December 24, 2013

Kazakhstan Launches Bitumen Plant

Kazakhstan has commissioned a new plant for production of road bitumen at Aktau Plastics Plant (Aktau bitumen plant) that was constructed by a group of companies KazMunaiGas.

The company reported that Governor of Mangistau region Alik Aidarbayev, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador of China Le Yucheng, representatives of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan and KazMunaiGas JSC, the management of CITIC Group company, Caspi Bitum JV LLP and other partner companies participated at the event.

"Our plant can almost completely cover the needs of the country in bitumen. This is a joint project of the KazMunaiGas National Company and the Chinese company CITIC Group," Chairman of the Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries JSC Dauletkerey Ergaliev said.

The plant will produce about 400,000 tons of oxidized and 120,000 tons of modified road bitumen, as well as 15,000 tons of gasoline fraction and 230,000 tons of kerosene and diesel fraction, 220,000 tons of vacuum gas oil.

To avoid the loss of quality of bitumen while transporting it to the asphalt paving place, Aktau bitumen plant provides innovative technology for packing bitumen into a disposable shipping container of two types - Big Bag (1000 kilograms) and plastic bags (40 kilograms).

The use of packed cold bitumen will not only keep the original physicochemical characteristics of the material, but also get savings in asphalt plants by reducing the costs of keeping the molten bitumen in large bitumen storages.
Source- AZERNews

December 5, 2013

Bitumen Production with Low Carbon Footprint

A partnership that plans to build an oilsands refinery northeast of Edmonton says the cost of the project has risen $8.5 billion.

North West Redwater Partnership also said in a news release Wednesday that the startup date for its bitumen upgrader has been pushed back to September 2017 from mid-2016.

When the project was approved in November 2012, the cost was estimated at $5.7 billion.
The partnership, made up of North West Upgrading Inc. and Canadian Natural Upgrading Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSX:CNQ), said the higher cost is "due to a combination of cost inflation and the inability to fully capture certain cost savings initiatives."

It also says that it believes the merits of the project are still positive.

The refinery is expected to 50,000 barrels per day of raw bitumen supplied by Canadian Natural and the Alberta Petroleum and Marketing Commission.

"The toll payers believe, that upon successful completion of the project, this refinery will strengthen their organizations through providing a competitive return on investment and by adding 50,000 barrels per day of bitumen conversion capacity in Alberta which will help improve pricing and reduce pricing volatility on all Western Canadian heavy crude oil that they produce or are entitled to market through royalties," the press release said.

"This project will provide a local market for Alberta oilsands production that is not reliant on export pipelines, and a low carbon solution that will ensure that the CO2 footprint of the products produced by the refinery will be among the lowest in the world."

Source -BrandonSun

November 23, 2013

Buffet Continues to invest in Bitumen

Buffett Increases His Oil Sands Stake With $3.45 Billion Exxon Mobil Investment

Ron Daems, President of Strata Oil & Gas Inc., discusses how Warren Buffett's latest oil investment affects shareholders

It has now been revealed that Warren Buffett's oil sands exposure has increased again, with his 40.1 million share purchase of Exxon Mobil, one of the world's leading producers and a major player in Alberta's enormous bitumen play through its 70% stake in Imperial Oil.

This is Buffett's second recent high-profile oil investment, the first being in June when Berkshire Hathaway announced it had taken a $500-million stake in Suncor Energy Inc., the world's leading oil sands producer and Canada's largest integrated operator.

Tellingly, Buffett increased his stake in Exxon Mobil right around the time it was acquiring the enormous Clyden in-situ bitumen project from ConocoPhillips - a company whose stock he just sold, reducing his holdings in it by 44 percent.

ExxonMobil/Imperial also owns the Kearl project - another massive Alberta-based bitumen project with 4.6 billion barrels of bitumen resource and a project lifespan of over 40 years. Production is already at 80,000 barrels per day.

In short, Buffett's ExxonMobil stake gives him ownership in Imperial Oil - one of Exxon Mobil's jewels-in-the-crown, partly because of its enormous Canadian oil sands position.
Ron Daems, President of Strata Oil, provided these comments to shareholders:

"Strata Oil views Buffett's increased stake in ExxonMobil as good news for Alberta's bitumen producers, and a real endorsement of the future potential of the resource. Many of the leading 'Carbonate Triangle' companies have already attracted the investment dollars of some of the world's major investment institutions including Warburg Pincus, Blackstone Capital, and Goldman Sachs. But there's no doubt that Buffett's $3.45 billion stake in ExxonMobil/Imperial and his earlier $500 million stake in oil-sands producer Suncor is the kind of good news that really bodes well for Alberta's bitumen production," said Mr. Daems.

"All these developments mean that momentum is building in Alberta's bitumen carbonate play, and Strata Oil has one of the largest and most attractive projects in the industry. We acquired our project in 2005 and 2006, making us one of the earliest companies to position in the carbonates. Through drilling and geological analysis, we now have a recoverable resource of 887 million barrels of crude, and a total resource of 3.4 billion barrels. We believe our company offers substantial value to its shareholders."

Strata Oil's Cadotte Central project is estimated to have a Net Present Value (NPV) of USD $1.3 billion. Its newly updated total of 887 million bbls of recoverable bitumen provides significant additional upside potential which hasn't been factored into the $1.3 billion calculation yet.

Source- einews

November 9, 2013

Kazakhastan Builds Bitumen Plant

   KAZINFORM In a month, i.e. November 20, there is planned the output of the first trial batch of bitumen at the plant named «Caspi Bitum», that has been stated at the workshop on implementation of the investment project called  "Production of bitumen road ", which was being conducted at the plant.

"Construction of the plant is complete, there is active phase of commissioning. As for power supply all works have been finished. The first batch of oil is to be October 25 and October 30 there will be the second supply.

 Running-in of oil product processing equipment will be carried out on October 26. Prior to October 28 the working committee will finalize its activity, and the state acceptance of the plant is to be take place November 7 this year", said the chairman of the Board of Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries JSC (KPI) Dauletkeri Ergaliev.

Despite these optimistic forecasts, the participants voiced a number of problems and their solutions.

"In February, I was reported on the fact that in April the plant would be launched. Closer to the summer I was again reported on the readiness by September. It is worth remembering that the project is a part of the Republican map of industrialization, it is planned to produce bitumen that is required for development of the manufacturing industry. It will be produced in solid form and not in liquid. There is not yet a plant producing this sort of bitumen on the territory of the CIS", said the mayor of Mangystau region Alik Aidarbayev.

