September 28, 2012

Aspahlt Recycling

Much Asphalt operates in the bituminous industry and is a commercial supplier of hot and cold asphalt products to the road construction industry. It commissioned its second set of mobile crushing and screening equipment at its Benoni site last year.

The equipment, valued at R4-million, is used to recycle road millings and waste material.
Much Asphalt technical manager Brian Neville says the impact crusher and mobile screen, supplied by Pilot Crushtec, have been put to work on a 300 000 t stockpile of reclaimed asphalt from various sites, including the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

“We achieve about a 95% yield of recycled material from the stockpile and 20% of this is in the asphalt mixes, saving on the costs of raw materials and energy costs, while reducing the pressure on natural resources and our carbon footprint. “Even taxpayers benefit, as they ulti- mately pay for the construction of roads,” he says.

Added benefits of recycling include an enhanced ability to produce warm mix asphalt using a foaming technology, which allows for higher percentages of recycled material than traditional hot mix asphalt. Also, warm mix asphalt allows for lower mixing and laying temperatures, resulting not only in reduced consumption of fossil fuels but also in lower levels of carbon dioxide and harmful vapours being released.

“The crushing and screening machines run between five and six hours a day, producing about 90 t of recycled asphalt an hour,” says Neville.

Much Asphalt started recycling road material in 2007 at its Roodepoort plant, which is capable of screening material at a rate of 250 t an hour into two graded frac- tions and one oversize material.
“Our future endeavour is to have a recycling capability at all of our 16 plants countrywide,” concludes Neville.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

Bitumen Cartel Fined Again by EU

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) won a 25 percent reduction in a fine for its role in a bitumen industry cartel, while other members including Total SA (FP) and Royal BAM Group NV lost their appeals at a European Union court. 

Shell’s fine was cut to 81 million euros ($104.2 million) from 108 million euros because antitrust regulators failed to show that the company “played the role of instigator and leader in the infringement,” the EU General Court ruled today.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, in September 2006 fined 14 companies 266.7 million euros for fixing the price of bitumen, a petroleum byproduct used to make asphalt, over eight years on the Dutch market. Shell, whose fine was increased for being a repeat offender, received the biggest penalty. BP Plc (BP/) escaped a fine because it cooperated in the probe, the commission said.

Dutch companies Ballast Nedam (BALNE) NV, Heijmans NV (HEIJM), Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin NV, Royal BAM Group and Swedish company Nynas AB lost their appeals today. Only a subsidiary of Ballast Nedam had its liability for its fine reduced, while the total fine on its parent was upheld today.
Total was fined 20.25 million euros, the third highest penalty in the cartel, behind Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin, which was told to pay 27.4 million euros.

Today’s ruling “proved that the decision to appeal in 2006 was well founded,” Wendel Broere, a spokesman for Shell in The Hague, said by phone.

Shell ‘Regrets’

“Shell does recognize that competition law was infringed” and “regrets this,” said Broere. “Shell is committed to complying with competition laws and we have an extensive compliance program.”

Total, Europe’s third biggest oil company, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment to its press office.

The penalties were part of a crackdown on the construction industry by the commission and regulators in EU countries such as Finland and Sweden.

The commission said at the time that the Dutch cartel was led by Shell and Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin. It was made up of eight suppliers and six purchasers of road bitumen in the Netherlands, according to the commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

Source- Businessweek

September 26, 2012

Explosion at Asphalt Plant

A LARGE explosion rocked the industrial estate off Boundary Road at Narangba early this afternoon as flames engulfed a bitumen tanker at the Boral Asphalt plant.

A nearby tanker containing fuel, LPG and more bitumen was also in danger of catching alight before fire crews brought the blaze under control.
 Rowan Carnes was working at the mill across the road when he heard the explosion."It sounded like a tyre had popped on my forklift," he said.
"Next thing you know all the boys were pointing over this way and there's big smoke and flames coming out.
"It was quite large. Everyone in the whole mill, right across to the other side of the mill, could feel the concussion from it."
Karen Wintle said via facebook that she felt the impact at her work kilomtres away in Deception Bay.
There were 21 workers on-site when the explosion took place, including six in the immediate vicinity of the blaze, but none were injured.
The Boral workers were all evacuated along with more than 100 employees from neighbouring plants.
A Department of Community Services spokesperson confirmed the explosion took place at about 12.20pm.
Several police and ambulance vehicles as well as 25 fire-fighters attended in four fire trucks rushed to the scene.
Acting Inspector Jeff Barker, from Burpengary Command, said crews were able to see large volumes of smoke en-route and the tanker was well engulfed when they first arrived."There had actually been an explosion in the bitumen tank, which contained approximately 8000 litres of bitumen," he said.
"We were able to contain the fire in the tanker and therefore bring it under control."It's all been contained within the site. We've had environmental agencies here to control the runoff."Act Insp Barker said the workers "in close proximity" to the explosion were "very lucky" to escape.
"The explosion was quite substantial as far as I understand, with a fireball," he said.
"(There was) thick black smoke, we were lucky that the wind direction took it away from any neighbouring properties."
Superintendent David Tucker from Redcliffe Police District said it was still unclear what caused the explosion and Boral would be fully investigating the incident."Everything has the potential (to become very serious) but obviously the plant has acted appropriately under the circumstances and all the plans have been enacted beautifully."

