Showing posts with label Myanmar bitumen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Myanmar bitumen. Show all posts

July 20, 2018

Over Priced Road Contracts


THE transport ministry rejected a plan by the Roads Authority to extend three road contracts valued at N$1,6 billion to three companies without publicly advertising the tenders.
Currently, there are three highways under construction – the Swakopmund to Walvis Bay, the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako and the Windhoek to Okahandja.

The Swakopmund to Walvis Bay highway is being constructed by Chinese-owned company Unik Construction Engineering Namibia and its Namibian partner, Thohi Construction for N$958 million.

The N$1 billion contract for the contruction of a section of the Windhoek to Okahandja highway was awarded to the Italian construction company CMC and their Namibian partner Otesa Civil Engineering, while another N$1 billion contract for the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako highway went to the China Railway Seventh Group and Onamagongwa Trading Enterprise.

Two of the highways – Windhoek to Hosea Kutako and Windhoek to Okahandja – are supposed to be completed by January 2019, while the Swakopmund to Walvis Bay highway should be done by June next year.

Works and Transport permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann asked the RA last year to present a strategy on how the parastatal plans to implement the three projects to meet deadlines.

RA chief executive Conrad Lutombi wrote to Goeie­mann on 2 February 2018, recommending that the three companies which are currently constructing the highways should be given extensions to work on the next kilometres, which would rule out advertising the tenders.

According to the Roads Authority (RA), the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport road would be extended by three kilometres at a cost of N$150 million, while the Swakopmund to Walvis Bay road will increase by eight kilometres for N$435 million. The Windhoek to Okahandja road would be extended by 21 kilometres for a whopping N$1 billion.

The RA stated that the three road extensions would cost a combined N$1,6 billion, and that allowing continuity would save the government N$147 million.

The savings, according to the parastatal, include the fact that the companies would not need to set up a new construction camp. The camp consists of workers' accommodation.

THE LOW ROAD

Works deputy minister Sankwasa James Sankwasa, however, rejected this proposal to extend the roads, and blasted the RA for accepting inflated tenders.

Sankwasa rejected the proposal in two letters he wrote to works minister John Mutorwa and Goeiemann on 27 February and 2 May 2018.

“I am not in a position to agree with the recommendations to award the extensions of construction work to the existing tenderers,” he said, suggesting that the RA should instead go for a public tender, supervised by the ministry of works.

“Should any tenderer not quote within the confines or rates of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, the government should reject such tender,” he emphasised.

According to him, Namibian road projects, compared to other southern African countries, are expensive.

The deputy minister said he researched Namibian road construction costs compared to other countries, mainly Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“I discovered that nearly all SADC countries construct roads of bitumen (tar) standards at approximately N$5 million to N$8 million per kilometre, depending on the topography of the area where the road is being constructed,” he said.

The deputy minister further said that about 10 years ago, Namibia was constructing roads at an average cost below N$5 million per kilometre.

“This seems to have changed overnight, to where Namibia is constructing at the cost of N$12 to N$15 million per kilometre,” he added.

The three roads are priority projects under the Harambee Prosperity Plan, President Hage Geingob's signature development plan, which has promised better roads up to 2020.

“Does government have to undertake overpriced projects because they are Harambee projects?” the deputy minister asked.

“The sudden escalation in the costs of road construction and all other construction works in Namibia requires an urgent investigation, and the halting of such overpricing practices”, he stressed.

For instance, Sankwasa said the Swakopmund to Walvis Bay road was overpriced by around N$60 million, compared to the initial cost government budgeted for.

The deputy minister said he objected to the awarding of the Swakopmund to Walvis Bay road tender in April 2016 when he indeed recommended its cancellation and re-advertisement.

“I clearly stated that this tender was riddled with corruption, and should be cancelled and be re-advertised. But such recommendation was brushed aside, and the tender was eventually awarded to the third most expensive tenderer, Unik, instead of the cheapest and the best tenderer, as evaluated by the consulting engineer,” he added.