The total cost of the project is subject to payment of interest, since it runs on borrowed funds - 290 million U.S. dollars. The client is «Caspi Bitum» JV, project participants are  « KPI » JSC and "CITIC Kazakhstan", and funding is provided from two sources: 80 % -  "BANK of CHIN" borrowings, and 20 % are the means of the project parties.

Source- Kazinform

November 4, 2013

Recycling Asphalt

The Bother of Bitumen in China under Discussion
   2013-11-03 08:41:45      Web Editor: Xu Fei
Liu Wenjie (male, center), Secretary-General of China Highway and Transportation Society speaks at the International High-level Consultative Meeting of Recycling Use Industry of Asphalt Resource held in Beijing on Saturday, November 2, 2013. [Photo:]
  Anchor: Pollution is frequently associated with highly industrialized areas. However, new research shows that disused bitumen from asphalt roads in any public area may cause severe environmental pollution.
At a recent meeting in Beijing on the asphalt resource recycling use industry, environmental experts discussed a solution to the threat posed by the new pollution source, currently affecting China and other developing countries across the world.

CRI's Katharine Xu has more.

Reporter: Over the past decade, China has been rapidly developing its expressway system. As the number of new roads continues to rise, disused pavements are being dug out with their asphalt surfaces left exposed.
Secretary-General of China Highway and Transportation Society Liu Wenjie revealed at a recent conference on recycling asphalt, that only ten to twenty percent of asphalt from disused county and village roads is being used in the construction of new roads.

At the meeting, Liu warned of the danger of intense pollution from not recycling these asphalt materials.
"In the past, when a road fell into disuse, construction workers would dig it out and lead asphalt waste scattered around. This contributed to China's low efficiency in recycling asphalt resources. This situation mainly existed due to the lack of an asphalt recycling mechanism, and the absence of good innovation technologies at the time. Disused asphalt constitutes not only a huge waste problem but also leads to severe environmental pollution."

Liu Wenjie added that today, remarkable progress has been made in large metropolitan areas in China, with 60 to 70 percent of waste materials from express roads in cities being recycled.
The new development should help further innovations in asphalt-recycling technologies in both government-run laboratories and private high-tech companies.

Yang Linjiang, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zhejiang Lanting Hi-Tech Company promotes asphalt-recycling technology and equipment at the International High-level Consultative Meeting of Recycling Use Industry of Asphalt Resource held in Beijing on Saturday, November 2, 2013. [Photo:]

Zhejiang Lanting Hi-Tech Company has been dedicated to researching asphalt recycling since 2001. Chairman of the Board of Directors Yang Linjiang introduced an asphalt-recycling technology invented by his company. 

"One of my company's main achievements over the past dozen years has been our successful development of a technology that guarantees zero-pollution from a recycling process where disused asphalt remains are burnt twice."

Yang Linjiang also explained that recycled asphalt has been proved to be no less effective than new asphalt material. He promoted his company's technologies and equipment for recycling asphalt in a speech which attracted the attention of both domestic and international experts.  

Adegboyega Ajani, a program officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, speaks at the International High-level Consultative Meeting of Recycling Use Industry of Asphalt Resource held in Beijing on Saturday, November 2, 2013. [Photo:]

Mr. Adegboyega Ajani, a program officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said he hopes such technology may be introduced to other developing countries, including his native country of Nigeria.

"Definitely what have been developed by Lanting high-tech Company is very useful for our program, and also to promote such kind of practices under the south-south cooperation framework in other parts of the world."

At present, Japan and the United States take the lead in recycling road waste: Japan uses 85 percent of recycled road debris for new construction projects while the US uses 80 percent.

The meeting, jointly sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association, aims to promote technologies for recycling asphalt from pavements in China and other developing nations to reduce construction waste and better protect living environments.

For CRI, I'm Katharine Xu.

October 28, 2013

Oilsands do not meet Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets

The federal government has confirmed the fastest-growing sector of the oilsands won’t come under federal environmental assessment, one day after acknowledging it won’t come close to meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.

A final list of the types of projects that will require a federal environmental assessment was released Friday. The list contains no mention of in-situ oilsands mines, which are expected to be the industry’s most common type of development in the future.

“This is the largest single source of (greenhouse gas) growth in the country and yet the federal government is not going to be playing a role there,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace.
On Thursday, Environment Canada released a report concluding that Canada is on pace to get halfway to its 2020 emissions target under the Copenhagen accord.

In-situ mines involve heating underground bitumen deposits enough to soften them so they can be pumped up.In some ways, they are considered more environmentally friendly. They require no vast open pits or lake-sized tailings ponds of toxic water.

Environmentalists have pointed out they still result in habitat fragmentation on the surface through seismic lines and roads to wellheads. But their most significant impact results from heating the bitumen, usually through steam. Generating that steam burns a lot of natural gas, increasing the carbon intensity of the resulting barrel of oil.

The industry’s gradual shift toward in-situ production is generally blamed for a recent rise in the average amount of carbon dioxide released per barrel of oilsands crude. About 80 per cent of the resource can only be recovered using in-situ methods.

Alberta government figures say in-situ production creates anywhere from one to 10 more kilograms of CO2 per barrel than open-pit mining.

Stewart said there are also unanswered questions about some in-situ techniques. He points to a Canadian Natural Resources project that has been leaking bitumen for months near Cold Lake, Alta., despite the company’s attempts to stop it.

Large expansions to existing open-pit mines will still be reviewed. As well, the federal environment minister has discretion to call a review into any project if the minister feels it is warranted. And all new oilsands projects will still be reviewed by Alberta.

Environmental lawyer Melissa Gorrie said the province seems to be tightening its idea of what needs to be reviewed. She said a recent decision means two in-situ projects won’t have any public review at all after the province ruled local aboriginal groups weren’t directly affected by them.

“There’s been a lot of problems even getting hearings triggered for in-situ projects in the province.”
A spokeswoman with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said industry welcomes the finalized list.

“The provincial government will still be doing a review and assessment and it’s equally stringent,” said Geraldine Anderson. “It’s basically a reduction in duplication.”

In background documents, Ottawa says the goal of the changes is to “achieve more predictable and timely project reviews, reduce duplication, strengthen environmental protection and enhance consultation with aboriginal groups.

“The amendments to the regulations ensure federal environmental assessment requirements are focused on those major projects that have the greatest potential for significant adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction.”

Gorrie said it’s a mistake to think in-situ facilities don’t have significant impacts.
“Just because it’s not a big open-pit mine that everybody can see doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant impacts that need to be addressed and require an assessment.”

Source- 680news

October 24, 2013

Bitumen Contamination

Alberta Environment says bitumen leaking on CNRL's Cold Lake lease has entered aquifers and the company must take immediate steps to minimize its migration into subsurface water and soil.

