Showing posts with label Blown Asphalt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blown Asphalt. Show all posts

October 10, 2016

TOT or Advance Selling of Human Traffic Loads ?

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is preparing to start the process of monetizing toll-based operational road assets under the toll, operate and transfer (TOT) model, aimed to bring new investments to the highways sector.

“We have not as yet floated tenders to monetize road assets, but are preparing to do so. We expect to begin doing this in 2-3 months’ time under the TOT model,” NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra said in an email response to queries from Mint.

This will be India’s first exercise in auctioning NHAI’s operational projects after a cabinet clearance in August. The proceeds will fund new highway projects under various models.

NHAI is currently working on the guidelines for TOT, under which the investor will collect tolls and be responsible for operation and maintenance of the project. The TOT model will be essential to attract long-term foreign investment, financial investors and investment bankers told Mint.

NHAI can lease up to 75 national highway projects which are fetching tolls for at least two years to various entities on the TOT model. The overall annual toll collected from these projects is about Rs2,700 crore, against which NHAI can expect to raise Rs25,000-30,000 crore by granting 30-year concessions, said Ashish Agarwal, director (infrastructure) at investment bank Equirus Capital.

The TOT model is long overdue, said Gautam Bhandari, partner at I Squared Capital, a US-based investor in road projects. “We are hopeful that NHAI finally does launch its TOT programme so that it can serve as a model for other sectors as well. As a global investor, we believe that NHAI’s TOT model, if executed properly, could be a win-win for everyone. Proceeds from TOT auctions will free up valuable taxpayer capital that can then be recycled for much-needed new infrastructure projects,” he said.

I Squared is looking to invest as much as $1 billion in Indian infrastructure. It has invested more than Rs1,000 crore through its investment platform Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte. Ltd in three road projects so far.

IDFC Alternatives, which has bought controlling stakes in operational road projects, is waiting to see the fine print. “The good part is that in the TOT model, there are far less variables and concerns to be addressed as compared to projects with embedded construction risks. The differences in the bids here would be more a function of how differently each investor views the traffic growth rates, maintenance costs, synergies with other projects in one’s portfolio, if any,” said Aditya Aggarwal, partner (infrastructure), IDFC Alternatives.

There is significant interest from international infrastructure funds in the Indian road sector, said Rahul Mody, managing director, Ambit Corporate Finance Pvt. Ltd. “The TOT model is an excellent idea. The model takes away two key risks in the road sector—delays or cost overruns and initial traffic discovery—as the assets that will be offered under this (model) will be operational with some tolling history; hence it should attract considerable interest from Indian companies as well as foreign investors,” Mody said.

“The model can be an avenue for NHAI to raise upfront capital to fund the EPC and HAM projects; opportunity to feed the increasing number of pension funds and infrastructure investors having access to low cost capital and further deepen the infrastructure market; and allowing players to choose better the nature of risk-reward play they want to play in the road sector,” Agarwal said.

Source- LiveMint

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

June 7, 2016

Concrete to Replace Bitumen..

Concrete Roads 20% Cheaper Than Bitumen, More Durable – Dangote

The president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote yesterday said using concrete in road construction is 20 percent less costly than using other materials.

The business man disclosed this at Itori, Ewekoro local government area of Ogun State during the inauguration of a 26 km concrete road constructed by his company as part of its corporate social responsibility, CSR, to the people of the area.

According to Dangote, apart from saving cost,  roads constructed with concrete last longer than bitumen roads and do not require much maintenance.

“Our decision to introduce cement concrete roads in Nigeria, is in line with what obtains in other parts of the world. For instance, the famous Autobahn in Germany, was constructed with concrete. The equally popular Marine Drive in Mumbai, India, which was built in 1939, is another example of a concrete road.”

The business mogul further stated that players in the cement industry in Nigeria have been clamouring for a rethink on how roads are constructed in the country saying to save billions that go into maintaining bitumen roads, concrete roads are the answers.

“The Nigerian cement industry as our contribution to finding a cost-effective and lasting solution to this problem, has been advocating the construction of concrete roads as a more viable alternative to asphalt roads. That is why we at DIL, are venturing into the construction of concrete roads. Today’s ceremony is just the beginning for us, as we will soon embark on the building of more concrete roads in other States of the Federation, including Lagos, Bauchi, Kogi and Kaduna.

