Showing posts with label Benzene International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benzene International. Show all posts

July 4, 2016

India to help Build Nepal Road

Tasked to improve road connectivity in remote parts of India's Northeast, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is now venturing into Nepal where it has been assigned to guide the construction of over 600 km of postal roads in the Terai region bordering India.

A postal road is a road designated for the transportation of postal mail.

According to an MoU inked between India and Nepal, the decision was taken after a similar attempt by the Nepal Government failed to make progress due to negligence of the contractors in 2010.

"The Postal Road in the Terai region of Nepal will boost the country's much awaited road network. Under this current project the NHIDCL will be tasked to guide the construction of 19 postal roads of an outlay of 600 km," one of the top officials at NHIDCL told IANS declining to be identified.

He said the construction of 19 postal roads are under six packages for different parts of the Terai region.

"Basically we will be playing the role of consultants in the entire project. The biddings and all the tendering work of the road construction will be done by Nepal. Our work will basically be to see that the work does not witness failure like earlier," the official said.

According to the official, the decision for handing over the guidance work was decided during the recent visit of Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli to India.

Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told IANS: "Yes, It has been proposed to the Nepal Government for appointing NHIDCL as the consultant for the postal road projects. Though the precise MoU between the NHIDCL and Nepal Government is likely to be inked next week... all things are decided."

He said contractors from both Nepal and India can do the bidding for the postal roads projects.

The NHIDCL authority, who did not wished to be named, said the postal road has been prioritised for the development of Terai/Madhes region by expanding the road network. The 600 km work is only for the first phase. Both the countries will decide the agenda for the remaining works also."

Stating that the project was being financed by India, he said that the money will be given to Nepal for the execution of different stages of work, which will be over looked by the NHIDCL.

According to sources, the cost of the first phase of road construction in the Terai is estimated to increase to Rs 9 billion from the earlier Rs 7 billion. The total project cost will also rise from the previous estimate of Rs 29 billion. Around 130 bridges have to built along the 600 km highway.

Asked if NHIDCL has been given any other foreign projects, the authority said: "The creation of NHIDCL was for creation of difficult roads. The Government has full confidence on us and we are ready to undertake any project in any part of the world under any circumstance. However, there are no immediate foreign projects as of now."

NHIDCL, created in 2014, has recently been given the task of constructing over 4,000 km of roads in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation was established after Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Public Works Department of the states failed to carry out road construction in many remote parts in hilly terrain.
Source - Indian Express

January 25, 2012

Bitumen Shortage in South Africa

A shortage of bitumen  which is used to produce asphalt for road surfacing has affected about 35 SA National Roads Agency Ltd projects, in addition to other major road construction projects, including the John Ross Parkway upgrade in Richards Bay and highway construction in Durban.
The shutdown of the Sapref refinery in Durban for unexpected maintenance is set to exacerbate SA’s bitumen shortage, further delaying construction and pothole repairs.Bitumen is a by-product of oil refineries and is used to produce asphalt for road surfacing. But due to high demand, in addition to planned and unplanned shutdowns of oil refineries, the bitumen shortage has worsened. 
There have been bitumen supply constraints since the World Cup construction boom. Up to 35 SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) projects have been affected by the shortage, in addition to the John Ross Parkway upgrade in Richards Bay.
“Sapref’s shutdown is certainly going to have an impact and will make the current bitumen supply situation worse,” said Saied Solomons, chief executive of the SA Bitumen Association (Sabita).
“That’s the biggest oil refinery in the country… The Enref (Engen) refinery in Durban also only recently came back on line after the fire and maintenance shutdown late last year. However, there is very little new bitumen coming onto the market at the moment.
“The situation is dire and is significantly impacting on the industry. It is not just big construction and asphalt companies that are being affected but small companies too, which is having a ripple effect on other business sectors.”
Solomons said the association was in talks with refineries, as well as the departments of Transport and Energy, about solutions to the problem.One costlier alternative was to import bitumen, and some construction and asphalt companies had banded together to import about 4 500 tons recently.
“South Africa uses roughly 420 000 tons of bitumen annually now… It is difficult to say what the supply shortfall is at the moment. However, what I can say for sure is that the demand/supply at the moment is extremely tight,” said Solomons.
Brian Henwood, consulting engineer at Henwood and Nxumalo, which is working on the John Ross upgrade, said the situation was worrying.“The bitumen shortage has had a huge impact on business in the road-building industry, as all road projects have experienced problems because of the lack of supply.
“The bitumen shortage could start impacting on the sections of the new east-bound carriageway that are nearing completion,” he said.
Last month, in a written response to questions by the DA in Parliament, Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele said more than R1 billion worth of work would not be able to be completed by Sanral contractors in the 2011/12 financial year.
“Sanral, the Department of Transport’s roads agency that accounted for 70 percent of the road bitumen usage in South Africa during 2010, is severely affected by the shortage of bitumen… Various steps have been taken to address the short, medium and long term implications of the shortage of bitumen,” said Ndebele.
“The Department of Transport and Sanral have been actively engaging with the Department of Energy in an attempt to highlight to them the various problems related to the supply of bitumen from the existing refineries in South Africa and to find solutions for the medium to long term.
“Sanral has also been actively engaging with the road construction industry to directly import bitumen from overseas to overcome the local short-term supply constraints.