Sticky bitumen, which has oozed to the surface for more than six months, "has entered local non-saline groundwater aquifers, likely contaminating the groundwater," says the 15-page enforcement order issued by Alberta Environment late Monday.

The enforcement order gives the companbitumen moving up through fissures in the rock to the surface.
y permission to drill more wells this winter to test groundwater at the four leak sites and attempt to stop the flow of

To stop the flow, CNRL will try to identify the exact pathway the bitumen takes to the surface from deep underground, said CNRL spokeswoman Zoe Addington.

Source- Climatenews

October 18, 2013

Media Man Invests in Bitumen

A newspaper owner with a $26-billion plan to refine oilsands crude on the West Coast said Wednesday he'll be seeking loan guarantees from Ottawa in support of the proposed project.

David Black said he plans to approach the federal government in the spring and ask it to guarantee about one third of the total financing it needs for a new facility near Kitimat B.C.

That doesn't involve Ottawa putting up the money, but a federal guarantee would enable Black's company, Kitimat Clean Ltd., to secure loans at a lower cost.

Black told reporters on the sidelines of a Calgary energy conference there's no reason to expect the feds to say no.

"There's a precedent in Canada for the federal government to do that when it's of vital importance to the country. They've done it many times," he said.

For example, Ottawa made a $1-billion loan guarantee for the $7.7-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador.

Investors want Canada's buy-in

Kitimat Clean's Chinese backers initially agreed to provide all of the financing, but later said they would be willing to put up only 70 per cent because they want to see Canada have more "skin in the game."
"I must say, I understand that. All the banks I've ever borrowed from wanted that," Black said.
A memorandum of understanding between Chinese bank ICBC and Kitimat Clean covers the financing and agreements to buy the refined product.

Black's proposal is meant to address one of the biggest concerns with Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline: tankers filled with raw bitumen travelling through northern B.C. waters.

If the bitumen is refined into products such as gasoline and diesel at Kitimat before being sent overseas to China, the environmental impacts would be much less severe in the event of a spill, Black said.

Black, who doesn't believe Enbridge's controversial $6-billion proposal will be approved as-is, admits oilsands producers have not warmed to his idea, as they want the option of selling their raw bitumen abroad.
But he thinks his proposal will win support amongst British Columbians because it would address the tanker issue and the refinery would have a small environmental footprint.

The $18-billion refinery would use a technology pioneered by Calgary-based Expander Energy that would cut carbon dioxide emissions to half that of a traditional refinery. It would also produce absolutely no petroleum coke, a byproduct of heavy-oil processing that Black calls "gruesome."

"The benefit is so great that it almost neutralizes the extra CO2 given off in the oilsands production process."
The remainder of the $26-billion price tag covers a $6-billion pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, a tanker fleet and a natural gas pipeline to supply the refinery.

Source- The Canadian Press

September 30, 2013

Refinery getting upgraded for Tar Sands

A refinery in northwest Ohio is seeking state approval for a $300 million upgrade to refine tar sands from Alberta, Canada.

Spokesman Mel Duvall with Canada-based Husky Energy Co. said the type of heavy crude most likely to be refined in Lima (LY'-muh) differs from the company's vast reserves of bitumen, although both are in Alberta.

The (Toledo) Blade ( says Husky is seeking an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency permit for equipment changes required to stay in compliance with federal air-pollution laws.

The agency will accept comments at a public information session Tuesday at the Lima City Council chambers and written comments will be accepted through Oct. 7.


Read more here:

September 25, 2013

Mozambique to set up Bitumen Manufacturing Facility

A factory to manufacture bitumen is due to be built in the city of Beira, the capital of the Mozambican province of Sofala, as part of a 100 percent Mozambican project that will require estimated investment of US$5 million, according to Mozambican news agency AIM.

The factory, with installed capacity to produce 300 tons of bitumen per day, and a third of that earmarked for export, is expected to be finished in three months and will sell its first lot of bitumen January 2014.

This factory, the first stone of which wa slaid Friday, will reduce the cost of importing bitumen and help with construction of roads, the Public Works and Housing Minister, Cadmiel Muthemba said at the time.

The company’s director in charge of carrying out and managing the project, known as Betumemulsão Moçambique, Sebastião Simbine, said that the company was considering building a unit to manufacture drums to store asphalt and manage a fleet of tanker trucks to transport the products.

An oil pipeline will also be built to link the factory to the port of Beira in order to receive the raw material needed that is imported from some oil producing countries.

Simbine also said that Betumemulsão Moçambique was looking into building two more bitumen factories, in Nacala and Maputo, which will require an estimated investment of US$100 million.

Source- Macahub

September 24, 2013

Bitumen Futures in Shanghai Exchange

Chinese market players will soon be able to trade two energy futures contracts, according to the country's two major commodity exchanges.

Thermal coal futures will start trading on the Zhengzhou Commodity Futures on Sep. 26, while bitumen futures will have its debut on the Shanghai Futures Exchange on Oct. 9.

Thermal coal is primarily used in power generation. The introduction of the futures contracts is expected to help downstream users, such as utility companies and aluminum producers that have their own power plants, hedge price volatility and manage risks, analysts said.

Soft domestic demand and industrywide restructuring has forced the closure of many small mines and shaken up the industry. The value of China's benchmark Bohai-Rim Steam-Coal Price Index has dropped by 16% so far this year. It fell 22% in 2012 from a year earlier.

Write to Yue Li at

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September 21, 2013

Diesel from Bitumen

Construction on North America’s first new refinery in nearly 30 years is officially underway in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

The $6 billion dollar refinery – which will be built near Redwater – will turn bitumen from the oil sands into diesel fuel. Once it’s complete, the new North West project will refine 150,000 barrels of bitumen a day.
“It’s just such an enormous opportunity that it just, I think it dwarfs the CPR, really,” said Ian MacGregor, the chairman of North West Upgrading.

The province’s Bitumen-Royalty-In-Kind (BRIK) program, started by former premier Ed Stelmach, has proven especially critical to the project. The deal works like this: the province accepts bitumen in lieu of some royalty payments from oil sands producers. Some of that bitumen has been committed to the new refinery. The province will pay for its processing and then sell the higher value diesel that’s produced. The deal allows North West to get the funding necessary to build the refinery.

Andrew Leach, from the University of Alberta’s School of Business, calls it a “consequential moment for Alberta.” While he won’t call it a bad deal, he believes the risk isn’t necessary as minimal as the province and company suggest.

“They’re making a bet on a spread. Yes, if bitumen is heavily discounted relative to diesel fuel, they’re going to come out ahead,” Leach explained. “If this was an obvious bet that you could make a rate of return on this investment, you’d see companies doing it too.”