Sankwasa told The Namibian this week that he planned to intervene in the current tenders as they were overpriced, and he wanted the permanent secretary to correct the matter.

“As permanent secretary, I expect him [Goeiemann] to act in the public interest of the country and a duty to protect state resources,” he reiterated.

Sankwasa suggested that if the material is too expensive, then why not get material from another source that's cheaper.

“It just boils down to corruption,” he charged.

NOTHING WRONG

RA chief executive Lutombi told The Namibian yesterday that they are aware of Sankwasa's concerns, but denied that they committed the government to overpriced roads contracts.

“All the tenders that were awarded, of all current projects, went through a competitive advertised tender process. Hence, all the tenders were awarded regarding the price and technical expertise in line with the Roads Authority's procurement process,” he said.

Lutombi further stated that they responded to Sankwasa's letter with a detailed report on the cost of the dual-carriage freeways versus single carriageways.

The ministry of works then submitted their proposal to the Central Procurement Board (CPB) for scrutiny, and for the board to indicate whether it was done legally.

“We are still waiting for a response from the CPB,” he said.

Lutombi added that the risks of going for underpriced contracts include poor quality, and the project not being completed on time.

The RA advertised in newspapers last week for a consultant to carry out a study on road construction prices.

The three highways have a controversial past.

The Namibian reported in 2016 that the RA and the ministry of works committed the government to contracts of more than N$2 billion without following procedures, and claiming that they were made a priority by “the highest offices”.

The N$2 billion will have to be paid over two years, but the finance ministry, already under pressure from massive cash shortages, was forced to find N$800 million to pay road construction companies.
Source - Namibian

sOURCE

March 19, 2018

Highway Tenders

National Highways Authority of India floats tenders for Madurai-Natham highway

By B Anbuselvan  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 19th March 2018 02:36 AM  |  
Last Updated: 19th March 2018 03:41 AM  |   A+A-   |  
WhatsApp_Image_2018-01-25_at_10
Image used for representational purpose (Nagaraja Gadekal | EPS)
CHENNAI: Bharatmala Pariyojana, an umbrella programme launched by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for developing road infrastructure across country, is all set to take off in Tamil Nadu, with the NHAI having floated tenders to lay 44.3 km four-lane road connecting Madurai and Natham under phase one of the flagship programme recently.
The first four-lane project under Bharatmala includes 7.3 km elevated four-lane bridge connecting the Pandiyan Hotel Junction with Chettikulam and widening the existing 33.4 km two lanes into four lanes from Chettikulam to Natham on the NH 785. The estimate of the road works is pegged at Rs 980.4 crore.
To provide better connectivity for freight and passenger traffic, the Bharatmala Pariyoja programme has been launched by the NHAI to develop about 24,800 road networks across the country. The road development works include widening the existing roads, which record  higher volume of traffic to provide connectivity to ports, development of interstate border roads and linking the industrial corridors with the national highway roads.
Particularly, those national highway roads maintained by the State Highways Department and which carry more than 30,000 vehicles have been chosen for widening into four lanes under the Bharatmala Pariyoja programme.
According to official sources, the Mumbai-Kanniyakumari and Chennai-Madurai sections have been shortlisted for development under economic corridors. In addition, 11 roads that run over 1,106 km across the State have been chosen for development under phase one of the project.
The three feeder roads identified for widening into four lanes under the project were Chennai-Puducherry (137 km), Tirupur-Dindigul (116 km) and Madurai-Natham (38 km).
Some stretches of roads identified already have four lanes and some are maintained by the National Highways Wing of the State government. The Union Ministry of Road Transport recently renumbered these roads and directed the Tamil Nadu government to hand over them to the NHAI for development.
While public consultation for widening the Tirupur-Dindigul road was held recently, the NHAI has floated tenders for building the four-lane road connecting Madurai and Natham on NH-785. “This would be the first project to be taken up under the Bharatmala programme. Land acquisition works have already been initiated,” said an officer.