Dangote explained that his company embarked on construction of Itori -Ibese road to contribute their quota to easing suffering of the people of the area occasioned by poor state of the road also help their business.

“This project was conceived in 2014, as part of our efforts to ease movement of our heavy duty trucks from our Ibese Cement Plant to other parts of the country. We realised that the existing narrow road built in the ’70s, had virtually collapsed and needed to be reconstructed to accommodate our trucks and other road users.

“First, concrete roads are not only about 20 percent cheaper than the conventional asphalt roads, but they also last longer and do not have potholes. Also, concrete roads do not require frequent maintenance and they save fuel for motorists and protect tyres from wear and tear.

He noted that apart from being cost effective and durable, materials for making concrete roads are locally sourced.

“Another advantage of concrete roads is that cement, the basic raw material is for construction, is available locally, and is cheaper to use in the long run than bitumen, a petroleum-based product that is presently imported. As a matter of fact, in Nigeria, economic losses due to poor condition of our roads is estimated at about $1billion annually. I believe that the introduction of concrete roads will enable the government to find lasting solution to the poor road network in the country, and also reduce the burden of constantly sourcing for funds to repair roads.

Source- leadership

April 22, 2016

Highway Project Model

Introduced last year by the Union ministry of road transport and highways, acceptance of the hybrid annuity model or HAM for tendering of road projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was initially weak. It continues to remain so.

For instance, the first bid under the HAM model, for four-laning of the Solan-Kaithalighat section in Himachal Pradesh, had no takers. The bid terms had to be revised.

Till date, five projects totalling 279 km (Rs 6,700 crore in value) have been awarded. The FY16 target for HAM was set at 1,400 km. Experts, however, say with more than half of NHAI’s project pipeline lined up under HAM and the government having addressed the sector's key concerns, this is likely to pick up.

After the first bid failed, the government addressed some of the key impediments, particularly on forest clearance and land acquisition. Further, HAM, often referred to as a mix of the Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models, addresses the concerns on both.

Under the latter model, a winning contractor builds the road project and hands it over to the government after completing the construction. Under BOT, he builds the project and operates (collects toll, maintains the road) it, handing it over on completion of the concession period.

Primary concerns such as land acquisition, traffic risk and inflation in BOT projects have been adequately addressed in HAM. Further, with NHAI pitching in 40 per cent of the capital, the project equity risk is likely to be lowered to 18 per cent (as against 30 per cent for BOT) of the project cost, resulting in a superior return profile to that under BOT.
Highway contracts: Hybrid annuity projects to gain pace
HAM scores over EPC for the government as well. From 100 per cent cost of capital to be borne by NHAI under EPC, the exposure is reduced to 40 per cent under HAM.

The question is whether companies would opt for HAM in its new avatar. Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman, IRB Infrastructure, terming HAM a deferred EPC payment structure, feels it might not offer good operating margins or a return creation opportunity vis-a-vis the current BOT model that his company prefers. “Just to wet our feet and find out how really the process happens, we (IRB) might participate in a few bids under HAM but for now, we are not looking at it in a big way,” he said.

Experts say the approach on HAM will depend on a company's stance and current needs. It would have little to do with any concern over the project or model.

Santosh Yellapu of Angel Broking says, “How companies want to build their order books would determine if they want to bid for HAM projects.” According to him, larger companies such as IRB Infra, Ashoka Buildcon and IL&FS Transportation Networks might not participate in the current round of HAM bids, as their current order book is comfortable. Smaller companies such as MBL Infrastructures, MEP Infrastructure Developers and Welspun Corporation, whose order book is in the process of being strengthened, might have more appetite.

A report by ratings agency ICRA adds that features of the HAM model are expected to elicit a favourable response, especially from large EPC players and some BOT ones. Even so, despite a large part of the concerns being addressed, there are other issues influencing companies. Analysts at Emkay Financial Services point to the large difference between L1 (lowest bid price) and L2 (second lowest price) as signifying that no developer wants to bid aggressively.

Some are more optimistic. Kunal Seth of Prabhudas Lilladher feels the larger entities might be warming up to the idea. Also, with BOT projects unlikely to see any meaningful return for older entities such as Gammon, GMR Infra and HCC, given the strain on their finances, some experts feel the trend of declining bids under the BOT model could go on. As more bids open under the HAM model, it might compel the larger ones to change their operating strategy.