By Suren Naidoo and Marie Strachan
Source -

October 11, 2011

Ethiopian Bitumen Market

A US Fortune 500 company, DuPont is preparing to enter potential markets in Ethiopia created by the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). The company, placed 84th on the fortune 500, has initially focused its attention on the construction of roads.

The GTP includes plans to extend asphalt roads by over 100000Km across the country said Richard Ntombella, senior sales and technical officer for DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa. He added that improving road infrastructure is integral to the GTP and the economic development of the country.
“With the Road Network as the main supply chain for exporting and importing goods, it is essential that the infrastructure is capable of supporting GDP growth, as it plays a critical role in the development of other industries” said Ntombella at a the DuPont seminar held at Sheraton Addis to introduce its asphalt technology, Elvaloy.

The Asphalt materials previously used in road construction in Ethiopia have failed to withstand the demands made by heavy traffic and weather conditions explained Ntombella. Elvaloy has long been in use internationally as an additive to bitumen to help resist deterioration in the asphalt according to DuPont.
The Addis Ababa Roads Authority (AARA) and the Ethiopian Roads Authority are considering introducing the use of Elvaloy in upcoming road construction programs, according to sources. Both authorities were represented at the seminar conducted by DuPont.

The Dupont subsidiary in Ethiopia, pioneer, has been in business in Ethiopia as a supplier of high yield seeds for the past twenty years according to representatives of the organization.
Source: The Reporter

April 13, 2011

Oil from Bitumen - Vice Versa

All these days, the industry was busy extracting bitumen from the Oil Sands and now the other way round. Oil from Bitumen and this also happens in Canada, where the largest Oil Sands deposit are sitting ... Pls read the full story.

GreenCentre Canada, a green chemistry incubator located at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario has spun out a new company, called Switchable Solutions. Switchable Solutions is trying to commercialize a new type of industrial solvent invented by the University’s researchers.

Switchable Solutions Logo. Click image for the largest view.

This is not your usual chemistry solvent. Ready? The new chemical mixes with oil in one phase, then when you inject carbonated water into the mix the carbon dioxide reacts with the solvent and presto, the solvent doesn’t like mixing with oil anymore. Now in the second phase, it prefers to mix with water. To separate the solvent from water for recycling the solvent, simply bubble in regular air and the two fluids separate. Way to easy.

Dominik Wechsler, chief product scientist at Switchable Solutions, says, “It’s all done at room temperature.”

Now if you’re trying to extract the oil from bitumen or other natural biomass or even from synthetic products, a lot of process heat is needed, which means lots of natural gas, coal or oil is used. Getting to room temperature from the chills of Canada is much easier than getting to process heat like dry steam past 600ยบ.

Dr. Philip Jessop GreenCentreCanada. Click image for the largest view.

Dr. Philip Jessop, the Queen’s university professor who discovered the chemicals explains calling them switchable hydrophilicity solvents. That is to say the chemicals can be easily manipulated to become soluble in water or non-soluble in water depending on how much CO2 is introduced or taken away.

Solvents, many of which are toxic, often highly volatile chemicals create considerable environmental risks. That would be why Jessop’s invention was named one of the Top 20 chemistry breakthroughs in Canada in the past 100 years.

In North America, the market for solvents is roughly $20 billion annually. Industry and people rely heavily on organic solvents in many industrial processes and applications. The short familiar list includes using acetone to remove glue or fingernail polish, hexane, also a neurotoxin, is used to remove stains, dichloromethane is used to remove paint and carbon tetrachloride isn’t even available to consumers its so dangerous.