September 7, 2017

What Keeps u Moving ?

Event-driven projects 'shielding Mena economies'

DUBAI, 21 hours, 28 minutes ago

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has undergone an enormous change over the past two decades, with unprecedented growth in economies and construction markets as countries in the region leveraged booming oil prices to invest in infrastructure and transform their cities into modern metropolises, according to an industry expert.

But over-reliance on oil revenues has caused government spending (and consequently growth) to fall as the oil price dropped, leaving the countries of the region seeking to reprioritise spending towards diversifying their economies and funding social investment, said Mace, an international consultancy and construction company.

Despite a rebound in GCC contract awards in H1 2017 of 14 per cent from a four-year low in 2016, results are still down 20 per cent from the same time last year, showing a challenging market, stated Mace's Mena cost consultancy business in its H2 tender cost report.

This competitive pricing environment has led to relatively stable tender price inflation across the region, ranging from 0.4 per cent in Kuwait to 2.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia, it said.

Event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies have proven a saving grace against this difficult backdrop, as has continued government investment in infrastructure and energy projects across the region, it added.

"Continuing the trend from 2016, the first half of 2017 has been competitive for the Mena construction market due to the low oil prices resulting in restricted government spending across the region," remarked Fergus Rossiter, the director of Mace Cost Consultancy (Mena).
"However, as the work for upcoming major events starts to ramp up, notably Expo 2020 in the UAE and the Fifa Football World Cup in Qatar, we are starting to see an increase in tender prices, which is further fuelled by recent increases in material prices, such as reinforcement steel," he noted
"We are yet to see the full impact of the current blockade has on the construction industry in Qatar, particularly as it relies heavily upon a large quantity of materials being imported from Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

Across the region tender prices have remained relatively stable, however there are considerable variations to be observed within the markets: some regions are reporting a softening in prices, while others experience some capacity constraints which are pushing them up.

Overall, the pricing environment remains very competitive with tender price inflation ranging from only 0.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent for 2017; client organisations are likely to continue to push to get the best possible prices, said Mace in its report.

Lower global commodity prices and increased competition for fewer privately and government financed projects is filtering through to increasingly competitive pricing in many markets, and despite there being plenty of work to fill order books, contractor and consultant prospects are vulnerable to tender periods taking longer to conclude, if at all, especially given recent government spending cutbacks due to the low oil price, it stated.

Contractors on key infrastructure or event-driven projects are less likely to be impacted by this, given the critical nature of these projects to the region’s ongoing economic diversification, however for the mainstream construction market, the competitive environment along with few capacity constraints in labour or materials and low commodity prices are all adding up to clients pressing for lower costs, it added.

According to Mace, factors such as the introduction of VAT across the region from 2018, as well as other taxes which may be levied as governments seek to consolidate their finances, are likely to put upward pressure on tender prices as contractors factor in these additional costs.

This effect will be particularly strongly felt in Saudi Arabia, with the highest tender price inflation at 2.5 per cent reflecting rising costs from newly imposed taxes and removal of subsidies for water and electricity, amongst others, as the Kingdom seeks to consolidate its finances.

Qatar is also expected to see some inflation in tender prices to reflect the greater materials cost risk, as new tenders force contractors to contractually bear the brunt of the costs of the blockade on the country, said the report.

Egypt is not considered in the Meed tender price index, but can be expected to see significant tender price inflation this year of at least 5 per cent, due to both the relatively hot construction market and the massive currency depreciation over the past year.

However some countries are faring better than others, with the UAE and Qatar boosted by their event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies, whilst Saudi Arabia and Oman struggle with reduced oil revenues, said the report by Mace.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain the biggest markets for construction projects, with the emirates looking likely to overtake the kingdom as the biggest next year, as their construction industry outperforms, stated the industry expert.