For example, the pipeline for EPC projects, though higher than BOT, is less than half that for HAM. “Instead of bidding for three-four small road projects, a large HAM project might be more rewarding for the bigger players as well,” says Seth.

Source- Business Standard

November 27, 2015

Bitumen mixing Plant - On the limits

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan visiting a bitumin-mixing plant atKumbanad-Kadapra, near Kozhencherry, on Thursday


Photo: Leju Kamal

Residents of Kumbanad-Kadapra allege that the plant is causing breathing problems for people

The problems faced by the common man due to a bitumen-mixing plant located in a thickly populated area adjoining a Scheduled Caste colony at Kumbanad-Kadapra, near Kozhenchery, will be raised in the Assembly, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has said.

Mr. Achuthanandan, accompanied by Village Action Council workers, was talking to reporters after visiting the plant on Thursday.

The Village Action Council has been waging an agitation demanding the shifting of the plant from the thickly populated area for the past three years.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the controversial plant should be relocated to an uninhibited area, if the custodians failed to operate it without causing problems to the villagers.

He first visited the Chellathuparambil colony and interacted with the affected families there.

Panchayat ward member Jessie Sajan said the villagers had been put to much difficulty due to the noxious fumes emitted from the plant.

She said one person was killed due to asphyxia caused by the fumes from the bitumen-mixing plant in March and many others were hospitalised.

Though the villagers under the aegis of the action council staged satyagraha before the Koipram panchayat office for 48 days, the local body had given clearance to the plant, disregarding their protests, Ms. Sajan said.

Ms. Sajan has been elected as an Independent member representing the action council in the just-concluded local body elections, defeating both the UDF and the LDF candidates.

Ammini Mathew, Winnie Mathews, and Sanoop Rajan, villagers, told Mr. Achuthanandan that the plant had been causing breathing difficulties and allergy problems to the people in the locality.

Steps sought

Mr. Achuthanandan also interacted with the owner of the plant, Prasad, and asked him to take immediate steps to address the problems faced by the local residents.

K. Ananthagopan, CPI(M) State committee member; R. Sanalkumar, district secretariat member; and Joseph Mathews, IT advisor to the Opposition Leader; were also present.

Source- The Hindu

November 25, 2015

Indian Bitumen Market



With the target of making over 90 percent of Indian roads bituminous, the central government has allocated more than 10 percent of its total expenditure on roads development testifying to the high priority being accorded the sector, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
"Over 90 percent roads in have to be bituminous. The current government has kept the development of roads at a high priority by allocating more than 10 percent of the total spending for the same," Pradhan said here inaugurating the two-day Asian Bitumen Conference being held for the first time in India.
"The current government has kept the development of roads at a high priority by allocating more than 10 percent of the total spending for the same," he said.
"I'm happy to note that bitumen products are being introduced at all the refineries in the country for the better performance of roads in India," he added.
Noting that with a road infrastructure of 3.3 million km, India has the second largest road network in the world after America, Pradhan said: "Bitumen becomes an important parameter in planning and execution of road construction projects in India."
"Owing to the diverse climatic conditions, it requires better understanding of bitumen supply and demand in the country."
According to the minister, total bitumen sales in India in 2014-2015 amounted to 4.8 million tonnes.
Experts from as many as 20 countries from Asia have come together to discuss challenges and opportunities emerging in the bitumen market in Asia, the conference organisers Asian Bitumen said.
"India's bitumen utilisation will outpace production in the coming years as demand is expected to accelerate," the organisers said in a statement.
According to the organisers, currently 90 percent of India's bitumen requirement is met by local oil companies, while the balance is imported. India also exports during the monsoon season from the east coast.
"Factors such as a shift in demand towards value added bitumen products, preference being given to cement over bitumen in road construction in countries like India, and additional usages emerging for the crude by-product have dramatically affected the outlook of the bitumen market in Asia," the statement said.
Global bitumen demand is expected to reach 122 million tonnes in 2018.

November 21, 2015

Extract Bitumen from Oil Sands and do the Transition also as it is still dirty..

