March 25, 2011

Bitumen from Tar Sands- Viable and Costly




The United States imports approximately one million barrels of oil per day from Canada, which is about twice the amount that it gets from Saudi Arabia. A large percentage of that oil comes from tar sand deposits, in which bitumen (a tar-like form of crude oil) is found combined with sand. The tar sands – also known as oil sands – are hugely controversial, as many people state that the process used for extracting the oil from the sand is too ecologically-unfriendly. A new technique being pioneered at Penn State University, however, could drastically reduce the environmental impact of that process.

The current method of separating sand and bitumen involves adding warm water to the two, then agitating the mixture. Unfortunately, it requires a lot of water, which is diverted from nearby rivers. Once the separation process is complete, the now-polluted water is pumped into open air tailings ponds. From there, it can potentially leach its way back into the water table. There's also another risk – despite the presence of bird-scaring devices, in 2008 approximately 1,600 ducks died when they landed in one of the ponds.

Instead of warm water, the Penn State method utilizes room temperature ionic liquids (ILs), which consist of salt in a liquid state – a solvent such as toluene may also be added. When the ILs are introduced to a sand/bitumen mixture and stirred, the resulting combination settles into three distinct layers: a bottom layer of oil-free sand, a middle layer of ILs, and a top layer of bitumen. The bitumen can then be removed and refined, the ILs can be reused, and residual ILs in the sand can be removed using a relatively small amount of water (which can also be reused), after which the sand can be returned to the environment.

Not only is much less water used, but because nothing needs to be heated, there are also substantial energy savings.

The researchers state that the ionic liquids could also be used to clean up beaches devastated by oil spills. Sand could be cleaned and redeposited on the spot, supposedly containing even less hydrocarbons than it did before the spill ever occurred.


There are some very goom comments about this article on the viablity of Ionic Liquid on this forum. Pls visit the below link for more info.


By Ben Coxworth

Source http://www.gizmag.com/ionic-liquids-used-to-process-tar-sands/18214/

March 23, 2011

Bitumen Still Cost Effective than Cement




Bitumen or Cement for the Roads ?

Most of the 48 new projects announced in the Budget for 2003-04 were to be executed by private players, and a third of these were to be cemented.Bitumen roads cost about half of cement roads, and the average 15-20 year concession period for private projects does not justify financial viability of cemented carriageways, say analysts.

“The use of cement is not likely to gain favour with the private players because of the steep initial costs and despite the long-lasting quality of cement roads. The benefit to a road contractor typically starts flowing in after 7-10 years for a bitumen road while break-even takes much longer for cement roads,” said a representative from a private construction company.

“The use of cement will entail a two-fold increase in the costs over bitumen. While savings in the use of cement will come over a longer time of 50 years, the concession period for a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project spans a maximum of 20 years, thereby making it unviable for operators to execute cement roads,” an expert said.

The use of bitumen entails less than 5 per cent of the capital cost initially and would involve around 15 per cent of costs for overlays during a 20 year period. Even if the government makes use of cement the higher costs would have to be absorbed, they said.

Another reason why the new set of road projects could run into trouble is because there are limited number of players in the market and they would focus on the second phase of the ongoing national Highways Development Project (NHDP) works.
While officials contend that most of the 48 new projects would be executed using the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model and the successful annuity scheme, which has been used in the first phase of the NHDP.

Apart from a few World Bank-funded NHDP sections on NH-2, not many cement sections are part of the first phase of the Rs 58,000 crore project. Nearly all the BOT and annuity sections in the first phase of the NHDP have been implemented using bitumen.

Out of the 48 projects, to be executed at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore, the Centre had so far identified 25 odd projects while the remaining are still to be identified.
A majority of these projects involve connectivity of the highway sections upgraded under the NHDP with major commercial and residential hubs lying in close proximity to these sections, government officials said.

The argument used by the Centre justifying the move to use more of cement is that this would provide a boost to the domestic cement industry and that cement roads would be more viable in the long run because of the longevity of concrete roads.
The use of cement would also reduce the country’s oil import bills as bitumen is a by-product of the oil industry, the prices of which has been on the rise because of high crude prices, ministry officials maintain.


>Analysts, however contend there are many technical factors which favour use of bitumen for highways.

Cement roads require a good amount of preparation of the sub-base before concrete is laid while bitumen roads adjust to the weight of the vehicles.

“Laying of concrete roads requires a great deal of expertise and risks are significantly higher in case of cement as compared to when bitumen is used and improper laying of cement roads could result in cracking up of sections as witnessed on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway,” they said.