GreenCentreCanada Tour. Click image for the largest view.

For the most part solvents are used for separating oils from non-oily substances. In the controversial Canadian Oil Sands the main separation method is to burn huge quantities of natural gas to give the oil-laden sand a steam bath. Producers are experimenting with volatile solvents such as butane as a way to remove the sticky bitumen from sand. If these new phase change chemicals can work at scale major problems involving oil extraction in Canada will be laid to rest.

An unappetizing fact is producers use hexane to extract oils from soybeans, flax seeds and even algae. Removing the hexane or many other solvents from the bio oil requires energy-intensive heating for distillation resulting in a some volume of the solvent escaping as vapor that is difficult to collect and can contribute to air pollution.

How the new chemical process works is simple. Mix it with the bitumen or your biomass and it strips the oil free. Add water to the dissolved potpourri of oil, sand or bio matter, introduce CO2 and the solvent mixes with the water instead, leaving a neat layer of oil on top to drain off.

Then to separate the solvent from the water, simply bubble in air. The water and solvent can then be used over and over again to remove oils from the other impurities. There’s less need to burn natural gas for process heat other than to get to room temperature and no need to create toxic tailing ponds, distillation facilities, or air purification systems.

Wechsler knows the Canadians are on to something big saying, “It’s pretty much a closed-loop system. At the moment we’re still doing lab experiments, but we’re looking for a partner in the oil sands community to move this product forward.” Chances are he’ll get a very welcome meeting when the lab work shows how to build and run a pilot facility.

That’s not all. The chemical also is a solvent for the Dow Chemical trademarked Styrofoam or common polystyrene. This stuff is ubiquitous, and everywhere. From food bottles and shopping bags to foam packing peanuts the whole world piles up tons of this light and still (think cubic kilometers) bulky material, mostly in landfills.

The switchable hydrophilicity solvents dissolve the polystyrene, after which a low-heat filtering process removes food residue and other solid contaminants. What’s left behind is a pure polystyrene powder that can be turned into new products again.

If your sick of collecting other folks bags and bottles and other plastic junk littering the world, it looks now like recycling can work very well indeed on one of the handiest and problematic plastics in history.

This is great, great news.


February 28, 2011

Used Toners to Tar ..The Kiwi Way

Three Kiwi companies are investigating if waste residue toner recovered from recycled cartridges can be re-used in New Zealand roads, in research that could cut the volume of crude oil imported into the country to make bitumen.

The project, which is a unique collaboration between Ricoh New Zealand, Croxley Stationery and Downer, could result in diverting as much as 15 tonnes of waste residue toner a year away from landfill and into roads.

Early testing has seen the successful inclusion of waste toner, left over from photocopiers and other Ricoh devices, in both bitumen and PMB (polymer modified bitumen). PMB has a high resistance to wear and tear and is used in heavy traffic areas, but the polymer additive is very expensive. The addition of the waste toner to this material is significantly cheaper and also a world first.

Ricoh New Zealand managing director Mike Pollok says the project is a fantastic fit with the company's focus on reducing environmental effects from its business.

"Ricoh is committed to taking responsibility for the whole-of-life impacts of its products, and finding a destination for un-used toner is a great step forward."

The Ministry for the Environment awarded $45,800 from the Waste Minimisation Fund to the project.

Croxley's subsidiary the Toner Recycling Centre (TRC), which operates a cartridge collection and recycling programme for document solutions companies including Ricoh, collects the old toner cartridges.

TRC currently recycles more than 500,000 cartridges annually. Should the project be successful, other manufacturers would be invited into the scheme to achieve the goal of 100 per cent recycling of waste toner in New Zealand.

The trial will continue testing waste toner in both PMB, the preferred option, and asphalt.

Downer, one of the country's leading designer and builder of roads, is helping to fund the research. Should the project be successful, waste toner which is currently sent to landfill could be converted into a useable product, making the cartridges and toner within them 100 per cent recyclable.


July 21, 2010

Oilsands- Koreans Teams up

By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald July 21, 2010 2:04 AM

A $7-billion-a-year Korean construction firm has been contracted by Korea's state oil company to build an oilsands project in northern Alberta, a first for both companies.