U.S. President Barack Obama says it's "not contradictory" for Canada to continue extracting bitumen from Alberta's oilsands while also working as a global partner in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

"My view has been that we have to transition," Obama said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila.

"That transition does not happen overnight."

"Both of us are large oil and gas producers and that's an important part of our economy," Obama continued.

"We make no apologies for that but I also think that we have to recognize that if we want to preserve this planet for our kids and our grandkids, then we're going to have to shift increasingly away from carbon-emitting energy sources."

U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Alberta's oil sands during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila on Nov. 19, 2015. (CBC)

Trudeau, for his part, said Canada had earned an international reputation for not taking climate change seriously and that's something he intends to change.

"We understand as a government that there is no longer a choice to be made between what's good for the environment or what's good for the economy," Trudeau said. "They go together in the 21st century."

The prime minister said one of his "first tasks" on the issue will be to "reassure Canadians and others that we are serious about meeting reduction targets, about being positive actors on the world stage in the fight against climate change, and demonstrating a future in renewables and smart investments around energy."

Low oil prices 'an opportunity'

The U.S. president also acknowledged the economic woes Alberta is currently facing and noted the reality of oil production and the move toward alternative energy sources will be "dictated by market prices."

"Right now in Alberta, a lot of the issues with respect to how to extract oil does have to do with the fact that oil prices are low and they're going to be low, I suspect, for a while," Obama said. "That actually presents both our countries an opportunity."

Now is the time for energy companies to look seriously at diversifying their business models, the president said, and for consumers to use any savings in their fuel bills to invest in things like solar panels for their homes.

"This is going to be a messy, bumpy process worldwide," Obama said.

"But I am confident that we can get it done and the fact that we now have a very strong partner in Canada to help set up some global rules around how we approach this will be extraordinarily helpful."

source -CBA News

November 20, 2015

Bitumen Storage Tanks

http://www.benzeneinternational.com
The Matola terminals Global mid- and downstream energy company Puma Energy officially opened new bitumen and fuel terminals in Mozambique this week, raising its capacity in the Southern African country to 275 500 m³.

The Matola terminals comprise 11 steel storage tanks, which have collectively added 115 000 m³ of storage capacity. The bitumen terminal has been designed to reduce Mozambique’s dependence on imports, while the fuel terminal creates a new fuel-supply channel for the Southern African Development Community.

COO Christophe Zyde described the Mozambican storage facilities as “state-of-the-art” and said the infrastructure would act as a catalyst for economic growth in the country.

Puma Energy, which is associated with the Trafigura Group, is active in over 45 countries globally and recently set up a regional hub in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it is also in the process of building storage capacity.

Source - http://www.miningweekly.com/article/puma-energy-opens-new-bitumen-fuel-storage-capacity-in-mozambique-2015-11-19

BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ©

Cheaper Crude Kills Bitumen Blend with high carbon


CHINA TEAPOT REFINERIES: SHANDONG TEAPOT REFINERS TO RAMP UP CRUDE IMPORTS BEFORE YEAR-END

Some independent teapot refiners in China's eastern Shandong province will be ramping up crude oil imports over the next month in a bid to utilize their import quotas before the end of the year, trade sources said this week.

This is despite a slowdown in domestic gasoline and gasoil sales, which dampened teapot refiners' demand for imported crude, petroleum bitumen blend and straight-run fuel oil over this week, as they continue to grapple with rising oil product stocks, according to sources.

No new crude cargoes have arrived at Shandong ports this week, after a string of deliveries last week.

But given a few refineries have only utilized just a small portion of their annual import quotas, the Shandong provincial government has required Lihuayi Petrochemical -- better known as Lijin -- Yatong Petrochemical and Kenli Petrochemical, to import a total 880,000 mt of crude before the end of this year.

Lijin will need to import 200,000 mt next month in order to meet its target.

The refiner, which has a crude import quota of 3.5 million mt/year, received two cargoes totaling 200,000 mt last week and will be returning from an ongoing full turnaround at the end of November.

Yatong will need to import around 600,000 mt of crude before the end of the year.

The refiner last week has received one 50,000-mt cargo of Russian Sokol crude, after taking delivery of its first import cargo of 60,000 mt in October. Yatong has a crude import quota of 2.76 million mt/year.