Source & Courtesy- The Business Times.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/cmie-projects-real-gdp-to-grow-88-in-fy12/129731/


March 21, 2011

Bitumen Supply from IOCL to Bhutan- Weight Issue


A nexus between the Bhutanese supplier and their transporter might have resulted in underweight bitumen barrels entering Bhutan, according to the five-member investigation team from Indian Oil corporation limited (IOCL), the principle suppliers, who were in the country recently to investigate the issue.

The team, which was in Phuentsholing and Thimphu on a two-day visit from March 13, carried out a random verification of bitumen barrels of KSD Supplies and Bhutan Tshongley in Phuentsholing, where a shortfall of about five to 10kg were found, while some weighed two to five kilograms more. Water content was also found to be very high.

The investigation report was submitted to the trade department yesterday.

IOCL officials said, of the 60,000MT of bitumen they supplied in a month from their refinery in Haldia, West Bengal, around 15,000MT were packed in barrels. Of this, two to five percent of barrels a month were supplied to Bhutan. “The remaining quantity is supplied to other areas in West Bengal,” IOCL’s chief manager of consumer and sales division, Saibal Das, said. “No complaints on quality or quantity have been received from other areas, apart from Bhutan.”

Bitumen is a product supplied on ex-MI basis, meaning IOCL’s responsibility ceases once the product exits the gate of their premises at Haldia.

IOCL officials also asked trade officials to visit their refinery to be assured of the quality and quantity.

They said a representative of KSD Supplies visited the refinery to check the filling and stacking and a quality assurance letter was signed between KSD’s representative and IOCL.

KSD’s representative, Binay Jain, who visited the refinery, said it wasn’t an assurance letter he signed, but a report after random checking of bitumen barrels at Haldia. “They can’t make such baseless allegations,” he said, adding there was an excess of about 2.6 kg a barrel at the refinery.

Bhutanese contractors, who have imported bitumen in the past, said they have found old shoes and rags inside the barrels.

The senior divisional consumer sales manager, Sujon Bhattacharya, said there’s no scope for water at a temperature of 1130C. They said their refinery in Haldia followed standard norms in filling and stacking, where they do not put water, because at a temperature of 1130C, mixing water wasn’t possible as it led to huge expansion of foams inside barrels.

Sick and leaked drums are also instantly separated at the source, they said. Presence of foreign materials inside the drum wasn’t possible, since bitumen was directly pumped from filling machines and then sealed.

IOCL officials said tampering en route was possible, as many technologies were available for squeezing out bitumen from barrels within a short period of time, and that there’s a possibility to refill bitumen by a third party in barrels, which are similar to IOCL’s.

IOCL officials also said KSD and Bhutan Tshongley had the same transporter, Kalpana road carriers, while Bhutan bitumen had a different transporter, AS transporter, which did not report any discrepancies.

Bhutan bitumen, however, imports bitumen in tankers to process it in to emulsion, but faced a similar shortfall of about 200kg for a truckload, when they imported in barrels last month.

KSD Supplies said the investigation report is one-sided. “When no tampering is visible on the barrels, KSD won’t accept it,” the proprietor, KS Dhendup, said, adding that they were told the barrels were forklifted. “The fork marks were clearly visible on the barrels, with no tampering of any sort.”

Both the supplier Bhutan Tshongley and KSD said that their consignment from the IOCL always came within the stipulated time of three days from Haldia to Bhutan a distance of 850km. “We know that our transporters aren’t capable of doing it,” said KS Dhendup.

KSD supplies said they enquired with some transporters in India and found that there were cases where some faced a similar situation.

The issue started after Wangchuk Construction had bought 1,000 barrels of bitumen worth Nu 5.8M from KSD last month, but found that the consignment was short by Nu 1.1M in weight. The proprietor then filed a complaint with the trade department, and a joint inspection was carried out on February 12 by trade, roads and standard quality and control authority officials, in the presence of both the parties.

Apart from KSD, Bhutan Bitumen and Bhutan Tshongley, had also filed complaints with IOCL when the bitumen barrels indicated shortage in weight.

Bhutan Tshongley’s proprietor, Sangay Dorji said he doesn’t see any solution to the issue. “They are aware that there are no other alternatives for Bhutan,” he said. “We don’t have a choice but to go back to them,” he said. “I’ve told them that they are the god and whether they give us excess or less, we’ll have to take it anyhow.”

IOCL has been the sole supplier to Bhutan for the past 36 years.