September 25, 2012

Canada's Fuel Cost to Raise with the Pipelines ?

Comments made by the late Peter Lougheed hung over public hearings Monday about a pipeline that would ship bitumen from Alberta's oilsands to Asian markets.Both sides in the debate tried to claim the support of the former Alberta premier who died Sept. 13.

Rick Neufeld, lawyer for pipeline proponent Enbridge (TSX:ENB), suggested Lougheed backed the line's construction."In one of his last interviews, didn't he say the (Northern Gateway) pipeline was essential for Alberta?" he asked while cross-examining Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
In response, McGowan suggested Lougheed was sympathetic to the federation's concerns that too many oilsands projects were exporting raw bitumen and robbing Albertans of some of the benefits they would reap from upgrading it in the province.

"Lougheed took an activist approach to ensure we had a value-added industry," McGowan told the National Energy Board. "It wouldn't have been here without government policy and intervention."

The federation's previous testimony that the $6-billion project would make it harder to create upgrading and refining jobs in Alberta, as well as increase fuel prices throughout Canada, came under repeated attack in Monday's cross-examination.

Neufeld pointed out there is no shortage of bitumen currently available for anyone interesting in building a refinery. Nor has Calgary-based Enbridge ever said it would restrict access to bitumen.

He disputed the notion that pipelines encourage the export of raw natural resources. He noted that the Transmountain pipeline originally built to transport crude now moves both oil and refined products.
McGowan responded that the labour group believes projects such as Northern Gateway help price Alberta out of the market for new industrial development. He said the pipeline would only help speed oilsands development, creating demands for labour and materials that drive up their cost.

Neufeld also grilled federation adviser Robyn Allan over her testimony that the 550,000-barrel-a-day pipeline would drive up fuel costs in the rest of Canada.

"So if Canadian producers get higher netbacks in Edmonton, refineries will have to pay more in New Brunswick?" he asked.

Allan responded that oil shipped to Asia would no longer be available to North Americans, which will eventually raise its price.

"When you take oil out of North America and take it to Asia the price increase is going to affect all markets in the long run," she said.

Enbridge analysts have argued that the price of oil is set globally and the Gateway pipeline wouldn't change the price of the Venezuelan, European and Middle Eastern oil on which refineries in Central Canada rely.
In afternoon testimony, federation lawyer Leanne Chahley revisited potential Chinese ownership shares in the pipeline.

Cross-examining a panel of energy producers who hope to ship on Gateway, Chahley pointed out that one of them — Nexen — is being bought out by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corp. Nexen holds one of 10 shares that give it an option for a five per cent ownership stake.

MEG Energy — owner of another of the ownership options — is about 15 per cent owned by the Chinese corporation.

Chahley also pointed out that Total E and P Canada, another hopeful Gateway shipper, is involved with two developments that include some level of Chinese investment.

Source- The Tyee

September 18, 2012

Bangladesh Acts Against Bitumen Scandal

The Anti Corruption Commission on Monday filed 10 graft cases against 13 people, including six Jamuna Oil Company officials, for irregularities and corruption in the distribution of Bitumen.

The cases were filed at Double Mooring Police Station by four officials of the ACC's Chittagong office, the station's Inspector (investigation) Satyajit Barua told

The others accused in the case are contractors, who in connivance with the officials, got themselves allocation for 55.15 metric tonnes of Bitumen worth Tk 79.4 million using 'phoney' work order that violates the company's guidelines.

They bought the bitumen at low prices, syndicating with the officials, and then sold it off in the open market at elevated prices, which has been proved in the commission's initial probe, the cases details add.

The accused Jamuna Oil officials are Deputy General Manager (Engine) Mahidur Rahman, DGM (PR) Mohammad Masud Karim, Assistant GM (Audit) Mohammad Khasru Azad, AGM (TS) Sabur Khan, Deputy Managers (Sales) Mohammad Amjad Hossain and Mohammad Yusuf Khandker.