Kenli Petrochemical will have to import 80,000 mt of crude by the end of this year, according to sources.

The refiner, which has a quota of 2.52 million mt/year, has so far received a total of about 200,000 mt of Russian ESPO blend crude.

Meanwhile, some Omani crude, as well as Brazilian grades, were offered into the spot market on a FOB Qingdao basis, sources said.

With teapot refiners importing crude, the supply of imported crude in the Shandong market has also become abundant.

Some of the teapot refiners unable to fully use up their import crude supply in their own systems were said to be selling part of their cargoes to other teapot refiners which have not been granted import quotas yet.

Shandong's teapot refineries are able to crack crude and fuel oil, but they have been using less imported fuel oil since November 2014 because of relatively high procurement costs.

After the government granted teapot refineries access to imported crude oil, crude has been the top feedstock choice, while bitumen blend is still considered favorable for those that have no access to both domestic and imported crude.

NO NEW BITUMEN BLEND CARGOES THIS WEEK

Imports of petroleum bitumen blend by Shandong teapot refineries have been slow in recent weeks, mainly due to uncertainties over tax issues.

There was talk in the market that the government may levy a consumption tax on bitumen blend, as it has a similar quality to fuel oil. And should this happen, there will probably be fewer buyers for bitumen blend, which is used as feedstock for coking units.

Since the government typically reviews and revises all import and export items at the end of the year, trade sources said they would rather wait for a clear directive before resuming imports.

No new bitumen blend cargoes have arrived for Shandong teapot refineries this week.

Yuhuang Petrochemical and Hengyuan Petrochemical early this month have each taken delivery of a 100,000-mt cargo of bitumen blend at Rizhao and Tianjin. Another two similar cargoes are scheduled to arrive late this month, sources said.

This compares with an estimate 530,000 mt of bitumen blend imports, in five cargoes, into Shandong ports in October, which was lower than September's imports of 1.1 million mt in 12 cargoes.

The steep fall in bitumen blend imports was attributed to more teapot refineries being allowed to import crude, freeing up domestic crude supply to other refiners and displacing the share of bitumen blend in refiners' feedstock mix as a result.

Premiums of November-delivery common grade bitumen blend cargoes were heard at around $20-$25/mt to the Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis.

Common grade bitumen blend has a density of 0.98-0.99 kg/l, sulfur content of 2%-3% and carbon residue of 12%-14%.

Teapot refineries in Shandong -- China's main buyers of imported straight-run fuel oil before November 2014 -- have largely switched to comparatively cheaper bitumen blend that does not incur consumption tax and import tariffs.

ONE RUSSIAN M100 FUEL OIL CARGO ARRIVED FOR TEAPOT

On Russian M100 fuel oil, one 30,000-mt cargo is due to arrive Friday at Rizhao port in Shandong.

The cargo will be taken by Xinhai Petrochemical in Jiangsu province, a subsidiary of Shandong's biggest teapot refiner Dongming Petrochemical. Western trader Mercuria was said to have moved M100 fuel oil cargoes into Shandong this month, though details on the number of cargoes and buyers were not known.

M100 fuel oil cargoes for delivery in early December were heard talked at premiums of around $45/mt to MOPS 180 CST fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis, stable from those delivered in early November.

Meanwhile, despite current thin demand for M100 fuel oil from teapot refineries and petrochemical plants, some Chinese companies are now expected likely to participate in Russian state-owned Rosneft's term tender for 2016.

The tender, offering up to 3.5 million mt of M100 fuel oil for loading over January to December 2016 from Nakhodka or Slavyanka, closes on November 19, and bids will remain valid until December 11.

Rosneft currently has a term contract of up to 2.8 million mt of M100 for loading over January-December 2015 from Nakhodka or Vanino with Mercuria, at a term premium of around $85-$88/mt to MOPS 180 CST HSFO assessment on a FOB basis.