By Kinga Dema &
Nidup Gyeltshen

Source- http://www.kuenselonline.com/2010/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=18727

March 17, 2011

Bitumen Extraction and Storage Facility




Imperial Oil Resources has selected CB&I to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work at its Kearl oil sands project in Alberta, Canada.

The contract is worth over $900 million (£559.95 million) and will see the company involved with both the construction of the bitumen extraction plant and related storage facilities.

CB&I will design, supply and build additional storage vessels for the site, in addition to carrying out the EPC execution of the bitumen extraction plant and tank farms.

Philip Asherman, president and chief executive officer of the organisation, commented: "We are pleased to have supported Imperial Oil on this important energy project since its inception and we look forward to expanding our relationship with them in the future."

Earlier this month, the firm was awarded a contract by the Oman Refineries and Petrochemical Company for the front-end engineering and design work on a project to expand the Sohar refinery, increasing its capacity from 116,000 barrels per stream day to 187,000 barrels per stream day.

Organisations providing services in the oil and gas sector could benefit from EVision Oilfield Services Financial & Commercial Management software which helps to streamline their core business functions.

Source - http://www.sageforconstruction.co.uk/oil_industry_news_selected.aspx?aid=1969

Article Posted by Editorial Team. All news articles are provided by journalists from an independent News Agency - Adfero Ltd.

March 11, 2011

Bitumen and Skin Cancer- Court is getting tougher


The Court of Appeal of Lyon on Friday will consider use of public works company Eurovia who was convicted in 2010 of "gross negligence" by the Tribunal of Social Affairs (TASS) Bourg-en-Bresse in death Three years ago a worker bitumen.

In May 2010, for the first time in France, the Tass Bourg-en-Bresse had recognized the "inexcusable" that a subsidiary of Vinci in the case of a worker of 56 years died of skin cancer . Social Security had called his cancer illness but had attributed "to exposure to solar UV," said Wednesday a spokesman Eurovia.

The court "could find that the combination of projections, or even inhalation of bitumen with UV favored either the risk of UV born, born is the risk of bitumen. So there is a "gross negligence on the part of Eurovia," the judges had considered in their deliberations.

The construction company had immediately appealed the decision, saying that "this decision (was) against the most recent studies that have found no link between the asphalt and all forms of cancer" .

"For 20 years, all international studies converge" in this sense, reiterated the AFP representative of the company.

The case began after the death, July 3, 2008, José Francisco Serrano Andrade worker specializing in the spreading of bitumen and tarmac on the roads and highways, a cancer patient who had declared on the face.

The hearing on Friday "is important," the family advocate Andrade, Jean-Jacques Rinck: "With the decision Tass Bourg, we have an embryo of jurisprudence. But if the Court of Appeal of Lyon confirmed Judgement, it will be an atomic bomb, because the bitumen is spread on the entire planet, except in America and Germany ", which is denied Eurovia, according to which the U.S. is the world's largest consumer and Germany the largest in Europe.

The recognition of gross negligence permits "compensation" for rights holders, but especially "we get justice for him (Mr. Andrade) and his pals," added the lawyer.

The inexcusable endorse the responsibility of an employer who has breached an obligation of safety outcome, according to Mr Rinck.

Another case for gross negligence should be considered on appeal in Aix-en-Provence, on the same business, relaxed in the first instance.

Meanwhile, three complaints of "crime of poisoning" have been filed against Eurovia-Vinci, Jean LefebvreJean Lefebvre (another subsidiary of Vinci) and DDE Doubs to the floors of Bourg-en-Bresse, and Orleans (Doubs) by Andrade and two other families of victims.

"We sell a product which is poisonous, everyone knows it is a poison and nobody does anything," said Mr Rinck.

The bitumen, a substance composed of a mixture of hydrocarbons derived almost exclusively from the distillation of crude oils. Several European countries recognize the skin cancer associated with the use of bitumen as an occupational disease.

According to the CGT, 80,000 workers would be in contact more or less prolonged with bitumen, while construction workers hold the record of fatal accidents at work.

By Lalag, is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is Anchor for Allvoices

Source - http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8440201-cancer-bitumen-the-inexcusable-eurovia-considered-on-appeal-in-lyon

March 10, 2011

Used Toners on the Road



Replacing the toner cartridges in the photocopiers of every office is a common occurrence. But what happens to the cartridges?



They are sent to Croxley's toner recycling centre in Auckland. Each cartridge still retains some waste toner, a fine dusty powder, and it is removed, sealed in a cube and dumped in a landfill, at a cost.

Downer's laboratory in Tauranga has, instead, come up with an environmental solution.