GS Engineering & Construction Corp., which builds oil, gas and petrochemical plants, as well as buildings, roads, bridges and harbours around the world, has been awarded the $300-million contract to build the 10,000-barrel-a-day BlackGold Phase 1 project by Korea National Oil Corp.

Regulatory approval for the steam-assisted gravity drainage facility, estimated to cost a total of $400 million to $450 million, was received last year and the company recently filed the paperwork for a 20,000 bpd expansion.

The deal is part of continuing trend by Asian companies to invest in the oilsands to ensure their future energy needs, although there is no current direct bitumen conduit from Alberta to Asia.

KNOC has said it aims to double its worldwide production to 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent by 2012 -- Korea is the seventh largest oil consumer in the world at 2.3 million barrels a day and the fifth largest oil importer.

The BlackGold facility is expected to produce first bitumen by late 2012 or early 2013, and will be operated by Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust, which KNOC bought for $1.7 billion in December.

"We've been looking at it and now we feel comfortable proceeding with that project," said John Zahary, Harvest president and CEO, adding the technology will be classic SAGD, where steam is injected into the formation with a horizontal well to melt the heavy, sticky oil, which is collected in a second horizontal well.

It's expected to have an average steam-oil ratio of around 3-1, similar to other in situ thermal projects in the area south of Fort McMurray.

The company has not decided whether to use pipeline or truck to get the product to market. "There are number of different options," said Zahary. There is no plan to upgrade the bitumen in-house.

Services sector analyst Jeff Fetterly of CIBC World Markets said the introduction of foreign players in oilsands construction creates an "interesting dynamic" as the pace of resource development heats up in northern Alberta.

"The sense I get and the feedback I get talking to most of the service companies leveraged to the maintenance side or the construction side of the business is there will probably be more than enough work to go around for everyone," he said. "There is a lot of specialist knowledge in terms of understanding where you're developing this project and the region you're working in where the domestic companies are at an advantage, but it's also a function of what the capacity is going to look like."

He pointed out that a foreign general contractor will likely dole out hands-on work to local companies.

But Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said there's no guarantee the project will create jobs for Albertans, adding that unions in Korea have criticized GS's safety record.

"This may end up being the worst of all worlds for Albertans," he said. "We face the prospect of losing jobs in both construction and upgrading if this project is allowed to proceed."

On its website, GS lists one North American office, in Houston, and 10 in Asia and the Middle East, including two in China. It says it had record revenue and earnings in its last fiscal year, generating 569 billion won ($492 million) in operating profits on revenues of 7.8 trillion won ($7 billion).

KNOC acquired the Black-Gold leases in August 2006.

Other Asian stakes in the oilsands are held by Chinese and Japanese interests.

China Investment Corp. has a 45 per cent stake in Penn West's Peace River oilsands assets, Petro China has invested $1.9 billion in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., Sinopec has a 50 per cent interest in the Northern Lights oilsands project and recently bought a nine per cent stake in Syncrude Canada, while China National Off - shore Oil Corp. has a 16.7 per cent interest in privately held oilsands developer MEG Energy.

Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd., owned by a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company, applied in April to expand its 8,000-barrels-a-day pilot SAGD oilsands project at Hangingstone by 35,000 bpd.

Read more:

September 28, 2009

Bitumen demand in Qatar

Stable supplies and prices seem to have brought cheer to Qatar’s construction industry, which for long faced shortage of cement, sand, bitumen, steel and other materials.

Relaxation in import procedures, production boost and slackening global demand because of the economic downturn have been cited as major reasons for the stable supply of construction materials in the local market.
Industry sources said adequate quantities of cement were now available with the country’s main producer Qatar National Cement Company (QNCC). The company levies a wholesale price of only QR14 a bag at its production facility in Umm Bab, which has seen production boost in the recent months. Qatar’s cement requirement is estimated between 18,000 and 19,000 tonnes a day.

QNCC’s production has scaled up to 4.65mn tonnes (15,500 tonnes a day) from 3mn tonnes in mid-2008 following the completion of the cement mills (Plant-4) at the company’s facility at Umm Bab.
The balance (about 3,000tons per day) is met through imports, mostly from India and Pakistan.