--Staff, newsdesk@platts.com
--Edited by Irene Tang, irene.tang@platts.com

November 19, 2015

Bitumen Refinery Champion

Chamber recognizes proponents of bitumen refinery project

Bowman Centre lauded as 'Resource Champion'

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has presented a Resource Champion award to the Bowman Centre. Pictured, from left, are Don Wood (of the Bowman Centre); Rob Taylor, chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Albion, director of the Bowman Centre; and Walter Petryschuk, a Bowman Centre associate.
 The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has presented a Resource Champion award to the Bowman Centre. Pictured, from left, are Don Wood (of the Bowman Centre); Rob Taylor, chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce; Katherine Albion, director of the Bowman Centre; and Walter Petryschuk, a Bowman Centre associate.
A group of individuals who continue to advocate for what could, if they are successful, be one of Sarnia-Lambton’s largest commercial projects in decades has been recognized by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.
The Bowman Centre, which is based at the Western Research Park Sarnia-Lambton, was singled out for the award at a ceremony last Friday.
“This group has dedicated an enormous amount of time and considerable expertise to create prosperity in Sarnia-Lambton,” said Rob Taylor, chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, referring to several individuals who were in attendance.
Those included Walter Petryschuk, an associate who has spent much of his career in Chemical Valley (he was once plant manager at the former Polysar complex); Don Wood, also an associate; and Katherine Albion, who is director of the Bowman Centre.
One of the major initiatives at the Bowman Centre is a proposed Sarnia-Lambton Advanced Bitumen Energy Refinery—SABER—an initiative that came from a conference held in Sarnia in 2013.
A precipitous fall in oil prices since then has clearly presented a challenge, although it has also sparked a degree of flexibility.
One example of that, says Wood, is reducing the initial scale of the proposed project, along with the inclusion of bio-feedstocks and even the product mix being proposed for SABER.
The core idea behind the project remains consistent, says Petryschuk.
“The fact is, we’re losing billions of dollars in potential added value by not refining bitumen in Canada,” he says. “that, to me, is almost criminal.”
The SABER project hasn’t altered the Bowman Centre’s vision and the existing pipeline infrastructure is sufficient to make the project viable.
Petryschuk also credited the support of the community and various volunteers with the Bowman Centre for their contributions. “Without them, we just wouldn’t get this job done,” he says.

November 9, 2015

Bitumen Bleeds at High temp..


Don Openshaw is sick of gravel being thrown onto his driveway as the stones loosen in the increasing temperatures.
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX NZ
Don Openshaw is sick of gravel being thrown onto his driveway as the stones loosen in the increasing temperatures.

Sick of loose gravel covering his driveway a New Plymouth man has resorted to vacuuming up the nuisance stones. 
Don Openshaw said the problems began when the road in front of his house on Keat Place was re-sealed in May.
"It looked at the time like the council had done a reasonable job," he said. 
"But now stones are coming off the bitumen, they're just not holding in the heat."
Openshaw said the council had swept the road three to four times since re-sealing it but he was still having to sweep his own driveway a number of times a week to remove the excess stones.
"I've even resorted to using a vacuum cleaner," he said.
"With the new rubbish system there are more trucks hurtling round the cul-de-sac and taking off the top layer of gravel."
"There are all types of bitumen and I'm not sure about the quality of the stuff they used here but I think it has to be fit for purpose."
Openshaw said if the road was being torn up in the relatively mild temperatures of spring, it would be a "molten mess" come the hotter summer months.
New Plymouth District Council infrastructure manager David Langford said it was normal for there to be some loose chip once a road had been re-sealed. 
"Keat Place has been monitored by our engineers since the new seal was applied and we are satisfied that the seal is bedding in well and performing as expected," he said. 
Langford said bitumen bleeding in hot weather can also occur on asphalt surfaces. However asphalt was reserved for main roads where a stronger surface was needed to withstand higher levels of traffic. 
"The decision on the treatment option [for a road surface] is based on what the most cost effective solution would be whilst still being appropriate from an engineering point of view," he said.
"In many residential areas there is no actual benefit to be gained by using asphalt that would justify the cost," he said. 
Source -Stuff

October 8, 2015

Nigeria Missed the Bus Again - This time Not Crude But Bitumen

Iriele is a small community situated in Ondo State and the indigenes have high demands for development. Over the years, they have dreamt of the day when bitumen would be exploited, creating job opportunities, infrastructure and economic prosperity. The people of this town consider bitumen as a God endowed heritage which should be harnessed immediately to create jobs, deliver infrastructure and reduce the hardship they face daily. 