Following ground breaking research, Downer has found the waste toner can be added to polymer modified bitumen and used in laying roads - a world first.

It would mean that all the waste residue toner - up to 30 tonnes of it each year - can be recycled instead of ending up in the landfill.

Downer, in conjunction with Croxley and Ricoh New Zealand, has just been granted $45,800 from the Ministry for the Environment's waste minimisation fund to continue the testing of waste toner in polymer modified bitumen (PMB) and asphalt.

The testing will take place at Downer's newly-upgraded bitumen storage and blending facility in Totara St near the port.

The company, a pioneer in developing the country's roading network, installed Danish-made emulsion and PMB plants two months ago to add a new dimension to road construction in the county.

John Vercoe, Downer's technical manager of bitumen supply, said: "We have done the lab work and we can put all the toner through the plant.

"We can get 3 per cent toner in our polymer without affecting its properties, and we can put 1 per cent into the straight bitumen," he said.

Advertisement
"It doesn't enhance our product but it doesn't detract from it, either.

"We can become a recycling plant for 100 per cent of New Zealand's waste toner, reducing the impact on the environment. It produces a saving for Croxley and Ricoh, and it's not an inconvenience for us. It's a win-win situation for everyone."

Mr Vercoe, a polymer chemist, said the project began following a research paper from United States that talked about adding waste toner to asphalt.

"Our own laboratory work was unable to reproduce the US procedure and we investigated adding waste toner to PMB. It fits well and we are the first to do it. Our research is completed and we are ready to run the waste toner in the plant to verify the results from the lab," he said.

The first trial will be conducted within two weeks. Downer would take delivery of 200 litre drums of the waste toner - which is not exactly the cleanest product - and its only hurdle now is to figure out how best to handle the fine powder.

It's dusty and the waste toner needs to be transferred to the mixer and milled with the bitumen and SBS polymer, which is imported from Korea and other parts of the world.

The cartridge waste toner would end up being part of the stronger and longer lasting polymer modified bitumen (PMB) which lengthens the life of a road surface at least five times.

Most of the country's roading network is made from the cheaper chip seal where the bitumen is sprayed first and the chip aggregate is added.

City streets are laid with the less noisy and smoother asphalt where the aggregate and bitumen is mixed and then laid by a paving machine and rolled.

The PMB, more resistant to wear and tear, is now being used on sections of highways that have particularly heavy use.

Downer has applied it on the recent upgrades of Maunganui Rd near the flyover and on the intersection of Fraser St and 15th Avenue in Tauranga, and it is popular for paving at the heavily-used ports, distribution centres and rail and log yards.

"Every time a truck goes past, the road flexes. When it keeps flexing, the road eventually cracks," Mr Vercoe explained. "During a hot summer, the bitumen softens and starts flowing away from the wheels and creates ruts.

"Adding polymer, which has a lot more flexure, to the bitumen makes the road surface stronger and gives it extra life. There's some polymer in the waste toner and that's where the project comes in," Mr Vercoe said.

So, wouldn't it be wiser to construct smoother, longer lasting road (asphalt) surfaces right from the start?

"It's hard to know," said Mr Vercoe. "The roading network is structured on low capital outlay and higher maintenance. The full life costings are very difficult to calculate.

"New Zealand, Australia and South Africa uses chip seal because of the big distances to cover with low population levels, and they are trying to stretch the roading dollar further than anyone else," he said.

As well as recycling waste toner, Downer has found a way to reduce the bitumen heat, making energy savings and improving safety.

The bitumen is mixed with water containing chemicals and churned in the emulsion plant, reducing the heat from 180C to 80C when it is sprayed on the road.

Downer has installed three emulsion plants at three of its sites in Bluff, Lyttelton and Tauranga.

"This is the future," said Mr Vercoe. "When you are spraying bitumen at 170/189C , it can cause major burns. The emulsion technique drops the temperature to a safe level."

Downer, which started in 1870 as the Public Works Department, now employs 5000 people in 50 towns and cities across New Zealand. The group also operates in Australia and through Asia, particularly Singapore, India and China.

By Graham Skellern

Source- http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/business/news/downer-leads-bitumen-world-first/3943802/

March 8, 2011

Shell Canada Propose Pierre River Mine Project for Bitumen Extracation


Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine Projects
Public Consultation on Joint Review Agreements

OTTAWA, March 7 /CNW/ - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency), today released for public comment draft agreements to establish joint panels with Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) for the environmental assessments of two oil sands projects: the Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine projects in northern Alberta.