"Other than them, Moaz Enterprise owner Mosharraf Hossain, Jaman Enterprise's Nurujjaman, Mahbub Enterprise's Mohammad Mahbub Hossain, S A Enterprise's Ali Ashraf, ZR Enterprise's Selim Hossain, Iqbal Brothers' Iqbal Hossain and Hassan Enterprise's Mohammad Hassan, all contractors, were also charged."

ACC Assistant Director Morshed Alam filed three cases, Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) Khalilur Rahman Shikder filed three, and DADs Saifullah Mohammad Imran and Fakhrul Islam filed two each.

The plaintiffs said in their cases that the accusations were found to be true in the probe that lasted from November last year to this year's February.

Source- BD News

September 17, 2012

Plastic with Bitumen

Municipal bodies across the country are struggling to deal with plastic waste, but Chennai Corporation has emerged as something of a role model for plastic waste collection and recycling.

Corporation officials said they collected almost 615 tonnes of plastic from various parts of the city since February. The civic body is relaying nearly 1,200 stretches of road with a combination of plastic and bitumen. But a shortage of shredding machines and malfunctioning devices has meant that the corporation could only shred 39 tonnes of plastic for the road tops against a target of 800 tonnes.

A senior corporation official said the civic body has saved more than 600 tonnes of plastic waste. "Our shredding machines have unfortunately developed some technical glitches so we have only been able to shred a small fraction of the plastic we collected ," he said. Plastic waste has to be shredded before it is mixed with the bitumen .

Corporation commissioner D Karthikeyan said he has instructed all zonal offices to increase shredding of plastic collected. "We have decided to use the plastic-bitumen mix in more interior roads and on bus routes," he said. "We will fix the machines that are not working so we can use the plastic that is piling up in the zonal offices."

Three of the civic body's 15 zones, Manali, Teynampet and Adyar, have not yet started shredding and 73.84 tonnes of plastic collected is being stored in the offices of these zones. Other zones like Tiruvotriyur, Thiru-Vi-Ka Nagar, Kodambakkam, Alandur and Perungudi have shredded less than 1 tonne of plastic waste each.

Anna Nagar zone has collected the most plastic waste, with nearly 112 tonnes, but Royapuram has shredded 11 tonnes, more than any other zone. 

Source- Times of India

September 14, 2012

Moscow Gearing Up Bitumen Production

Gazprom Neft is investing 14 billion rubles ($446 million) in cleaning up The Moscow Oil Refinery, the company said Thursday.

The spending in the period from 2010 to 2013 includes mechaniсal scrubbers, upgrades of bitumen and sulphur production facilities, and a cleanup of oil-contaminated land, Interfax reported.
Plant managers claim the cleanup will leave 500 hectares of the Kapotnya district, on the city's south eastern edge, pollution free.

During a visit to the site by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin Thursday, the company said that new closed-treatment units due to go into operation in the third quarter would raise the quality of wastewater treatment sixfold and slash harmful emissions by 97 percent.
The refinery on Moscow's southeastern outskirts is also set to launch a new bitumen production unit, producing up to 1.7 million tons of bitumen a year.

Last month the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use fined the company 150,000 rubles ($4,700) for failure to comply with environmental protection laws. Meanwhile, prosecutors lodged a request with the Lyublinsky District Court to order Gazprom Neft to clean up pollution at the refinery.

The moves came after inspectors found "excessively high concentrations" of oil products both on the territory of the refinery and the surrounding area.

In May, the agency said residents of the Kapotnya district were breathing some of the most polluted air in the city after an investigation into complaints about smells from the refinery revealed unusually high levels of hydrogen sulfide.

Source- Moscow Times

September 12, 2012

Bitumen - One Delivery Many Claims
Bitumen Packed in Drums and Polybags for Delivery
Blame bumpy rides and large potholes on city roads on a bitumen scam. An AMC inquiry into the poor condition of some of the city's roads revealed some contractors were not just cutting corners but also submitting the same bitumen purchase bills for multiple road contracts.

"Preliminary investigations suggest that unscrupulous contractors are not adhering to quality standards specified and over-charging the corporation by submitting copies of the same bitumen bills for multiple projects," said a senior AMC official.

"This is not all, none of the contractors quote the same price of constructing one kilometre of road. This is because AMC's contracts have no standardized rates for road construction and constractors exploit this condition and bank crores of the taxpayers' money," says a senior AMC official.

Beside this, another major flaw is that, though mandatory, no contractor mentions the date of construction of the road or even submits a timely report of the repairs carried during the five-year guarantee period. "The guarantee term ends when a gas agency or a telephone company digs up the road. The bill of repairs is then borne by AMC and partly by the company which dig up the road, instead of the contractor. The municipal corporation has lost crores to such careless digging," adds the official.