“Adequate cement is available at reasonable prices in the wholesale market,” said the project manager of a leading Doha-based construction firm.
The sale of cement by unauthorised retailers has already been banned in Qatar. Unauthorised retailers were charging up to QR50 a bag when there was severe shortage of cement in the country until a few months ago.
The relaxation in import procedures has come as a big relief to the construction sector. Authorised construction firms can now freely import cement, sources point out.

Cement shortage in the country was triggered by the construction boom and the first major shortage was seen in 2004. Besides the huge demand caused by the country’s rapid expansion, the lack of import facilities at the Qatari ports triggered the shortage and subsequent higher prices.
The availability of treated sand has also improved considerably though the price has not come down commensurately. The official price tag of washed sand is QR22 per tonne. But one ends up paying much more due to transportation expenses.
However, costs have now come down to about QR80/ton from QR120/ton a couple of years ago, obviously due to the fall in transportation costs.
Qatar Sand Plant is the only producer of treated sand in the state. Washed sand is widely used for concrete works in the country.
Steel prices have already stabilised in the market in line with the international trend.

A bitumen roll costs about QR100 but there is no shortage in the market now, a source said.

Bitumen, a tar-like substance and a by-product obtained during crude oil refining, is used for waterproofing in buildings, bridges and drainage.
It is also widely used for road construction and resurfacing. Qatar mostly meets its bitumen requirements through imports from Saudi Arabia.


August 8, 2009

Petrobank on new Bitumen Extraction Proces

Petrobank Energy and Resources looks a bit like an oil and gas holding company. It controls a few oil sands leases and is working on a new bitumen extraction process; it controls 67% of Petrominerales, which operates in Columbia and Peru; and it will soon own 64% of PetroBakken Energy, assuming its merger with TriStar Oil and Gas works out.

But its conglomerate status will not be around forever.

Petrobank plans to chip in its Saskatchewan Bakken holdings as part of the deal to create PetroBakken, which is why it will end up 64% of the new entity. It will receive a tidy dividend of 96 cents per share a year, but John Wright, Petrobank’s chief executive, expects that to change.
Petrobank, he said, will hand over its stake to shareholders. And when it does, it will be quick and clean.

August 6, 2009

Bitumen Enscapulation roofing Membrae

Leading building products and composites manufacturer Johns Manville has formed a new company called JM E3 to integrate Energy Conversion Devices laminate technology into bitumen roofing membrane systems.

ECD is a manufacturer of thin-film amorphous silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) laminates for new sustainable roofing composites. Its Uni-solar laminates are lightweight, non-intrusive and easy to install compared to heavy and fragile glass-based solar panels. The company says they provide a solid return on investment through a low installation cost and low cost-per-kilowatt-hour of energy produced. ECD currently has the capacity to produce 18 miles of the laminate daily,equating to annual power generation capacity of 178MW

August 4, 2009

Airport Extension

AS work on Bundaberg Airport's runway extension moves toward completion, Bundaberg Regional Council is preparing for the next stage of the upgrade.

A spokeswoman for council said tenders are being called for to expand the passenger terminal.
“Tenders for construction of the terminal were advertised in the Bundaberg NewsMail on Saturday, and will be open for a period of four weeks,” the spokeswoman said.

Once tenders are received, council will vote on which one to accept.

“Once the successful tender has been selected and contracted by council, a meeting will be held with businesses located at the airport to outline the construction process, which will be designed to minimise disruptions to current airport operations,” the spokeswoman said.
Bundaberg Regional Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said it was great to see the project moving forward.

“The upgrade of the airport is a major outcome of Councils' Regional Economic Development Strategy 2008 - 2014,” she said.

“Our goal is to provide significant stimulus to the region's economy - in terms of both industry and the community and this tender process brings us one step closer.”
Currently council is undertaking the final overlay of bitumen on the extended runway.
A Boral bitumen plant was constructed near the airport to provide more than 30,000 tonnes of bitumen to the project.

Weather permitting, the runway should be complete in September, however the airport cannot take passenger jets until the terminal is also upgraded to new security standards.
Council announced in March it would be spending up to $6 million to upgrade the current terminal.

July 30, 2009

HPCL Changing into Bitumen from Fuel Oil

The Viciosu cycle has started. When the bitumen price is low, the refiners would like to go for Coke or Fuel Oil. Since last November, Bitumen prices are steady and more than Fuel Oil, lot of refiners are chaning their production progrmmes back to Bitumen.

HPCL is the latest one to join the band wagon.. Pls read on the story, thanks to Reuters.