“It’s fundamentally a government investment in a refinery, and I don’t think people are really clear on it,” he added.

Leach believes the province should be “a little more forthcoming about what risks they’re taking.”
The county’s mayor, meanwhile, believes the rewards will far outweigh the risks; the refinery could double the county’s taxbase.

“This will ensure jobs, pensions and benefits and our kids and grandkids can live, work and play in Sturgeon County,” said Sturgeon County Mayor, Don Rigney.Alberta’s energy minister also believes the risk is a manageable one.

“Life is full of risks. If you stand still, there are risks. Standing still actually has more risks than actually building our future,” said Minister Ken Hughes. “We’re prepared to use our very substantial resources to build this province – to create opportunity.”

The project has reportedly already employed more than 1,000 people – a number that’s expected to increase to 8,000 at the peak of construction.

By  with files from Fletcher Kent, Global News

September 17, 2013

Bitumen Seepage on Six Sites

A First Nation says two more locations at an oil sands project in northeastern Alberta are seeping oily bitumen, bringing the total to six.

Chief Bernice Martial says she is worried about how such leaks are affecting the aquifers underneath the land.

Martial says she is worried about the safety of drinking water, animals and vegetation.

In July, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said a mechanical failure at an old well was behind ongoing bitumen seepage at its oilsands project on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range.

The Calgary-based company said the damage from the four locations had been contained and the sites were being cleaned up.

At the time, almost one million litres of bitumen had leaked into the bush and muskeg and another 2,400 litres was seeping in every day.

“Our people want answers and factual information on the contamination
of now, six surface releases of bitumen oil,” Martial said in a release Monday.

Canadian Natural Resources officials were not immediately available for comment.

Source- Financial Post

Bitumen Cartel Penalties not reduced by EU

Repsol SA (REP) and Cia. Espanola de Petroleos SA lost European Union court appeals against fines levied for fixing prices of bitumen in Spain, while Nynas AB and Galp Energia SGPS SA had their penalties cut.
The EU General Court today rejected appeals by Repsol and Cepsa of the six-year-old fines.

The Luxembourg-based EU court trimmed the fines for Galp and a Spanish unit to 8.3 million euros ($11.1 million) from 8.6 million euros and reduced a penalty for Nynas to 10.4 million euros from 10.6 million euros.
The European Commission, the EU’s Brussels-based antitrust regulator, in 2007 fined four companies 183.6 million euros for their “unacceptable” actions in the Spanish cartel that lasted from at least 1991 to 2002.

The EU regulator said the companies “cheated customers, public authorities and taxpayers in Spain for almost 12 years” by sharing the market and fixing prices for the asphalt component used in road construction.

Repsol, which previously was called Repsol YPF SA, was fined 80.5 million euros. Madrid-based Cepsa was fined 83.8 million euros. BP Plc (BP/), Europe’s second-largest oil company, got immunity from any fines for being the first to come forward with information about the cartel.

Bitumen is used primarily for surfacing roads and waterproofing. More than 10,000 European companies make or layasphalt.

Further Study

“Galp is certain that a complete annulment of the decision is justified,” the Lisbon, Portugal-based company said in a statement on the securities regulator’s website. The company said it will study the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

Kristian Rix, a spokesman for Repsol, said the company didn’t immediately have any comment, when contacted by phone. No one in the press departments of Nynas or Cepsa was immediately available for comment when contacted by phone. Cepsa is fully owned by Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co., which bought Total SA’s 48.8 percent stake in 2011.

Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for the commission, said it welcomed the court ruling “as it confirms all the substantial findings” of the authority.

The cases are: T-462/07, T-482/07, T-495/07, T-496/07, T-497/07
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 13, 2013

Wildlife being Saved More Effectively from Bitumen Spill

Several animals, impacted by a bitumen leak near Cold Lake, are receiving treatment at an Edmonton facility.EDMONTON – The rehabilitation of wildlife affected by a recent bitumen leak near Cold Lake continues; and those working on saving the animals are not only pleased with the progress, but believe it’s the first of its kind.

This summer, more than 7,000 barrels of bitumen seeped to the surface at a CNRL site near Cold lake. Wildlife officials have brought nearly 100 animals from that spill site to the Rehabilitation Society in Edmonton. After being cleaned and cared for, more than three quarters of them have been released back into the wild. A typical spill usually sees only 25 to 30 per cent of animals released.

“It really feels great to be able to recover this many animals successfully. It has been a large team effort. Without all the teams involved, we wouldn’t have such a high success rate,” said Wildlife Rehab Consultant Coleen Doucette.

Doucette even goes as far as to call the spill “exceptionally groundbreaking.”
“And a lot of that has to do with CNRL’s willingness to step in and make sure we have everything we need to do the best job that we could possibly do.”

This spill has provided new techniques for cleaning animals coated in bitumen.
“There has been anecdotal kind of info that we got out of spill response, but we’ve really turned a corner on this one and moved into much more scientific approaches to doing this work,” said Doucette.

“Just being able to see how a change in technique means all of a sudden a bird is eating where it wasn’t eating before…it’s great. It’s why we’re doing it,” added Kim Blomme with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton. “We want to put them back as if nothing happened in their life.”

Studies will track beavers after they’re released to see how well and if they survive. It’s invaluable data for rescuers, government and industry.

Rehabilitation officials aren’t seeing many more animals coming in from the CNRL spill, which is on a major flight path. However, they are preparing for a possible influx because many birds are beginning to migrate south for the winter.

“We’re much better prepared than we were,” said Blomme. “When Wabamun occurred (in August 2005), we were not prepared for that. Nobody was. I think that that was a wake up call for a lot of people, So we feel a lot more prepared now but there is still a lot more work we need to do.”

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News

September 7, 2013

Bitumen Sinks in Fresh Water

The 2010 Enbridge pipeline spill leaked 3.3 million litres of bitumin crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.The 2010 Enbridge pipeline spill leaked 3.3 million litres of bitumin crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. (Google/CBC)Three years after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured and spilled 3.3 million litres of oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River, the company is still cleaning up and learning lessons about the way diluted bitumen behaves in fresh water.

The biggest lesson, simply put, is that bitumen sinks.
"Everybody learned from this incident about what we can do differently. Every one of us, from the regulators, to the contractors, to ourselves, have come away from this saying, 'I know what I would do differently the next time,'" explained Leon Zupan, Enbridge's chief operating officer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Canada's largest pipeline company to return to the river to dredge areas where the agency believes remains of the heavy bitumen fossil fuel have collected. The March 2013 order came nine months after most of the 56-kilometre stretch of the river affected by the spill was reopened to the public.

The Kalamazoo incident is the largest inland spill in the history of the U.S., and has already cost Enbridge more than $1 billion.