Engineering experts suggest that contractors be made liable to repair roads even after such digging work and the money be claimed from the companies that dug up the road.

Source- Times of India

September 10, 2012

Less Bitumen More Trouble

Road experts have said that the prime reason for the Mangalwari road overbridge top surface wearing off is that less than the specified quantity of bitumen was used while constructing it.

Civil engineer Satyawan Bhojwani, who is having over 50 years of experience in the field of road construction, and Jan Akrosh secretary Ravindra Kaskhedikar visited the ROB on Saturday and tried to find out the reason for damage to the approach ramp.

After inspecting the ROB, Bhojwani came to the conclusion that the approach ramps of ROB started peeling off due to less use of tack coat used to keep the bitumen intact. "It also seems that the construction company failed to control the temperature of bitumen," Bhojwani said.

What's worse, new roads are not being built to withstand the monsoon's force.
TOI first reported how the Rs20 crore Mangalwari ROB, overseen by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), started peeling off bitumen just before it was opened for public.

PWD minister Jaidatt Kshirsagar immediately ordered an inquiry. However, the contractor, Nagarjuna Construction Company, was asked to repair the damage.

Bhojwani said the situation could have been averted if the site engineer of the contractor and MSRDC engineer monitored the ROB's construction.

"Now the contractor concerned should undertake the recarpet work when it's dry, the senior civil engineer said, adding the period after October will be the best time to carry out the work.
Meanwhile, Jan Akrosh will submit a memorandum to MSRDC superintending engineer Jeevan Nikose over the shoddy Mangalwari ROB construction work. "In fact, the construction of ROB is anomaly and it should not be tolerated as it is being constructed from public money," said Kaskhedikar.

Source- Times of India

September 6, 2012

Asphalt Association

Promotion of asphalt and bitumen bound products within the pavement industry
Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA) promotes sustainable use and growth of bitumen products in Australia's pavement industry. 
Formed as a non profit organisation in 1969, The Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA) promotes the economic use of asphalt and bitumen bound products which are based on sound technical and commercial grounds. With a progressive and innovative approach, AAPA throughout it’s history has maintained it's major objective as being the continued improvement in Australia’s pavement industry by promoting the sustainable use and growth of asphalt and bitumen based products.

AAPA membership is open to all organisations involved in the industry which includes suppliers of bitumen and asphalt as well as sprayed surface operators. Local governments and state government road authorities are also invited.

The association’s activities fit into five categories:

  • Enhancing industry performance
  • Product positioning
  • Technology and research
  • Education and training
  • Health, safety and environment.
At all times the AAPA and it’s members will act professionally with a great deal of honesty and integrity in the hope that the associations reputation is always kept at a high standard.

Source- Infolink

Another Bitumen Scam

The CBI on Wednesday attached property of an engineer of the road construction department for his alleged involvement in a case of bitumen scam

A team of CBI attached the property of engineer Vindhyachal Singh in connection with the scam worth Rs 1.24 crore.

A sitting Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) MLA, Satyendra Nath Tiwary is already in jail in connection with the case.

He was accused of helping Kalawati Construction in withdrawing Rs 1.24 crore by producing 61 fake invoices to show procurement of bitumen for construction of around 30 kilometres long road in Daltongunj division in 2004.

The JVM-P legislator is also the director of Kalawati Constructions."The case (RC/ 14) was registered against Kalawati construction in 2009. Chargesheet was filed in the case in December, 2010.

The engineer was absconding and so his property at Bariyatu area was attached," sources said.

Source- Times of India

September 5, 2012

Bitumen in the Pipeline

Canada’s Energy Resources Conservation Board approved Enbridge Inc.’s applications to build and operate two pump stations and a pipeline transporting diluted bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands to Sherwood Park, Alta.

The pipeline’s proposed 385-km route generally parallels several existing pipelines. It will have an initial capacity of 400,000 b/d diluted bitumen containing no hydrogen sulfide.
A number of parties objected to the applications, but after Enbridge altered the pipeline’s proposed route, several landowners withdrew their objections.

Only one objection remained at the beginning of the hearing, from a party whose land had been included on the originally proposed route.

Especially favorable conditions could see production of bitumen from the Canadian oil sands peak at 6.8 million b/d in 2038, according to a study earlier this year by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
The reference-case scenario of the same study had regional pipeline capacity able to handle all major oil sands regions except Athabasca beyond 2030, with Athabasca output exceeding pipeline capacity by 2015.

by  Christopher E. Smith at