Those dreams have not become reality up till now, denting their hopes and leaving them frustrated as the indigenes of these towns wait endlessly for the government to attract the needed investment.

In the light of the foregoing, is the wider debate about Nigeria’s rich mineral reserve and the failure of the government to properly utilise the wealth of the nation to the betterment of lives of the citizenry. This belief is voiced by majority of the ordinary people in this bitumen bearing community including border communities like Agbabu and Ilubirin.

Nigeria is the sixth largest bitumen deposit in the world with most of the reserve found in Ondo State. However, there’s a wider debate about Nigeria’s rich mineral reserves and the failure of the government to properly utilize the wealth of the nation to the betterment of lives of the citizenry.

This belief is voiced by majority of the ordinary people in this bitumen bearing community including border communities like Agbabu and lIubirin. They have argued that since 

Nigeria’s crude might no longer generate sufficient revenue to run the nation’s economy, there should be an alternative to fall back on. In the perspective of these pro-bitumen agitators, bitumen is a guaranteed option as Nigeria re-defines its roadmap to economic recovery.

A lawmaker representing the Irele-Agbabu State Constituency in Ondo State House of Assembly, and one of the key proponents of bitumen Honourable Afolabi Iwalewa, thinks that the wobbly situation of Nigeria’s oil is a wakeup call for the exploitation of bitumen:

“ Any moment from now, crude oil will fade off. Look at what is happening now with the talk of oil theft. Every state is crying now, even the Federal Government is crying that it is not getting what it used to get from oil. What is the Federal Government doing, and why can’t we find another alternative? If crude oil is not going to fetch us what we project (in terms of revenue), why can’t we switch over to bitumen?”

Another standpoint of Honourable Iwalewa’s pro-bitumen advocacy is that the non-exploitation of the resource is causing people in these communities a lot of trouble because they have to cope with the reality of spill ravaging precious farmlands where bitumen is found so close to the surface that a simple shovel can excavate the glossy black substance.

Bitumen is found in tar sands, which is also a combination of clay, sand and water. A heavy black viscous substance, oil-rich bitumen is extracted from tar sands, which is then refined into oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state; instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually using strip mining or open pit techniques, or the oil is extracted by underground heating with additional upgrading.

In essence, it involves a complex process that will certainly disrupt their lives and livelihoods beyond what they can imagine. This is what the people of the bitumen bearing communities in Ondo State are calling for when they appeal for the exploitation of the resource in their soil.

Taking a closer look at the experience of Canada, the biggest producer of tar sands globally, shows that exploitation has actually resulted in serious damage to the local communities and the environment. The clearing of vast area which is a component of the mining process is responsible for the Canadian moon-landscape we see in Alberta, Canada, where large forest with pristine trees that sprawled across its landscape now looks more like a waste land ravaged by the exploration of bitumen.

In spite of all of the warnings pointing at the dangers of venturing into tar sands exploitation, especially the apparent impacts of livelihoods of ordinary people due to the far reaching implications for the environment, including the lands and water bodies, the people in the bitumen bearing communities have inclined to brush these opinions aside.

Olofun of lrele, Oba Olarenwajulebi, the octogenarian traditional ruler of the Irele community, for instance, criticizes talk of possible environmental hazards if bitumen were to be extracted in the area. He brags about of what his realm would look like if development were to prevail, using bitumen as the tool.

“If development were to succeed the way the people of this area want it, this town would have looked like Lagos. I say so because bitumen will provide a lot of employment for all the youths in this area, not in Irele alone, but all over the Southern senatorial district and even in the whole of Ondo State. The bitumen deposit here is a very huge one. It is the second largest in the world, according to the survey conducted by some experts,” he enthused.
And on the Canadian experience he explained: 

“In Canada, they do it in Calgary, and I have been there. They don’t drive away communities, and they replenish the soil. Where they mine the bitumen, they mix the soil with some chemicals, and restore it for the farmers to go back there and farm. And when those people were working here, I talked to them and they told me that even if they have to relocate some communities, they will have to build some fine buildings for them, and that the exploitation won’t affect much of their lands. It is something that they will dig from the ground; and it won’t affect us adversely.”

There’s no doubt that the allure of jobs, development and the improvement they envisage that bitumen development would give to their communities has strengthened their resolve to continue campaigning for the exploration of their God-given wealth. Any attempt to make the pro-bitumen agitators to consider the consequences is usually met with cold shoulders.