The EPA believes there is at least 684,000 litres of bitumen still in the river. Before March's cleanup order was issued, Enbridge and the EPA went back and forth over how much oil there was and whether or not dredging it would do more harm than good to the Kalamazoo's ecosystem.
In the end, the EPA prevailed.

"They [Enbridge] don't agree with the way we develop our number. And, you know what, we're the agency and I'm not going to let them dictate how we do science," said Jeff Kimble, the EPA's incident commander in Marshall, Mich.

Bitumen sinks in fresh water

Scientific differences aside, the company agreed to the regulator's demand and began its work in August.
For Enbridge and the EPA, the main lesson from the last three years is the need to recover the diluted bitumen, or dilbit, as soon as possible.

"If you know up front that you're dealing with an oil that has the potential to sink, attack it right away and get it off the surface while you can," explained Kimble.
Enbridge agrees. "If you can err in doing some damage to get the oil out sooner, then the long-term impacts are greatly mitigated," said Zupan.

For Enbridge, though, the Kalamazoo experience changed more than just the way it responds to emergencies. Zupan said the company's whole culture around safety is now different.
"We've redefined what's important to the company. We've added to our practices and procedures. We thought we were pretty good. We want to be the best," Zupan told CBC News.

But some in the area of the spill aren't buying that. Deb Miller of Ceresco, Mich., just down the road from Marshall, doesn't trust anything she hears from Enbridge or the EPA.

Jeff Kimble, an incident commander for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, next to the Kalamazoo River near the village of Ceresco, Mich. 
Jeff Kimble, an incident commander for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, next to the Kalamazoo River near the village of Ceresco, Mich. (Sat Nandlall/CBC News)
 "I was absolutely naive going into this. I probably trusted more than I should have. I took things at face value that I should have never," explained Miller.

Miller's house backs on to the Kalamazoo River. When the spill happened, she was undergoing chemotherapy and her doctor ordered her to stay inside to escape the asphalt-scented fumes that permeated her village. From the beginning, she said, company and government officials have given conflicting and changing orders and advice.

"EPA has been very, very vocal in admitting the fact that they're writing the book as they go along on this spill," she said. But, she said, Enbridge is the real villain.
"Enbridge does what they have to do and only that," said Miller. She understands that the company is a for-profit business and that guides many of its decisions. But her life and town changed radically after the spill.

She and her husband had to shut down their carpet store. Enbridge bought the building but not the business.
Many of her neighbours moved away.

"When it affects people, residents — there's a high road and there's a low road. And unfortunately, I think they [Enbridge] found that low road."

Enbridge lived up to its promise

For Dr. Jim Dobbins, a retired family doctor and vice-president of a local conservation society in Marshall, that assessment of the company might be a little harsh. He admits he was sickened and angry as he watched the oil course under the bridge that spans the Kalamazoo just west of town. But when then Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel addressed a community meeting in Marshall soon after the spill, he decided to give the company a chance.

"[Daniel] said, 'We've made a mess and we're going to clean it up,'" recounted Dobbins. He admits to being pleasantly surprised.

"I'm not angry at the company," said Dobbins, although he is rankled by the spill.
"But generally, it appears as though they have done what they said they would do. And that is clean up the river."

He also thinks the EPA has gone too far with this latest order to re-dredge the river.
"I'm very concerned about them doing more damage to the river than [they] are good by retrieving that amount of oil that's left," said Dobbins. He thinks it is all about the EPA throwing its weight around rather than worry over the Kalamazoo's ecosystem.

Kimble explained it differently.
"You know, bottom line for EPA is under our authority this is oil that's causing a sheen or a release on a navigable waterway. Our authority says and our law says, get it out of the system."
That is precisely what Enbridge is doing. And, like everyone else involved in this incident, hoping to learn something in the process.

"The legacy for us is not that you can clean up a major oil spill after it occurs even though the river looks great today. The legacy for us is how do you make sure it never happens again," said Zupan.

Source- CBA News

September 6, 2013

Bitumen Spill - Should the Public Money to be used ?

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images Enbridge is still in the process of cleaning up bitumen that spilled in the Kalamazoo River, pictured here in 2010, but little scientific research has been done about how extra heavy crude behaves in saltwater.
The debate continued to rage on Thursday about whether the federal government should spend millions of public dollars on measures Green Party leaders charge are “greasing the wheels” for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Leaked documents show the feds plan to spend $6.8 million over the next three years — not the $78 million initially reported on Wednesday — on developing the first ever computer models to predict how diluted bitumen would behave if spilled in the ocean.

Adam Holbrook, associate director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology at SFU, said the Greens are right to say public funds are being allocated for private purposes, but that’s nothing new.
“Yes, it’s true, but also, government does this all the time, and not just for the natural resources industries,” he said.

“It does it for manufacturing, it does it for services industries. There are a number of different programs, but it’s grease.”

He argued it is in the public interest for Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada to carry out the research, because if Enbridge did it the company would own it and no one else would have access to it.

Holbrook noted it is common practice for governments to fund “pre-competitive research” and then leave it to industries to pay for follow-up research from which they might profit.
In Enbridge’s case, that could mean using the government’s data on bitumen behaviour to develop innovative spill mitigation and cleanup techniques.

Reached by phone on Thursday, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May clarified that Wednesday’s headlines misconstrued her primary concern, which is that more than $120 million has been earmarked for studies and infrastructure for the Douglas Channel at a time when so much other scientific research funding is being cut.
She repeated her assertion that the millions being spent on improving weather forecasts to aid oil tanker navigation is “jumping the gun” on a project that has yet to be approved by the National Energy Board, and is opposed by the B.C. government.

 By Kate Webb Metro

August 30, 2013

Bitumen Emulsion Seepage

Federal investigation launched at CNRL oilsands site

EDMONTON, ALTA: August 8, 2013 -- Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) workers cleaning up the bitumen emulsion on this marsh after it seeped up through a fissure under the water at their Primrose oil sand projects north of Cold Lake, August 8, 2013. A total of four sites have this seepage occuring and to date 7300 barrels have been collected from 13.5 hectares. (ED KAISER-EDMONTON JOURNAL)

OTTAWA-Environment Canada has launched an investigation into an ongoing industrial spill that has lasted for weeks in Alberta at an oilsands facility about 300 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
First reported to provincial regulators on June 24, Canadian Natural Resources Limited says seepage of bitumen emulsion at four different sites of the facility, near Cold Lake, continue but are contained and being recovered.

“Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch is currently assessing the situation with respect to federal environmental and wildlife laws within its jurisdiction, and has opened an investigation,” said Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson in a statement sent to Postmedia News on Wednesday evening.
The Alberta government’s energy regulator and its environment department are also conducting separate investigations into the incident, monitoring for potential impacts to soil, water, as well as dozens of wildlife deaths.

“We are working with Environment Canada in several areas, including wildlife,” said Alberta Environment spokeswoman Nikki Booth.

A spokeswoman for CNRL told Postmedia News that Environment Canada officials were on the site of the incident on July 4 and had followed up with additional requests for information.

“We have provided the requested information to EC  in regards to understanding the incident, the cause, and our plans going forward,” said spokeswoman Zoe Addington.
The facility uses a method employed in many oilsands operations that involves the injection of steam, deep underground to recover bitumen, the tar-like heavy oil found in natural deposits in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

CNRL said it believes the seepage was caused by “mechanical failures” in some wellbores that it is investigating, while working with government officials on clean-up efforts. The provincial energy regulator has reported those efforts are ongoing.

Bitumen recovery, impacted soil removal, fissure exposure, surface water management and containment efforts continue at the… sites,” said the Alberta Energy Regulator in its last online update on Aug. 20. “To date, the total wildlife impacts between all four sites have been reported with two beavers, 38 birds, 91 amphibians and 32 small mammals deceased.”

The company has reported recovering about 8,700 barrels of bitumen emulsion and has about 200 employees and contractors on site to “continue to reduce the impacts of these bitumen emulsion seepages until the locations are fully remediated.” Wildlife monitoring teams from the company are also “doing sweeps” each day, says CNRL on its website.

Environment Canada confirmed its own investigation two weeks after Postmedia News asked it a series of questions about the incident and the nature of warning letters sent to another company operating in the oilsands. Suncor had received 17 written warnings from the federal department over a three year period between 2009 and 2013, about alleged violations after more than 400 inspections.

Johnson said many of the warnings to oilsands companies were related to alleged violations that didn’t result in direct environmental harm, such as the failure to submit mandatory reports on time.
He added that the volume of inspections also demonstrated that the department takes environmental impacts of oilsands development “very seriously.”

The department also opened an enforcement office in Fort McMurray in April 2012 to help enforce federal environmental laws such as the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, he explained.

“The new office is part of the continued commitment by Environment Canada to work with other regulators to proactively and cooperatively monitor the environmental performance of oilsands operations,” Johnson said.

August 29, 2013

Warren Buffet investing in Bitumen

Warren Buffett’s massive stake in Suncor Energy Inc. could spark investor interest in the battered stocks of Canadian oil sands’ companies, according to analysts.

Mr. Buffett had acquired 17.7 million shares of Suncor by June 30, according to a U.S. regulatory filing by his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Since the last trading day of June, Suncor shares in New York have risen US$4.45, closing at US$33.94 on Thursday, netting the world’s third-richest man an estimated US$79-million on his oil sands’ investment on paper.

Analysts believe Mr. Buffett’s foray into the Alberta oil sands may prove to be a major fillip for the wider industry.

“This may be a turning point, possibly,” said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at Arc Financial Corp. “Mr. Buffett is obviously recognized as a value investor, and the oil sands sector represents significant value.”
Oil sands operators have been ramping up production over the years, but lower Canadian crude price and concerns regarding market access have deflated investor sentiment.

“The market returns have been flat for two years, but in the meantime we have seen significant improvements — the whole area is attracting $20-billion a year in investment,” Mr, Tertzakian said.

Source - National Post

August 12, 2013

Bitumen Spill Continously

Months after Primrose spill began, CNRL doesn’t know when it will stop

Thousands of barrels of bitumen have been oozing to the surface of a remote operation for months and the oil giant responsible doesn’t know when it’s going to stop.

Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd., one of Canada’s biggest oil producers, said it has all four spills at its Primrose sites in northeast Alberta contained.

“We’ve learned from this and we know what steps to take to stop it from happening again,” said CNRL spokesperson Zoe Addington.
The Alberta Energy Regulator isn’t so sure.

Bitumen continues to come to the surface in all four locations,” spokesperson Cara Tobin said in an email. “The AER does not have any evidence that can confirm cause at this time. We will not allow steaming to resume until we are confident this will not happen again.”

But it’s tough to tell what’s making high-pressure hydrocarbons shoot off in unexpected directions when they’re buried under layers of rock.

More than 7,272 barrels of bitumen emulsion have escaped to the surface since the spills began in May at the isolated Cold Lake Air Weapons Range about 350 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
About 20 barrels continue to seep out daily from four different locations, affecting about 13 and a half hectares.

According to the company, dozens of wildlife have been killed, including at least 16 birds, seven small mammals and 38 amphibians. A handful of animals are at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Edmonton.
The company’s found elevated levels of hydrocarbons in the water, but said it shouldn’t impact anyone outside that immediate area.

It’s taking journalists on a tour of the high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation site Thursday – the first such availability since the spill began.

As the name suggests, high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation  involves steam shot through horizontal wells at extremely high pressure – hot enough to soften bitumen, high enough pressure to coax it to the surface, or (unlike more common steam operations) to fracture the rock itself.

The problem, though, is that once there’s a spill, it’s hard to stop before the pressure goes down.
“We just wait until it finishes,” Addington said, adding that she “wouldn’t have characterized it as taking a long time.”

The company is cleaning up the new bitumen as it leaks to the surface.

“Any emulsion to surface we’re taking very seriously,” Addington added, “and doing everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Global News analysis of 47 spills of crude oil or bitumen at CNRL’s Primrose and Wolf Lake sites since 2002 indicates the most commonly cited cause has been equipment failure.
In this case, the company says, the problem is that old, vertical wells, thought to be sealed up, came unsealed and allowed bitumen to escape.

The company knows which wellbores are problematic, she said, and knows how to fix them using concrete and steel so the problem doesn’t recur. The company thinks cleanup will cost about $40-million; investigation and repairs, $20-million.

“We’ve got an inventory of old legacy wellbores, we’ve flagged a few that we think are the likely culprits and we’re investigating and we know how to fix them,” she said.
“We believe it’s most likely a cementing failure, and we can repair that.”

But the Alberta Energy Regulator has not reached any conclusions. It’s still waiting on “technical, verified data,” Tobin said.
The regulator has questioned CNRL’s spill assessments before: After a 2009 spill at the same location, the provincial body expressed doubt over CNRL’s initial explanation.

“The ERCB is of the view that the Clearwater shale was likely breached by high-pressure steam injection not related to a wellbore issue,” the regulator (then known as the Energy Resources Conservation Board) said in an investigation published earlier this year.

“The ERCB is also of the view that geological weaknesses in combination with stresses induced by high-pressure steam injection may have contributed to the release.”