State-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp may not export fuel oil in the current fiscal year ending March as weaker monsoon has spurred demand for bitumen from construction sector, a company official said on Wednesday.

"Normally we export fuel oil in monsoon. But we have not done anything so far," the official, who declined to be named, told reporters, adding that if the monsoons continued to elude, the company would not export fuel oil "because there is no lull in construction".
"So far demand for oil products is good because of weaker monsoon," he said. "Bitumen is in full swing."

Last year, HPCL exported about 200,000 tonnes of fuel oil, he said. HPCL runs a 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery in Mumbai and a 150,000 bpd plant at Vizag on the east coast.
The official said due to higher availability of domestic gas,

HPCL aims to export one million tonnes of naphtha this fiscal year, compared with 800,000 tonnes shipped out in last year.

"We hope to export one million tonnes of naphtha mainly from Vizag. At Mumbai we are maximising gasoline production. Last year NFCL (Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals) and RCF (Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd) were taking naphtha from us," he said.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Himani Sarkar) Source - Reuters

July 22, 2009

Minister watching the Quality

Indian Roads are not paying back what they initially worth. Lot of adulterated contents into bitumen and the quality become a question mark. Minister is getting tough.. read on.

Facing flak from the Opposition in Lok Sabha on slow progress of the National Highway Development Project (NHDP), the government on Tuesday said it was taking action to expedite the pace of implementation.

“Progress of projects is closely monitored at various levels and steps have been taken to expedite land acquisition, shifting of utilities, obtaining clearances from Railways for Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and action against non-performing contractors,” road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath said.

He said the government was conducting reviews on regular basis of on-going and proposed NHDP projects which would commence within eight months from the date of award.
Nath said the conversion of two-lane roads to four-lane or six-lane was done after examining the flow of traffic. Two-lane roads would be ten metre in width and have traffic up to 15,000 passenger car units.

The minister said polymer modified bitumen is permitted to be used in the construction of national highways to improve the durability of the roads constructed.
Nath said enlightening people through signages and other measures were undertaken to improve safety.

July 17, 2009

Petro China Keeps Buying Refineries in Singapore, Malaysia

CNPC and PetroChina to get boost in overseas downstream presence
PetroChina's state-owned parent company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), is to invest in a $10 billion refinery project in Malaysia, according to private Malaysian firm Merapoh.
CNPC, China's largest oil and gas producer and supplier, has also agreed to buy the refinery's products for at least 20 years, Reuters reported.

Merapoh Chairman Nazri Ramli told a press conference that “CNPC will take up equity in the project” which will see a 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery built in the northwestern Malaysian state of Kedah.

Environmental approval for the project is expected by September.
Merapoh is responsible for project development and construction which has been slated to commence later this year and be completed by 2014.

This deal will further strengthen CNPC's overseas presence in the downstream segments, especially since its publicly listed arm PetroChina just got approval to acquire a stake in a Nippon Oil refinery following another acquisition which saw it become the controlling shareholder in Singapore Petroleum Company (SPC).

PetroChina last week made a mandatory cash offer for the remaining SPC shares.
PetroChina International (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., recently acquired a 45.51% stake in SPC, representing 234.5 million shares, for S$1.47 billion ($1.02 billion) from Keppel Corporation's Keppel Oil & Gas Services Pte Ltd (KOGS).

SPC has a 50% interest in Singapore Refining Company Private Limited, one of the three major petroleum refiners in Singapore. SPC also conducts terminalling and distribution and trading of crude and refined petroleum products.

Meanwhile, it is understood that two private equity firms, Hong Kong Beijing Star Ltd and Winson Investment Ltd, has already raised funds to buy a 40% stake in Merapoh each.
According to Nazri, Merapoh management would be controlling the remaining 20% stake in Merapoh, which holds the license to build and develop the Kedah refinery.

Chip fat to reduce Crbon Foot Print- On Bitumen

OLD chip fat can be used to make 'greener' roads, a company has claimed following a discovery during tests in Newark.

Aggregate Industries found the leftover liquid could be recycled as a replacement for bitumen and would cut the carbon footprint of the road building industry.
The Leicester firm has said 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen, which is made up of crude oil, is used every year for road building.

The company made the cooking oil discovery during tests at its plant in Newark.
It now wants to patent the invention before using the newly-developed asphalt across the country.