The Agency has developed a draft agreement with the ERCB for the conduct of each environmental assessment. The agreements will establish the mandate and authorities of the joint panels, their composition, as well as the procedures and timelines for the reviews.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the draft agreements in either official language to the Agency by April 6, 2011. After taking public comments into consideration, the agreements will be finalized and made public.

To submit comments, obtain a copy of the agreements or to register as an interested party and be kept informed of the panel review process and ongoing activities, please contact:

Marie-France Therrien, Panel Manager
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Tel.: 613-957-0324 / 1-866-582-1884 / Fax: 613-957-0941
Shell.Reviews@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

The draft agreements as well as additional information on both projects are available on the Agency's Web site at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry under number 10-05-59540 for the Jackpine Mine Expansion Project and 10-05-59539 for the Pierre River Mine Project.

The Agency will make funding available to assist members of the public and Aboriginal groups to participate in the environmental assessments. An announcement regarding participant funding will be made at a later date.

The Pierre River Mine Project proposed by Shell Canada includes the construction, operation, and reclamation of an oil sands surface mine and bitumen extraction facilities. The proposed mining project would be located approximately 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the west side of the Athabasca River. The proposed development includes an open-pit mine, ore handling facility, bitumen extraction facilities, tailings processing facilities, support infrastructure, water and tailings management plans, as well as the construction of a bridge across the Athabasca River. The project is designed to produce a total of 200 000 barrels of bitumen per day.

Shell Canada is also proposing to expand the Jackpine Mine. The expansion would include additional mining areas and associated processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure. The project would be located about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the east side of the Athabasca River. The expansion project would increase bitumen production by 100 000 barrels per day.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of sustainable development.


For further information:
Media may contact:
Lucille Jamault
Communications Manager
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Tel.: 613-957-0434 / 613-552-5253


Source-http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2011/07/c8504.html

March 7, 2011

Shell drives Australian Bitumen Market


Shell Australia today announced a major investment in bitumen a facility to help meet demand across eastern Australia and will help supply additional bitumen for road reconstruction efforts in north west Victoria that is expected to last for a number of years.

Shell announced the construction of a new bitumen facility at Shell’s Geelong Refinery, and an upgrade of existing facilities at the company’s Pinkenba site on the Brisbane River. The $20 million investment in Geelong will include four new hot bitumen tanks and a new road gantry for loading trucks.

Bitumen is viewed as a key growth area for Shell’s Australian business and this facility will improve supply to civil contractor customers for many years to come. In a country as large as Australia there is a high demand for the bitumen used to construct roads, but Shell are expecting a spike in local demand caused by flood damage that will last for some years.

As well as expanding Shell’s bitumen capacity, the upgrade will support local manufacture of specialty products such as Shell’s Multiphalte range - the leading product for Australian airport runway surfacing. This product was recently used on both Adelaide and Melbourne airport upgrades.

Shell is working with civil contractors and road authorities across Australia to bring technologically advanced bitumen products to market. This bitumen investment is part of a much larger capital program to support Shell’s aggressive plans to grow its marketing business in Australia

Source -
http://www.rdv.vic.gov.au/news/new-bitumen-facility-for-geelong-refinery

Rise in Oil Prices is helping Bitumen Recovery


EDMONTON — While surging oil prices will deliver a financial windfall to the petroleum-powered provincial treasury, a series of major production hiccups over the fiscal year is expected to cost the Alberta government at least $340 million.

An Enbridge pipeline rupture in Michigan last year caused a bitumen bottleneck that squeezed production volumes flowing out of Alberta to the U.S., the province’s top energy customer.

The Alberta government now estimates the Enbridge supply disruption will cost it a minimum of $300 million in lost royalties for the budget year ending in March, but the toll could be “significantly higher” by the time the 2010-11 numbers are finalized.

“We lost considerable amount of royalties because we couldn’t ship our product south,” Premier Ed Stelmach explained during a speech last week.

Furthermore, fires earlier this year at upgraders owned by Canadian Natural Resources and Husky Energy have cut overall production by an estimated 150,000 barrels per day of synthetic crude, which is expected to cost the government as much as $40 million in lost royalties in 2010-11.

“Anytime there’s a loss of production impacting royalty revenues, it is a concern,” said Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert. “All of it has an impact, no doubt about it.”

However, he noted the government almost certainly expects annualized oil prices over the course of the current budget year will surpass initial projections, which will stuff unexpected revenue in provincial coffers and help offset the supply hiccups.

Indeed, the government budgeted oil prices at $78.75 US per barrel for 2010-11, but crude is now trading at more than $100 due to unrest and supply worries emerging from the Middle East and North Africa.