That hypothesis – that super-high pressure steam injections plus weaknesses in the rock contributed to a spill – makes sense to Chris Severson-Baker, managing director of the Pembina Institute. What doesn’t make sense, he said, is why the same procedure’s being done at the same site four years later.
Geological weakness, Severson-Baker argues, would mean “there’s a fundamental problem, perhaps, with the design of the project.”

And he says failure to figure out what went wrong and what to do about it could have repercussions for anyone in the industry using steam to extract oil.

“Just how much knowledge does industry and government have about what happens to these when they inject these very high pressures underground?” he said. “How much information do they have about where these fluids might be going?

“When something like this happens in spite of industry and government’s efforts to understand what happens … it calls into question these practices everywhere, really.”

August 5, 2013

Cold Bitumen for Pot-Hole Filling

The city-based NGO,  ‘Better Kochi Response Group’ (BKRG), which has mooted the idea of using cold mix or cold bitumen for filling the potholes in the city, conducted a demonstration in this regard on Saturday.
BKRG, which is an NGO authorised by the state government to co-ordinate the PWD infrastructure activities in the city, carried out the  demonstration on a pothole in front of KMA building.

According to BKRG, filling potholes with cold mix or cold bitumen can be done even on rainy days and does not need much labour, equipment or heating.

“In this method, an average-sized pothole can be filled single-handedly and takes only 10 to 15 minutes.
“Since no heating or melting is involved, there is no air pollution and it is very safe for workers. It does not disturb traffic around the section where the work is being carried out and there is no sound pollution either”, according to a statement issued by BKRG here.

The demonstration was carried out by Muralidharan Kurup who represents Shell Company and the product used was Shelmac PR. Initially, the potholes were cleaned and stagnant water was removed.
The product, which comes in ready mix condition in packets, was spread on the pot hole and levelled and rammed by a single labourer. “The whole filling process took less than 20 minutes and the road, which was in a wet condition, was ready to use instantly”, the BKRG statement added.

Kochi mayor Tony Chammany, Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) chairman N  Venugopal, deputy mayor B Bhadra, GCDA town planner Gopalakrishnan, Kochi corporation town planning standing committee chairman K J Sohan and officials from PWD and other agencies were also present on the occasion.

“Later, the GCDA chairman’s car was driven over the repaired area twice and the patch work remained intact without any damage”, said the officebearers of BKRG.

Source - Indian Express

July 30, 2013

Aspahlt Roads - 143 years Old

 The first asphalt road was implemented 143 years ago today, as Belgian immigrant Edward de Smedt tested his mix of oil bitumen and aggregate on Williams Street in Newark to end the battle between wagon wheels and muddy streets. 
The automobile had not yet even been invented, so carriages and wagons with wooden spokes and rims, sometimes sheathed in iron, were ill equipped to deal with soggy roads that were commonplace in certain climates more than half the year.

Today, certain automobiles are capable of crossing shallow streams and handling mud and a variety of terrain conditions, but not in de Smedt’s day.

We bet you never guessed the pothole existed before the automobile!

Despite the invention of asphalt and the considerable amount of traffic along the Eastern Seaboard in those days, by 1904 only 154 miles of paved highway existed in the US.

Today, a glance at a road atlas could give a young man in the wide-open Western US the mistaken impression everything east of the Mississippi River is pavement.

In fact there are over a million miles of urban freeways today, including 59,000 miles in the Interstate Highway System and other freeways.

The origin of the word asphalt goes all the way back to Sanskrit and specifically referred to pitch – another reference to oil bitumen.

Though perhaps less important than the advances of Jonas Salk or Steve Jobs, Edward de Smedt’s contribution to American commerce is undeniable. Without his ubiquitous invention much of America would still be wallowing in the mud, so to speak.

Even so, covering large areas of the ground with the black stuff creates urban heat islands as well, and the temperature over a large mall parking lot can easily reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot summer’s day.
Concrete uses a completely different binder mixed with granite, limestone or sand, but remarkably the degree of its use in human endeavors is second only to our use of water.

Largely the march of history consists of trading problems we are tired of for problems we haven’t recognized yet. Eventually we identify them, tire of them and find a way to trade them in for a newer problem – until it too becomes familiar.

Source -Torquenews

July 24, 2013

China to Launch Bitumen Futures Contract

China's Shanghai Futures Exchange is set to launch a futures contract for road-paving material bitumen as early as next month, officials said, its second energy contract after an ill-fated fuel oil contract.

China, the world's second-largest fuel consumer is keen to grow trading in energy futures, but has been unable to establish contracts open to global investors due to state restrictions on international money flows.

A plan for a crude futures contract, which could become a regional oil pricing benchmark, is still awaiting a final nod from Beijing as the government tackles issues such as foreign exchange management, traders and officials have said.

Rapidly urbanising China is Asia's largest user of bitumen, also known as asphalt, a heavy tar-like refinery fuel that makes up just under four percent of the country's total fuel use.

Source- Business Times

July 23, 2013

Bitumen Blend By Train

 Inter Pipeline Fund ("Inter Pipeline") (TSX:IPL.UN) announced today that it has entered into a binding agreement with Canexus Corporation ("Canexus") to transport bitumen blend to Canexus' unit train rail loading operations near Bruderheim, Alberta. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, Inter Pipeline will provide Canexus with 100,000 barrels per day (b/d) of firm capacity on a new pipeline lateral from the Cold Lake pipeline system.

Canexus is undertaking a major expansion of its rail operations to enable loading of crude oil unit trains which will access both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway systems. Inter Pipeline will construct a 13-kilometre, 24-inch diameter pipeline lateral from the Cold Lake pipeline system to Inter Pipeline's Polaris pumping station near Lamont, Alberta.

Bitumen blend will then be transferred to a Canexus owned pipeline for delivery to their Bruderheim rail loading facility. Total cost for the pipeline lateral and associated metering facility is approximately $50 million. The new lateral will have an ultimate throughput capacity of 320,000 b/d, enabling Inter Pipeline to pursue additional third party bitumen blend delivery opportunities in the region.

Construction of the new pipeline lateral and metering facility will commence in August, with an expected in-service date of mid-2014. This accretive investment will generate approximately $10 million per year in highly stable EBITDA over the life of the contract. The agreement with Canexus involves a take-or-pay volume commitment and all operating costs will be recovered on a flow through basis.

Source- Marketwire & Wallstreet Journal

July 22, 2013

Bitumen is Liquid- takes 7-13 years to form a droplet

After 69 years of waiting, once forgotten asphalt dripping finally achieved a breakthrough experiment, which was first photographed by the camera to the entire droplet dripping process. 

