section of the Trans-African Highway Network and aims at improving transport links between Kenya and Ethiopia for the benefit of both countries and the wider East Africa and Horn of Africa regions.

On completion, the project is expected to reduce transport and shipping costs between Kenya and Ethiopia; reduce transit time for imports and exports; and increase the volume of Ethiopian goods transiting through Mombasa Port in Kenya.

The road corridor development program, which is being implemented in three phases, will also promote increased intra-regional trade and regional integration in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Lotfi Madani

January 19, 2010

Road Safey Violation

A REPORT is being prepared for the coroner following the death of a Taree man while working on a road construction team south of Forster.
Thirty-one-year-old Andrew David Maddalena was crushed under a road roller during a bitumen-spraying operation on the Lakes Way at Boolambayte about 3.45pm on Thursday.

Police said they believed it was only his second day on the job. It is understood he died instantly.

The father of three was working for a Wauchope-based construction company sub contracted to Great Lakes Council, police said.

The crew was working on asphalt sealing a section of the Lakes Way at a site 1km north of Stoney Creek Road.

Police said Mr Maddalena’s job was to spray diesel on the wheels of a road roller, in order to stop bitumen adhering to the roller.

It appears the spraying equipment ceased to work properly, and the driver of the roller tried to assist Mr Maddalena to clear or repair it.

“It remains a matter for investigation what has happened then... whether there has been an error or whether a malfunction has caused the roller to re-engage,” Inspector Allan Fidock of Manning-Great Lakes Local Area Command said.

The roller apparently lurched forward, trapping Mr Maddalena under the front wheels of the machine, Inspector Fidock said.

Mr Maddalena suffered extensive head injuries and died at the scene.

Police and other investigators are working with Workcover and a report is being prepared for the coroner, Inspector Fidock said.

Mr Maddalena, known to friends and family as ‘Madds’ will be farewelled at a service in the chapel of Manning Great Lakes Memorial Gardens at 1pm on Friday.

He is survived by his parents Lance and Narelle, children Tahlia, Brayden and Aiden, and sister Erin.

January 18, 2010

Bitumen and Tax Arrears- Shell's way

MANILA, Philippines - Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes fears there could be shortage in supply of fuel if the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seizes P43 billion worth of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.'s importations.

"Shell can't operate as usual, BOC may have to go the process of bidding for the sale of the cargoes. But the buyer may not have the capacity to store the cargo," noted Reyes in a message to reporters.

He explained that "Shell has a share of over 30% of the market—second only to Petron Corp.”

The BOC earlier vowed to seize $923 million worth of Shell's imports arriving in February to May 2010 as payment for alleged back taxes. The agency said Shell failed to pay excise taxes covering its importations of Catalytic Cracked Gasoline (CCG) and Light Catalytic Cracked Gasoline (LCCG) from 2004 to 2009.

Shell is disputing BOC's tax assessments before the Court of Tax Appeals. The company contends that excise taxes are not applicable to its CCG and LCCG imports because these are merely raw materials and not finished products.

Reyes said the Department of Energy shares the same position.

"Final tax is levied as gasoline leaves the refinery for sale to the market," he said, pointing out that "BOC insists to collect tax on the intermediate product."

Shell said the planned seizure of its imports would force it to shut down its Batangas refinery, resulting in fuel shortage, job losses and massive disruption of critical industries such as power, and sea and air transportation.

Apart from having a 27.7% average share in the retail market, Shell said it also supplies 33% of the demand of power companies including the National Power Corp.; around 17.2% of the fuel requirement of the aviation industry; 24.6% of the marine transport market; and 70.2% of the local demand for bitumen which is used in road works.


January 15, 2010

Build Road First..

From the seven North Carolina bridges replaced in 45 days to the Utah highway that reduced commuters' drive time from 42 to 16 minutes - a report released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) highlights 50 projects nationwide that documents smart transportation solutions by state transportation departments.

The projects were entered in a competition to find America's best projects, delivered on-time, on-budget and with innovative management. "What we found from examining the entries is that the states are applying creativity, accountability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in delivering the transportation improvements their communities need. As a result, delays are shorter, projects are faster, and taxpayers get more for their investments," said John Horsley, AASHTO Executive Director.

The report, "Smart Solutions: 50 Ways America Just Got Better," highlights success stories of state DOTs across the nation from the 2009 America's Transportation Awards competition. The contest is sponsored by AASHTO, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The America's Transportation Awards contest nominations were completed early and under budget, sought innovative methods to solve problems, relieved seriously congested vital corridors, improved public safety, enhanced economic growth, rebuilt after and prepared for disasters, achieved sustainable solutions, supported tourism, and engaged the community.

Among the techniques used to make good projects better are: creative contracting, financial incentives and disincentives for contractors, innovative construction techniques, strategic traffic management, intelligent transportation systems, dogged attention to schedules, innovative financing, intergovernmental cooperation, and constant communication.

"It is critical that our transportation systems receive the funding necessary to keep America moving," said Horsley. "But even more important is that our state and local governments use that money to deliver projects that quickly meet the needs of our communities in the most-cost-effective and efficient manner."

Featured projects from 33 states demonstrate the breadth of successful transportation investments -- from work on Interstate corridors that eased congestion and used fast-track construction techniques to efforts that enhanced public safety by improving roads and rising public awareness.