November 30, 2012

Hot Climate Melts the Bitumen

A south-west Queensland mayor says heatwave conditions in the remote region are making it tough for outdoor workers.Bulloo Mayor John Ferguson says crews working to patch roads near Thargomindah in south-west Queensland have recorded temperatures on the bitumen into the mid 50 degrees Celsius range this week.

Yesterday, it reached 43 degrees in the town and Councillor Ferguson says it has asked its crews to start work early and go home in the middle of the day to avoid heatstroke.
"They were bitumen patching and I think they measured 55 degrees on the bitumen, which is too hot," he said.

"We don't want people going down with heatstroke - it can cause a lot of problems - so we said, 'go home and start early in the morning, knock off at about 11 or so and work that way until the heatwave gets over us'."

He says the heat hit hard and quickly. "We are feeling it - it is tough, particularly for blokes doing bitumen patching or any manual labour," he said.

"You can go down quick - you probably don't realise - you think are going along okay and then all of a sudden you are dehydrated and you start to feel crook and down you go.

"Bushfires are still a big worry with all this heat around."The ground is so hot, you only have to have one dry storm and that's it - you're gone again and you'll have bushfires everywhere.

 Source -By Chrissy Arthur

November 21, 2012

Bitumen Spill in Newzeland

Five tonnes of 140C bitumen have spilled from a factory tank in Auckland this morning where authorities are working to clean the hot mess.

Firefighters discovered the spill at Thermakraft Industries on Turin Place in Otara after responding to an alarm about 9.50am.

The boiling bitumen covered an area about 15m by 25m inside the factory and leaked to an area about 10m by 10m outside, fire service communications shift manager Megan Ruru said.
"The fire service has attempted to contain the spill by covering it with dirt," she said.
"We weren't told of any persons inside the building at the time or whether any persons were hurt or injured.
"A check of the premises was done to confirm that the air inside the building was within the safe exposure limits, which it was, and then we've handed the scene over to the Department of Labour, the city council and the building owners."

It is not known what was inside the building or if any damage was caused by the boiling bitumen.
Some of the spilled bitumen leaked into waterways before its spread was stopped, Auckland City Council spokeswoman Lydia Blatch said.

A pollution response officer from the council is at the scene, where temporary containment barriers have been set up to prevent further pollution reaching waterways.

Ms Blatch said the bitumen, which solidifies "reasonably quickly'', was believed to have been contained.
Ms Blatch said the bitumen that had entered a nearby stream had solidified.

"We don't know exactly how much [reached the stream] but the bitumen is contained and is currently being removed from the stream,'' she said.

 By Kieran Campbell   - APNZ

November 10, 2012

Sturgeon Refinery given the go-ahead

A major announcement was made Thursday, when it comes to bitumen refining in our province. Construction for phase one of a new refinery in Alberta has been given the go-ahead.

The Sturgeon Refinery will be built in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, about 45 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, near Redwater. The plant will take in approximately 50,000 barrels of raw bitumen per day, and transform it into diesel fuel and other materials.

"Psychologically, it's a resurrection of Alberta's ability to not just extract bitumen and natural resources but, to process it here at home," said Neil Shelly, Executive Director, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association.

"It helps us find another market for the bitumen that is produced in this province, and so, not only is it important to export bitumen, it's important to upgrade it here in Alberta, create the jobs, capture the value here in Alberta," added Energy Minister Ken Hughes.

The Heartland region saw what Shelly calls a 'gold rush' between 2004 and 2008, when eight similar projects were slated for the area. However, those projects quickly began to fall off the table due to rising costs and the recession.

"We went from sort of a boom to a bust with regard to development," Shelly said adding, "Things have been very quiet on the front since then."

North West Upgrading has partnered with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. in the joint venture. A 30-year agreement is in place so that 75 percent of the bitumen needed will come from the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission, an agent of the province.

"The province went through a tender process to try and find somebody who would maximize the value, the royalty of the bitumen they produce, and we were lucky enough to win that process," said North West Upgrading board chairman Ian MacGregor.

Construction on the $5.7 billion project is set to begin in the spring of 2013, and will take three years to complete. Shelly says the plant will have a huge impact on Alberta's economy.

"During the construction phase we're going to have, probably, an average of 3,000 to 4,000 workers on site, and those workers will come from the local community around here, not just in the Heartland region but, in the entire Edmonton region," said Shelly.

"This is a very advanced thing that we're building, and the people that work on it are going to be some of the highest order, technical people that are employed in Alberta," added MacGregor.

Once the plant is up and running, about 400 permanent jobs will be created.

"Conservative figures show that for every direct employee it creates two spinoff jobs in the supply and service sector," explained Shelly.

This could eventually become a three-phase project. Should the other phases of the facility get built, the refinery will have the capacity to process 150,000 barrels of bitumen a day.

November 6, 2012

President Woos Voters with Bitumen Roads

I’ll build more roads if you vote for me - Mahama tells Upper West residents

President John Mahama is promising the people of the Upper West Region massive road construction in all corners of the region if he wins the December election.