Helen Bailey, 25, research manager at Aggregate Industries, was awarded the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award 2009 by The Worshipful Company of Engineers for the invention.

Ms Bailey said: "I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix.

"The solution I developed complies with UK Standards for asphalt while reducing the carbon footprint in resultant products.

"I was delighted to find that the waste fat produced by cooking one of the nation's favourite dishes can be used to hold together our roads."


July 14, 2009

Miner Looks towards Indonesia

LISTED MINER Imperial Resources, Inc. wants to increase the exploration area in its asphalt bitumen project in Indonesia given promising reserves, the head of the company said late last week.

"We expect to have more concessions... we have made known to our partner that we want to increase [the exploration area]," Oliverio G. Laperal, Sr., president and principal executive of Imperial, told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.
Early this year, the local miner partnered with Indonesian P.T. Aspal Buton Nasional to explore, develop and exploit 1,940 hectares of the total 2,900-hectare asphalt property in Buton Island, Southeast Sulawesi Province.

"Even from the start, part of the asphalt deposit is oozing out. Now the extent [of the reserves] is what we are trying to determine," Mr. Laperal said.
The miner started exploration two months ago.

Imperial Resources gave Nasional $150,000 as a signing check for the deal. It will pay an additional $1 million after the exploration should the mining site prove to be commercially viable, plus a 5% royalty charge on proceeds from the mine.
"We will use all kinds of financial instruments [like] equity, borrowings, underwritings and bonds," Mr. Laperal said.

Imperial Resources earlier estimated the asphalt bitumen mining project to be worth $500 million. Asphalt bitumen is used extensively in road construction.
Mr. Laperal said good prices for asphalt would likely attract investors even amid the financial crisis.

"Because the price of asphalt has exceeded the price of oil starting August last year until now, asphalt mining is profitable and it has become more profitable," Mr. Laperal said.
However, Imperial Resources might find difficulties getting funds from the equity market given that asphalt "is not exactly a traded commodity like gold and copper," Jose Mari B. Lacson, research head of Campos Lanuza & Co., said in a phone interview.

"They have to look for specific investors ... I think there will be some specific investors who are knowledgeable on their product," Mr. Lacson added. In the first quarter, net losses of Imperial Resources rose by 40% to P2.141 million from P1.527 million during the same period last year.

Mr. Laperal said the company might still record losses this year as it continues to spend on exploration. Imperial Resources incurred P7.56 million in net losses last year.
Imperial was originally incorporated in 1969 as an energy firm, but it switched to information technology as its primary purpose in 2000 with the creation of subsidiary Philippine Cyber Colleges Corp., which has schools in Baguio City and Bulacan. It shifted focus to mining two years ago.

Shares in Imperial Resources were last traded at P9 apiece on June 15. — Neil Jerome C. Morales


Bitumen Factory for Highway - Must for Kazak

Main issues of construction of highways depend on bitumen factory
[15:01] 13.07.2009, Kazakhstan Today
The main issues of development of highways in Kazakhstan depend on construction of a bitumen factory. The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov informed in the interview to journalists after acquaintance with the course of construction of the highway Astana - Schuchinsk, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports.

"We see concrete results of construction of the road and the beginning of the new big project: Western Europe - Western China," K. Masimov said.
"We need to synchronize the work of road construction Western Europe - Western China. The main issue is construction of a bitumen factory."

According to the Prime Minister, "the condition for overcoming the world financial crisis is development of infrastructural projects. Construction of highways is most important infrastructural projects, which create new workplaces and stimulate industry development," he stated.

Cost of construction of the highway Astana - Schuchinsk is 114.4 billion KZT. Total extent of the site - 224 kilometers. 3500 people are taking part in realization of the project.
The project will be completed in November, 2009.

July 13, 2009

Shortage of Bitumen in Pakistan

APCA expresses its concern and anxiety on non availability of bitumen
ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Contractors Association (APCA) expresses its concern and anxiety on the non availability of the bitumen at a time when the bitumen is needed to the road contractors of the country for the completion of their projects because of the right season.

The position is that there are two refineries in the country for the supply of bitumen, National Refinery, Karachi and Attock Refinery, Attock and that both the refineries are in one hand. APCA stated that the road contractors of NWFP have been asked to bring their requirement from Karachi. The route bringing consignment from Karachi is D. I. Khan and Bannu which is not operating because of law and order situation in NWFP. APCA stated that the other available route is Via Mianwali but the transporters are not ready to bring the consignment via Mianwali.
APCA stated that the complex situation is that due to non availability of bitumen the road contractors of NWFP and around are facing serious problems for the completion of their projects and the road contractors are under threat of cancellation of their projects.

