Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020
102 pages Published Date: 2014-09-09
Bitumen is primarily used as a binder in road construction along with other applications such as electronics, waterproofing for roofing, and in adhesives due to its resistance to water, insulation properties and high durability.
The properties of bitumen can be altered by adding polymers to it, thereby increasing its application scope. Bitumen is known as “asphalt” or “asphalt cement” in North America.
However, “asphalt” is a term used for a mixture of sand, small stones and other filler materials in the rest of the world. This mixture contains about 5% of bitumen. The mixture is known as “asphalt concrete” or more particularly “blacktop” in North America.
Bitumen is available in a number of grades based upon the standard mentioned by certain tests such as penetration test. Bitumen 80/100, bitumen 60/70 and bitumen 40/50 are the most commonly used bitumen, where the numerical values represent hardness of bitumen.
Softer bitumen represents greater penetration units.
Similarly, VG-10, VG-20, VG-30 and VG-40 are the viscosity grades of bitumen. Thus, different grades of bitumen are often represented as bitumen 80/100/VG-10.
Infrastructure activities to improve road networks in developed and developing nations are expected to drive the growth of the bitumen market. Furthermore, increasing applications of polymer modified bitumen (PMB) as chemical additives and adhesives in household and road construction are anticipated to boost the demand for bitumen. Additionally, rising construction activities for industries, commercial buildings and housing are estimated to drive the demand for bitumen over the next six years. However, environmental issues associated with the extraction of bitumen from oil sands are projected to hamper market growth. Increasing substitution of bitumen by concrete is also likely to adversely affect the bitumen market. However, development of bio-based bitumen or bio-bitumen and its commercialization over the next few years is expected to offer opportunities for the bitumen market. Furthermore, development of bio-bitumen is anticipated to ease the production pressure on the depleting fossil fuel reserves.
Paving grade bitumen, which is used in roadway application as a binder for asphalt, was the largest consumed type of bitumen in 2013. It accounted for over 65% of the market share in 2013.
Polymer modified bitumen (PMB) is expected to be the fastest growing segment of the market due to its increasing demand in road construction and roofing applications. Polymer modified bitumen is increasingly used in construction of roadways and waterproofing applications as it offers various advantages such as heating at lower temperatures, ability to increase porosity of roads and enhancement of performance of the applications.
With over 80% share in 2013, road construction was the largest application segment for bitumen due to its high viscosity and stickiness.
Other applications of bitumen include its usage in roofing industry, paints and enamels, adhesives, automotives and decorative applications, and as an insulator in electrical and electronics industry.
Focus of national governments of China and India on improving road network and the consequent inclusion of the same in the five-year plans is anticipated to fuel growth of bitumen in Asia Pacific over the next six years.
However, waterproofing is expected to be the fastest growing application of bitumen during the forecast period, due to growth in infrastructure activities in developing countries such as China and India.
North America was the largest consumer of bitumen in 2013 due to the significant network of roads in the U.S. The region accounted for over 30% of the market in 2013.
Redevelopment and repair of existent roads accounts for the primary consumption of bitumen in this region. This is in contrast to emerging economies where the consumption is driven by development of new infrastructure.
However, Asia Pacific (including China) is expected to be the fastest growing market for bitumen during the forecast period due to rapid industrialization in the region. This is expected to drive infrastructure development in the next few years.
The bitumen market is highly fragmented, with the top eight companies accounting for approximately 39% of the total market share in 2013. Leading bitumen manufacturing companies include Shell Bitumen, NuStar Energy, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil Company and Valero Energy Corporation.
Source - Transparency Market Research