The President admits the Upper West region seriously lags behind as compared to other regions in terms of good roads.

It still remains the only region where there are no tarred or bitumen roads to link it to neighboring regions.

Addressing various rallies at Funsi, Issa, Nadowli and Wechaiu, President Mahama assured the people of making road issues a thing of the past when given the nod.

In a related development, President John Mahama Monday cut sod for work to begin on the construction of a 161 KV transmission line project for Tumu-Han and Wa. This will close the northern loop of Techiman-Tamale-Bolgatanga-Tumu, Wa and Sawla.

The project is expected to improve upon system performance.

According to engineers, this will also enhance the reliability of supply to the Northern parts of Ghana. The 75 million dollar project is funded by Societe General and GRIDCO.

President Mahama says the project goes to confirm his government’s determination to make Ghana net exporter of power.

Chiefs in the various communities continued to openly declare their support for the President and his party. They promised to do their best to ensure the party remains in power. One of them is the chief of

Source- MyJoyonline

November 2, 2012

Bitumen Shortage Paves way for Concrete Roads

As bitumen shortages continue to impact on the road construction industry, construction company Basil Read believes the use of concrete is a viable alternative construction material that offers long-term benefits.

Basil Read is nearing completion of the N12 section between Tom Jones and Rietfontein, after experiencing delays as a result of steel-rebar shortages in April 2011, followed by a bitumen shortage in October 2011.
“We were given 30 months to complete the project but, because of major material shortages, we are now on 39 months and hoping to complete the project in February or March next year.

“Although we get the contract time extension for these force majeure events, we do not get any cost recovery. The inconvenience to the travelling public is also enormous, not to mention economic costs to the region in terms of time lost in not travelling this section during the delay period,” says Basil Read roads division MD Dave Bennett.

He points out that there is a severe bitumen shortage in South Africa, which has had drastic implications for the roads sector during the past year.

“The road construction industry requires about 1 000 t/d of bitumen to maintain the roads in the country; however, only 30 t/d to 70 t/d is being produced.”

Transport Minister Ben Martins told Engineering News in August that the primary reason for the shortages was that oil companies were experiencing unplanned shutdowns at their refineries. Refineries also did not have sufficient storage capacity to maintain minimum bitumen reserves during shutdowns.

Bennett states that concrete, although it currently may seem expensive, is a viable option to mitigate the impact of bitumen shortages in the road construction sector.
“Ultrathin reinforcement concrete was used in the construction of Basil Read’s section of the N12,” he adds.

Ultrathin Reinforcement Concrete
The ultrathin reinforcement concrete technology was developed based on the observations of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) consultant Adrian Bergh following a visit to an experimental thin-concrete road, which was 100 mm thick and consisted of unreinforced and mesh-reinforced sections, while he attended the second low-volume roads conference in Iowa, in the US in 2001.
He was impressed by the performance and quality of the mesh-reinforced section after 15 years of traffic, compared with that of unreinforced sections.

In 2001, the CSIR experimented with this technology in Krugersdorp and its performance has been remarkable, as the road is still holding up well. A decision was then taken to promote the associated technology through the construction of 50-mm-thick ultrathin reinforced concrete pavement in roads.
After determining the success of the technology, the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, decided to use it for its road upgrade projects.

The South African National Roads Agency then authorised the implementation of the technology on the upgraded N12 section, undertaken by Basil Read.

“Continuosly reinforced concrete pavements will provide a longer road life span, while reducing the need for rehabilitation on the N12,” says Bennett.

He believes that, from a construction point of view, this technology will provide the industry with more productivity. It is also likely to create more jobs in the industry.

“With more research being done on this technology and the industry being educated on its feasibility and qualities, I believe this should be implemented across the industry,” states Bennett.

Meanwhile, he points out that Basil Read’s roads division has enough work for the rest of this year. The company has also secured various projects for 2013 and has started to look for contracts for 2014.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
 By: Zandile Mavuso

November 1, 2012

Hard to predict Bitumen Demand

Various government agencies including the Department of Roads, Department of Irrigation, and Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, have not responded to the proposal sent by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) regarding the supply of bitumen.

The corporation had, some six months back, sent letters to those agencies asking them to inform NOC about the consumption pattern and tentative consumption amount of bitumen and other products.

“They are potential buyers of bitumen that NOC is planning to supply to,” said spokesperson at the corporation Mukunda Prasad Dhungel, adding that NOC will write to them once again since it is trying to diversify its business by adding the trade of lube oil, bitumen and other petro products.

Business diversification could help lower NOC’s losses since it can utilise the profit earned from those products to reduce the loss on other products.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), sole supplier of petroleum products to NOC, has asked NOC to fix consumption quantity as the price will vary depending on consumption volume, Dhungel added. “But NOC has been failing to send the tentative consumption quantity to IOC because there has been no response from the agencies so far.” NOC will hold meetings with them to get a clear picture about the purchase of bitumen.

Source- The Himalayan Times