APCA stated that on the one hand the bitumen is not available and on the other hand the owners of the refineries have increased the price of bitumen from Rs. 40,597/- to Rs. 46,823/- in a short period of three months from May 2009 to July 2009. APCA stated that the shortage and non availability and increase in the prices of bitumen is a regular feature ever since the government privatized National Refinery, Karachi, which has been purchased by the owner of Attock Refinery thereby creating a monopoly situation.

APCA requests government to take immediate notice of the non availability of bitumen to the road contractors of NWFP and direct the management of Attock Refinery to make available the bitumen to the road contractors of NWFP from Attock Refinery. APCA further requests President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Minister of Commerce, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Federal Minister for Communication and Advisor to President of Pakistan on Petroleum to take immediate notice of non availability of bitumen and allow the import of bitumen from all the countries on zero percent Custom Duty and without Sales Tax and Income Tax in the greater interest of growth of construction industry in Pakistan.

APCA further request that in view of the increased projects of the infrastructure in the company there is need to add another refinery in public sector and requests the Government of Pakistan to immediately start a refinery in Public Sector to reduce the shortage and cost of bitumen.

July 11, 2009

It was Plastic and now Used Oil..for Btiumen on Road

The construction of asphalt roads would be made ‘greener’ by using waste vegetable oil instead of bitumen, says international building-materials company Aggregate Industries.
According to spokeswoman Helen Bailey, the 1.25M tonnes of bitumen used every year carries a “significant environmental and economic cost”.

She has already been awarded the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award by the Worshipful Company of Engineers for her work.
Now her new system, which is awaiting a patent, will shortly be pioneered on road surfacing projects in Lincolnshire.

She says: “I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix, using a waste product readily available in the UK. My new method meets all UK standards, but is much better for the environment.”

She adds: “I was delighted to find that the waste fat produced by cooking chips, one of the nation’s favourite dishes, can be used to glue our roads together!”

Source- New Energy Resources- UK.

July 10, 2009

Goes without Saying-- BP Shell still making Money on Bitumen

Oil companies Mobil and Caltex may have taken a profit bath last year but the balance sheets of their competitors BP and Shell are scrubbing up nicely.

BP filed its return late last month, recording a $58.2 million after-tax surplus for the year to December 31, a 36 per cent increase on the previous year. Shell posted an $84.3m profit during the same period, a marginal increase compared to 2007.

ExxonMobil and Chevron, operators of Mobil and Caltex petrol stations, last year lost $189m between them. Both companies blamed huge increases in the cost of crude oil and refined petroleum products and foreign exchange losses for the poor results.

Jackie Maitland, Shell spokeswoman, also notes that costs increased sharply during 2008, resulting in a $63m loss on its petroleum sector (rather than the group).
BP spokeswoman Diana Stretch said the reason the oil companies reported such disparate results in the same trading conditions was due to different accounting practices.

''There's quite a difference between what some [companies] include and some don't,'' Stretch says, pointing to the fact that both ExxonMobil and Caltex carry debt priced in US dollars. The New Zealand dollar lost about 40 per cent of its value against the US during 2008.

Maitland says the company's continued profitability stemmed from its diversified portfolio, which includes a 38 per cent stake in privately-owned civil construction company, Fulton Hogan. ''That's a profitable shareholding,'' she notes. Shell also owns a quarter of Loyalty New Zealand, which operates the Fly Buys franchise, in addition to its bitumen, chemicals, service station and New Zealand Refining Company interests. Shell offset the petroleum losses and marginally increased its profit due to its group interests.

While BP was pleased with its result, Stretch says, it was still below expectation given its asset base of $1.2 billion. ''We're part of a global organisation and our parent clearly has expectations of us to provide a return to the shareholder. We will aim for another improvement next year,'' she said.

Meanwhile, Shell expects to announce in early August whethrr it has a buyer for its New Zealand assets after its partner, UBS, issued an ''information memorandum'' on the sale last month. In addition to its 230 petrol stations, Shell is selling its marine terminals, aviation business, commercial fuel, chemicals and bitumen interests, Maitland says.