However, a geologist at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Professor Peter Odeyemi offered a much more balanced picture of the realities on the ground. Odeyemi, who was a member of the defunct Federal Government’s Bitumen Implementation Committee (BIC) made a poignant observation when he noted that the mere presence of a resource does not necessarily translate into commercially viable deposits.


“The first thing is that how much is there? We don’t know! We need to carry out further work in that area in the first instance. Secondly, exploration can be carried out by an oil company because bitumen is a hydro-carbon but also there are difficulties (technical difficulties). If an oil company is going to carry out an exploration there, there is an interest, financial one. This company will calculate how much it’s going to get. It will also look at certain technical issues and the ease of exploitation. This is so because although both of them are hydro-carbon, one is easier to exploit than the other.

Also,how will you exploit without exposing the soil to direct rain fall impact, denudation, erosion and degradation. So they have generation of enlightened professors and everything. The place is highly enlightened and the environmental issues are potent here like in Europe. If you look at the Niger Delta, the people just welcomed oil companies with open hands not knowing that oil companies are devils. They are only interested in profits. They are not in any way interested in environmental sustainability, in flora, in fauna and even in the development of the people,” he said.

He continued: “Our problem is not bitumen; our problem is corruption. What do we do with the money we have been getting from oil? The one we are exploiting, what are we doing with it? The people are getting poorer; there is no electricity, water, healthcare, and education. This is despite the fact that we are making trillions of dollars. So, if we now exploit bitumen and add another trillion, we are just going to multiply the corruption,” Odeyemi concluded.

There is no doubt that the exploration of bitumen will have a heavy toll on the environment of Iriele, and neighboring Agbabu and IIlubirin Communities in Ondo State. Water will be polluted, farmlands destroyed, large expanse of forest will be brought down and communities destroyed. Is this kind if cost these communities are willing to pay or are their alternative development paths that communities can take that will have more sustainable economic impact? As the federal government plans to diversify the economy, and explore mining of solid minerals as an alternative, there’s no gainsaying that the environment must be protected even as the nation seeks improved economic fortune.


Inwerogu wrote from Lagos

September 24, 2015

Bitumen Roads still Better ?

THE second stage of the Hindley St West redevelopment will retain the bitumen road surface after the disastrous results when slippery pavers were installed last year.
The council’s city design and transport manager, Daniel Bennett, said the second stage of the redevelopment, between Register and Morphett streets, would include wider footpaths, more lighting and tree planting but not use pavers on the road.
The pavers used in the first stage did not provide enough grip for motorists, particularly in wet conditions, and the speed limit had to be slashed to 10km/h to ensure safety.
A special “grit coating” was trialled on sections of the pavers in January, before being installed in April, when the speed limit was increased to 30km/h.
The $2 million second stage is still in the concept design phase but the council expects it to start in 2016.
Lord Mayor Martin Haese said the project was vital to the ongoing revitalisation of the West End.
“It supports recent developments, such as the SA Medical and Health Research Institute, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and UniSA, as well as encouraging more people to the area,” he said.
“The hard work put into developing the footpath upgrade with the community will help improve links within the West End Precinct to new developments on North Terrace.
“This process to renew and invigorate Hindley West really has been a team effort with the local community playing an important role.
“I’m sure we’ll all be very proud of the end result, with great new elements like greening, lighting and outdoor dining spaces.
“Collaborating with the community on these exciting improvements to our public spaces leads to further private investment that creates new jobs and exciting opportunities for our city.”
Mr Bennett said the second stage of the project would be jointly funded by the council and the State Government.
“We were very pleased to receive $1 million from the State Government and (the) council will be matching that funding,” he said.
Mr Bennett, said no decision had been made on how to permanently fix the slippery pavers from the first stage of the redevelopment.
“At the moment we are still assessing it (the grit treatment) and we will decide whether to patch it, reapply it or to find another solution,” he said.
The first stage cost $4 million and included contributions from the Adelaide City Council along with state and federal governments.
The development was criticised at the time by local traders because of delays and a loss of foot traffic while construction was ongoing.
Originally published as Slippery pavers dumped from Hindley St second upgrade
Source - theaustralian.com.au