Oil has averaged nearly $82 US over the year, and with every $1 increase in annualized crude prices generating an additional $186 million for the province, Alberta could reap an extra $600 million from the energy bonanza.

Production constraints in the U.S., combined with the slowdowns at the CNRL and Husky facilities, have driven up the price for synthetic crude, which is experiencing a premium of $15 or more over the benchmark crude sold on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“You’ve got to take all of this over the course of the year. Take the ups, take the downs,” Liepert added. “That’s one of the difficulties of trying to predict revenue for a province that’s so dependent upon royalties.”

The supply problems — and subsequent royalty hit — stem from pipeline breaks last summer. More than 20,000 barrels of oil leaked into a Michigan river system when Enbridge’s Line 6B ruptured last July, closing the line for nine weeks.

Another spill on Line 6A, a major oil pipeline into the United States, added to a backup of barrels in Alberta and the feeder systems from producers such as Suncor.

Earlier this year, Suncor said it had been storing approximately 15,000 barrels of crude per day, while Enbridge resolved its pipeline capacity issues.

The January fire at Canadian Natural’s Horizon oilsands plant halted production that accounts for about 14 per cent of the company’s total output. Production will increase to 110,000 barrels a day from 55,000 barrels a day in the second quarter, the energy giant predicted last week.


“Clearly, the fire at Horizon will result in a temporary hit to production and cash flow,” CNRL president Steve Laut said following the release of the company’s quarterly results.

The provincial government expects the production crunch at CNRL’s facility will cost it between $30 million and $40 million in lost royalties this fiscal year.

The cash is desperately needed for a Tory government forecasting a $4.8-billion deficit for 2010-11 and an additional $3.4 billion in red ink in the new 2011-12 budget.

NDP leader Brian Mason said the revenue roller-coaster highlights just how dependent the government is on non-renewable resources, and also the need to increase royalty rates to snare additional one-time petroleum cash.

Royalty breaks to petroleum producers and other corporate tax cuts make it nearly impossible for the government to wean itself off its addiction to energy revenue, he argued.

“They’ve become overly dependent on some of this stuff for their revenues,” Mason said. “Alberta’s revenue stream is less stable and less reliable than in the past, and this is an example of that playing out.”

Calgary Herald with files from Bloomberg

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald


Source http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Alberta+hopes+higher+prices+will+help+offset+costly+supply+hiccups/4392809/story.html#ixzz1FugEBBmW

March 5, 2011

Nigerian Bitumen Deposits to be Exploited for Good Employment


President Goodluck Jonathan said in Akure on Wednesday that the bitumen deposit in Ondo State would be exploited for economic development and employment generation.

The president gave the assurance at the PDP presidential campaign rally in Akure.

Jonathan said his administration would take the economy very seriously to end youth unemployment.

He noted that youths below the age of 30 constituted more than 70 per cent of the Nigerian population, adding that the government would ensure job creation for them through various sectors of the economy.

Specifically, the president said the government would create jobs by providing funds for small and medium scale enterprises, mechanised farming and agro-based industries.

“Investment in the PDP is not wasteful as we will run a government that will not let the people down.

“Roads and other basic infrastructure across the states will be developed in four years,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Vice President Namadi Sambo said their joint candidature was committed to transforming Nigeria.

Sambo noted that none of the presidential candidates for the April polls has experience like Jonathan.

A former governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Agagu, said the Federal Government had invested more than 40 billion dollars on various projects in the state in the last nine years.

He called on the people of the state to vote for Jonathan and Sambo in the April elections for sustainability.

Earlier at the Palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adegboyega Adeshida, Jonathan assured the people that if elected, he would run an open administration devoid of discrimination.

He said that citing of federal projects would be based on the available economic resources of any area.

The president added that there would be a meeting of stakeholders at the state and zonal levels on projects development nationwide.

Adeshida, in his welcome address, congratulated Jonathan on his election as the PDP flag bearer and assured him of his support.

Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2011 P.M.News

Source- http://www.nigeriadailynews.com/news/10223-bitumen-deposits-in-ondo-to-be-exploited-%E2%80%94-jonathan.html

March 4, 2011



Concerned about a world strangled by plastic, Dr. R. Vasudevan, tells how he adds value to the waste by using it in laying all -weather roads

After the city's rain-fed potholes, the transition to smooth roads within the campus of the Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE) is more than a treat. The man behind the tar-topped tracks, is known as Madurai's ‘Plastic Road Man'.