SAN FRANCISCO, July 19 news, after 69 years of waiting, once forgotten asphalt dripping finally achieved a breakthrough experiment, which was first photographed by the camera to the entire process of droplet dripping .2000 in Australia conducted another start time earlier, similar experiments are also better known, because the camera appear offline status is not taken into the asphalt dripping moment.

Which lasted 69 years camcorder for the first time to take the asphalt dripping Media Source: Sina Technology The shooting began this experiment in 1944, set in Dublin, Ireland, Trinity College(

 Purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate a high viscosity and low pitch fluidity Asphalt is hard at room temperature to render the solid, but it is essentially a liquid, but the flow rate is very slow.

University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, scientists as early as 1927 began dripping pitch experiment - Guinness World Records listed it as the world's longest lab experiment. Physicist Thomas Parnell (Thomas Parnell) set up this experiment, the purpose is to show people that everyday materials has the amazing features in the past 86 years, the experiment produced a total of eight drops of asphalt, bitumen and now has 9 drops Almost forming, will be dripping.

John Mayne Stone (John Mainstone) Since 1961 the University of Queensland in relation to the management of this experiment, but he has not witnessed and captured droplets fall - even though the droplet formation requires staggering 7 to 13 years, but the fall of the time only tenths of a second.

Asphalt dripping beginning of the experiment, the first sample to asphalt heated and then poured into a sealed glass funnel in Parnell experiment, after three years of bitumen required for precipitation and stabilization, and the funnel was deblocked(Technology News

For asphalt in Dublin for dropping this experiment can not be traced to its original source has been suggested that this is Trinity College Nobel Prize winner Ernest Walton (Ernest Walton) set up by Professor One of the experiments, its purpose is to demonstrate the scientific education After decades of time, set this experiment, scientists have been forgotten, experimental apparatus is also gathering dust, but the funnel asphalt still did not stop flowing.

Witness asphalt dripping
Until recently, Trinity College physicist who was re-started to pay attention to this experiment last April, they set up a camera, so that anyone can watch and have a chance to become the first to witness the asphalt droplets dripping person.

Local time at 17:00 on July 11th or so, physicist Sean Burr Kim (Shane Bergin) and his colleagues to capture the history of science's most exciting drop droplets. 'We are all very excited,' Burr gold said, 'This is a great argument, because my colleagues are eager to reveal the fracture mechanism of asphalt, understand its viscous nature.'

By studying the droplet formation process, Trinity College's research team estimated the viscosity of bitumen: 200 times more viscous than honey, 20 billion times more viscous than water droplet formation rate depends on the specific composition of the asphalt composition, and environmental conditions such as temperature and vibration, also have an impact.

When asked about the value of this experiment when Shawn Burr gold colleague Dennis Wei li (Denis Weaire) said: 'In real science, curiosity is the first one, and the bitumen droplets just satisfy human curiosity. 'Previously scientists had also believe that the glass is slowly flowing fluid - partly because the old church window glass bottom thicker - but now the glass is considered to be solid.

The next droplet
The University of Queensland's John Mayne Stone in a life most of the time, are waiting with the naked eye witness bitumen droplets falling and he assured Trinity College research team congratulated. 'This video I watched it again and again, 'he said,' For someone like me spent a very long time bitumen droplets observer, of which there are a lot of very attractive thing. 'Now, the University of Queensland asphalt dripping experiment also set up a camera , real-time recording droplet formation process, which also attracted a lot of attention from around the world. According to the forecast, the next pitch is likely to drop sometime this year dripping.

Source- Best News

July 19, 2013

Injection Pressure - Is it safter than Steam Assisted Gravity Production Method

The Alberta Energy Regulator has ordered Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to restrict steam injection and take other precautions at its Primrose and Wolf Lake high-pressure, cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) project in the Cold Lake region of Alberta.

It took the action in responses to the fourth release this year of bitumen emulsion to surface in the project area 55 km north of Bonnyville.

Earlier this year the AER ordered the suspension of steaming in the Primrose East section after three bitumen releases. CNRL on June 24 reported the fourth release into a water body on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range at Primrose South.

In response, the AER ordered further measures, including the suspension of steaming within 1 km of the Primrose South incident, restriction of steam throughout Primrose North and South, enhanced monitoring, and accelerated clean-up.

The AER is investigating the releases, which haven’t threatened public safety.

CNRL reported average production in the Primrose-Wolf Lake area of 109,000 b/d in the first quarter this year. The Lower Cretaceous Clearwater formation productive in the area requires CSS, the company says.
CSS involves injection pressures much higher than those involved in steam-assisted gravity drainage, another thermal recovery method used widely in the Alberta oil sands.


July 18, 2013

Sub-Standard Runway due to lesser Bitumen

Everytime you took off or landed at Karipur International airport at Kozhikode (Calicut) in north Kerala, you survived because you had luck on your side. A CBI probe now shows that flights were operating on a sub-standard runway built by a Delhi-based firm, B R Arora and Associates and has filed a chargesheet against them and ten others, accusing them of criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating.

Kozhikode airport is the seventh busiest airport in the country in terms of international traffic and is often touted as the gateway to the Malabar region. As many as nine foreign airlines operate out of Kozhikode airport. The CBI's Kochi branch claims that the company and four officials of the Airports Authority of India compromised with the quality of resurfacing of the runway at the airport in 2007.

Incidentally, the chargesheet has been filed at a time when several question marks have been raised over the quality of the runway. Several cracks have been noticed on it and a DGCA team inspected it this week during which it noted that heavy rains had taken a toll of the runway. It was suggested that the airport would have be to partially closed for some time to facilitate repair work.

In its chargesheet, the CBI points out that the project of resurfacing the runway was worth Rs.23 crore. But the accused made false invoices and fake bills worth Rs.2.18 crores were also manufactured.

The chargesheet says that bribes were taken by the senior AAI officials in the form of gold biscuits and a car to overlook the corrupt practices of the company. And that the company had compromised on the quality of material used to resurface the runway.

According to the chargesheet, of the 4500 tonnes of bitumen that was to be used, only 3700 tonnes were used, thus reducing the quantity of bitumen by 30 percent. As for the use of cement, of the 10,000 bags that had to be used, only 5,500 bags were used.

The CBI in its chargesheet mentions that apart from compromising on the safety of millions of passengers, the Delhi-based company also sold the bitumen that was not used as part of the mix for the runway to outside parties.

The CBI took up the case suo moto in 2007 after it received reports of corruption.

Incidentally, the company is also involved in resurfacing of runways at five other airports - Goa, Varanasi, Ranchi, Raipur and Coimbatore.

Sources say the CBI in Goa and Lucknow too are expected to file a chargesheet soon against the company.

Source- India Today