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: http://www.financialpost.com/news-sectors/story.html?id=2466003#ixzz0dKaaBoQG

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.

Source- http://www.kelowna.com/2010/01/20/surmont-output-to-quadruple-by-2015-total-conoco-toss-billions-at-oil-sands-growth/

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.



Cement to Replace Bitumen- Same Old Wine... New Bottle.. looks like Minister likes the now bottle

NEW DELHI: Transport minister Kamal Nath on Thursday said the government may look at using cement for constructing over 18,000 km of expressways in
the country. At present, most of the road network in India is bitumen.

“It would be appropriate to look at (building) expressways with cement, concrete as these will be greenfield projects ,” Mr Nath told reporters.

He said concrete can also be used on roads, where wear and tear is high. However, cement would not be used for upgrading the existing bitumen roads.

“We are not going to use cement where there are bitumen roads already,” he said. The proposal, if implemented, would provide a big boost to the cement companies.

ACC Ltd managing director Sumit Banerjee, while delivering the inaugural address at the seminar, said concrete roads are durable, maintenance-free for 20-30 years and have a life of up to 50 years. “Concrete roads offer 15-20 % economy in fuel consumption and 10-15 % in vehicle running costs compared to bitumen ones,” Mr Banerjee said.

The construction costs of cement roads is, however, more than that of bitumen roads, but in the long-term they recover the savings. Some of municipalities have started building cement roads in a limited way.

Mr Nath also said he has called a meeting of all state transport ministers next month to look at amending the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, though he did not give specifics of the draft amendments . He was speaking at a seminar organised by industry chamber CII on Concrete Highway Projects.

The Act defines norms for speed limits and permissible loads that trucks can carry, among others.

Source- http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/Nath-casts-in-concrete-plan-for-laying-fresh-roads/articleshow/5446929.cms

January 12, 2010

Quality issues of Bitumen

MASUNGA - Residents of Masunga, Mosojane and Mapoka in the North East District have expressed concern about poor standard of roads that run through their villages.

They raised this concern during a series of kgotla meetings addressed by area MP Mr Charles Tibone last week.

Residents said the Sebina-Ramokgwebana loop road is far below standards especially that it leads to the district headquarters - Masunga.

They said the 80-kilometre stretch from Shashe River in Sebina that join the Francistown-Ramokgwebana road is single laned with damaged shoulders.

The other road that residents complained about is Tshesebe-Mosojane-Masunga road which they said has long been overdue for upgrading to bitumen standard.

They reasoned that it should be given priority as it is the shortest route from Francistown to Masunga at 80 kilometres while other roads are well over 100 kilometres.

They told their MP that the state of roads contribute to the slow pace of development in their district as they scare away potential investors and cause rural-urban migration among the able bodied youth who have high potential of developing the district.

In response, Mr Tibone, explained that construction of the Sebina-Ramokgwebana road has been affected by the recent economic downturn.

He said the road had gone though all the stages of feasibility study, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), design and consultation stage.

MP Tibone said construction documents were about to be submitted to the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) for the tendering process to begin when the country was hit by the credit crunch, adding however that the project is still reflected in the National Development Plan 10.

He however called on residents to exercise patient as the world is currently recovering from recession. He promised them that the project would take off once the NDP 10 implementation stage starts.

On the construction of Tshesebe-Mosojane-Masunga road, MP Tibone said the money that was allocated for the road was ultimately used to construct some access roads in Mabudzane and Jackalas II.

He however promised to make inquiries on the issue and work on rectifying the mistake. BOPA


Training on Bitumen Handling

WOQOD's Vice Chairman and Managing Director Mohammed Turki Al Sobai said:

"The storage, transportation and mixing of bitumen and bituminous materials has to be very carefully managed at all times. The Health, Safety and Environmental protection of our customers, including their employees and assets is an essential part of our relationship with our customers. Bitumen is typically stored at 140 degrees centigrade to maintain its viscosity for road and roofing applications. At this heat it is essential that handling is carried out to industry standards by trained employees with safety the main priority."

The training was developed internally by WOQOD and is based on both Qatar and international standards.

"We will continue to look for opportunities to work with our customers across the various products and services we offer to deliver best practice training and to develop ongoing dialogues for improvement." Al Sobai stated.

Source- http://www.ameinfo.com/220736.html

January 1, 2010

Higher crude price better for Oilsands

www.bharatbook.com included a new report on “High Crude Price A Blessing in Disguise for Oil Sands Projects in Canada” into its market report catalogue for reselling.

Oil sands are deposit mixtures of bitumen, silica sand, clay minerals, and water. Bitumen, an extremely heavy crude oil is a tar-like mixture of hydrocarbons, whose density is greater than 960 Kg/m3. It is extracted to yield oil sands either by surface mining or in-situ technologies such as cyclic steam stimulation, steam assisted gravity drainage, or hybrid steam assisted gravity drainage. The extracted oil sand is heavy and gelatinous and will have to be heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. The treatment and up gradation is essential before it can be used as a crude oil feedstock in refineries.


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