Always sporting a striking namam on his forehead, he is as much at ease when he experiments with chemicals in the science lab, holding beakers over flames as under a peepul tree when he talks with a bunch of students at lunch break, teaching them shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita.

He could easily be mistaken for a Sanskrit pundit if you heard him quote the holy text as a solution to any problem in the world. Mesmerized students remain tuned in to his discourse. Ever since he joined TCE in 1975, he has carried the Gita as a manual for leading life and voluntarily conducted classes uninterrupted for 36 years.

But Dr. R. Vasudevan, Dean and Head of the Chemistry Department, is better known as a man with a mission, and . “Clean India” is his campaign. The low -profile professor says, “I want to change the general garbage culture of the people.”

After a decade's hard work and persistent efforts, his simple invention of a technology to use -- plastic waste to lay roads, patented by TCE, finally got a shot in the arm last month with the Centre approving its wider application.

The day we met Dr. Vasudevan, the skies burst open. Yet, students assembled in his office room for the ‘Gita class'. And it turned out to be a lucky hour. The professor, at his table cluttered with samples of bitumen blocks, was waving a special gazette notification of the Ministry of Environment & Forests dated 4th February, 2011, directing all municipal authorities across the country to “encourage use of plastic waste by adopting suitable technology such as in road construction...”

Dr. Vasudevan was elated. “This is the first response of its kind to waste management.,”

It was in 2002 that Dr. Vasudevan laid the first plastic tar road within the TCE campus. It remains intact. His interest in the subject began when he heard a doctor on a TV programme mistakenly sayingthat plastic “dissolved” in water bodies and caused pollution. “It set me thinking … after all, plastic's raw material is petroleum only. I immediately came to my lab and started mixing some waste plastic in heated bitumen (tar).” And there and then was born a new idea.

When then President Dr. A.P.J. Kalam visited TCE in 2001, the professor presented his project on the good bonding and binding factor of plastic and its potential use as a coating over pebbles for laying roads. He recalls with a gentle smile, “he told me, one day your test will become the convention. Don't worry if people don't approve or get convinced. You just do your work at your place. As a sample, lay a plastic road within your campus first. Once the results are there to see, people will come automatically.”

Dr. Kalam's words proved prophetic. With full support from the college correspondent Mr. Karumuttu T. Kannan, Dr. Vasudevan laid the first 60-foot -long plastic road within the campus. “Application of knowledge is very important,” he says. “We learn and know so many things but on most occasions fail to see how and where our knowledge could be implemented. That is wisdom.”

Getting his technology patented was the next hurdle. After four years and numerous visits to the Chennai office, the technology was registered in 2006. “An officer advised me that I should not apply for the product's patent because it is not new, the road is already there. Instead, I should patent the process,” he says. “God has always sent the right people to me at the right time.”

Though plastic waste has been a nagging problem for civic authorities, with thousands of tonnes of garbage generated every day, it took years of discussion for Dr. Vasudevan to be acknowledged by organizations like the Central Pollution Control Board, National Rural Roads Development Agency, Central Road Research Institute, Indian Centre for Plastic Environment and the National Highways Authority of India. In every forum, he painstakingly explained and demonstrated the benefits of road laying using a polymer-aggregate-bitumen mix.

Even as his technology was being debated in the government, Dr. Vasudevan started receiving offers from private companies both within and outside the country to sell the patent. “But I think it my duty to serve my country first and therefore, I gave it free to the Indian Government.” What he laments is the slow progress, “the plastic binding with bitumen is an ideal option for roads that bear the brunt of torrential rains.” Also, he underlines, if citizens treat their waste properly by segregating and collecting the plastic, the country will soon be free of plastic litter and boast safer and better roads.

His department is now evolving a cold process technology as well. The Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned a ‘green chemistry' project at TCE for producing a 'cold emulsion' to coat the aggregate instead of using hot bitumen. Such a process would be highly useful in laying roads in cold regions. Widener University, Philadelphia, has already shown interest in the cold process.

With a low- cost technology that finds a ready solution for plastic waste management, Dr. Vasudevan's invention undoubtedly offers a lesson for all municipal corporations. “It serves the twin purpose of increasing quality of roads and also solves the problem of plastic disposal. The vision should be to eventually replace all existing roads and lay every new road with this technology,” says the professor.

The benefits

* Low cost (using less bitumen)

* Simple technology

* Spot use of waste plastic

* Water proof roads that last up to 60 years

* Doubling of road strength

* Higher load- carrying capacity

* Almost zero maintenance

* A new surface without rutting, cracking or potholes.

What it takes

To lay one km of plastic road 3.75 m wide, 9 tonnes of bitumen and 1 tonne of waste plastic are required for coating.

A normal road requires, 10 tonnes bitumen for each kilometer. So a plastic road saves 1 tonne bitumen for every kilometre laid. Each tonne of bitumen costs Rs. 50,000 to 60,000.

One tonne of plastic waste is equivalent to 10 lakh carry bags.

Chocolate and biscuit wrappers, tea cups, polythene bags or any other form of waste plastic, can simply be shredded and used. Different types of plastics collected need not be segregated.

To make enough plastic available, people need to sell their domestic plastic wastes instead of throwing them into the dust-bin.

Nearly 4,000 self-help groups and hundreds of schools in Tamil Nadu are now involved in collecting and shredding waste plastic.

The patented process

The gravel is heated at 170 degrees C and shredded plastic sprayed over the hot stone aggregate. The plastic instantly melts and coats the gravel without releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere. Immediately, bitumen heated at 160 degree C is mixed at 155 degrees C and used for laying the road. Molten plastic with liquid tar has proven to be more resistant to water permeation, heat and high pressure than the normal mixture of stone aggregate and bitumen, without the plastic.

Plastic roads laid

With the TCE's patented technology under Dr. Vasudevan's guidance:

*The first ever plastic road (60 feet long) was laid inside the TCE campus in 2002, followed by a 700 m road in Lenin Nagar, Kovilpatti, the same year.

*Officially, the industrial town of Salem was the first in the country to lay a 350 m road on an experimental basis using plastic tar technology in 2004.

*In Tamil Nadu, the District Rural Development Agency laid 1,200 km of plastic roads in 29 districts across the state under the TN Urban Local Bodies Road Development Project 2005.

*One km towards Vilacheri from near Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College, Madurai, in March 2005.

* Sri Sundareswara Vidyasala Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Attukulam village near Melur , Madurai, has a road entirely laid with plastic waste collected by the students.

*Several plastic roads were laid in Wellington, Chennai, Puducherry, Hindpur (Andhra Pradesh), Kolkata, Goa, Mumbai, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Vadakara, Calicut, Kothamangalam and Kochi) in the last few years.

Plans are afoot to lay demonstration roads in Hyderabad.; Mumbai Municipal Corporation now proposes to lay longer stretches of tar-polymer roads across Mumbai. The Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company, a Tata enterprise, approached Dr. Vasudevan last November for using plastic waste in laying roads in Jamshedpur.

Source - The Hindu
http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article1506268.ece

March 1, 2011

Shell Expanding Bitumen Business in Australia

Shell Australia today announced two major investments in bitumen facilities to help meet demand across eastern Australia.


The investment will help Shell supply additional bitumen for road reconstruction efforts in southeast Queensland and northwest Victoria that is expected to last for a number of years.


The combined investment of $27 million will create construction jobs in both Brisbane and Geelong, while increased supply will help service civil construction customers into the future.


Shell’s marketing general manager Craig James announced the construction of a new bitumen facility at Shell’s Geelong Refinery, and an upgrade of existing facilities at the company’s Pinkenba site on the Brisbane River.


He said the $20 million investment in Geelong would include four new hot bitumen tanks and a new road gantry for loading trucks.


He added the $7 million investment in Shell’s Pinkenba bitumen facility would take advantage of the import capability of Shell’s new wharf on the Brisbane River, and would double the plant’s capacity.


“We view bitumen as a key growth area for Shell’s Australian business and these facilities will improve supply to civil contractor customers for many years to come,” Mr James said.


“In a country as large as Australia there is a high demand for the bitumen used to construct roads, but we are expecting a spike in local demand caused by flood damage that will last for some years.”


Mr James said that as well as expanding Shell’s bitumen capacity, the upgrades will support local manufacture of specialty products such as Shell’s Multiphalte range - the leading product for Australian airport runway surfacing. This product was recently used on both Adelaide and Melbourne airport upgrades.


“Shell is working with civil contractors and road authorities across Australia to bring technologically advanced bitumen products to market,” he said.


Mr James added the bitumen investments were part of a much larger capital program to support Shell’s aggressive plans to grow its marketing business in Australia.


Shell has operated in Australia for 110 years, and is the leading local supplier of bitumen. The company also supplies fuel to the aviation and marine industries, chemicals, lubricants and fuel to 950 Shell branded service stations across the nation.


Source - Shell
Courtesy - http://www.pennenergy.com/index/petroleum/display/6786593152/articles/pennenergy/petroleum/refining/2011/02/shell-plans_major.html