When considered with the completion dates edging closer for key event-driven projects such as the World Cup in Qatar, or the Expo 2020 in Dubai, strong demand-driven factors will counteract some of the damage from reduced government spending to the industry.

Locations less impacted by low oil prices are expected to outperform, with Dubai and Bahrain looking to beat Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. In addition, significant investment in port, road, railway and airport infrastructure across the region continues, with for example $37 billion worth of road projects being pursued across the GCC, it added.-
TradeArabia News Service

July 11, 2017

ONLY 10 percent of the surfaced (tarred) national road network is in good condition, with 30 percent in poor condition while 57 percent is in fair condition, a senior Government official has said.

About 3 percent of the road network has been unclassified, 1 percent of gravel and earth roads were certified to be in good condition, 22 percent was in fair condition, 72 percent was said to be in poor condition while five percent was unclassified at this stage.

In response to this situation, Government has initiated a number of road rehabilitation projects, including building new ones. Some of the road rehabilitation projects initiated through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development include. . .

Tenders will be awarded on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, Harare-Nyamapanda and Rutenga-Boli-Sango roads before the end of this year.

Currently, feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs are underway for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road and should be completed by August this year, after which tenders will be floated.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo said Government had made significant investment into the road network and more funds would be channelled towards infrastructure. The minister said about $300 million had so far been channelled into infrastructure development, including road rehabilitation.

"Some $13,28 million was spent on rehabilitation and maintenance of road infrastructure in 2015 and $11,44 million in 2016. At the same time, rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Mutare road was done from 2012 to 2016 at a cost of $206 million," said Dr Gumbo.

"In the aviation sector, the major investment has been upgrading of Victoria Falls Airport in the last three years to December 2016, at a cost of about $150 million. There was also some money spent on rehabilitation of the runway at Harare International Airport," he said.


All the road works were funded by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"There has been no private financing of transport infrastructure development since the New Limpopo Bridge in 1994 and Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railway (BBR) in 1998.

"The Plumtree-Mutare project was financed through a loan obtained by ZINARA from DBSA (of South Africa). Victoria Falls Airport was financed by a loan to Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe from China," said Dr Gumbo.

Minister Gumbo said the National Railways of Zimbabwe also carried out some rehabilitation work on the national railway network.

The condition of the country's road network had deteriorated since the last condition survey in 2010. At that time, 20 percent of the national road network was assessed to be in good condition, 30 percent in fair condition and 50 percent in poor condition. Ongoing road projects include the dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, including the Harare Ring Road.

"The construction team has started arriving from China, and construction is expected to start in September this year," he said.

"We are also going to construct Phase 2 of the Harare International Airport Road. The late commencement has been due to delays in carrying out the required feasibility study. Again this will be done and project implementation will commence before the end of the year." the Minister added.

More funds, especially foreign direct investment, could have been channelled towards road projects, among other infrastructure development projects, but lack of appropriate and adequate legislation governing Public Private Partnerships was a hindrance.

"However, we now have the Joint Venture Act, and we trust that from now on we will be able to attract significant levels of FDI in transport infrastructure development," the Minister added.

Source - Bulawayo

September 29, 2016

Global Bitumen Market

The global bitumen market is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of four percent between 2015 to 2020, and the world’s largest energy traders such as the Vitol Group and the Trafigura Group Pte. are in a race to increase their market share.

The bitumen market was valued at around $75 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $94 billion in 2020, according to a report by Zion Research, titled, “Bitumen (Paving Bitumen, Oxidized Bitumen, Cutback Bitumen, Bitumen Emulsion, Polymer Modified Bitumen and Others) Market for Roadways, Waterproofing, Adhesives, Insulation and Other Applications - Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2014 – 2020”.

Bitumen is a semi-solid form of petroleum, which is used to make asphalt for roads, waterproofing for roofs, insulation, and adhesives. It is either obtained by distillation of petroleum or is available naturally, such as in Canada’s oil sands.

Bitumen is used mainly in road manufacturing. A surge in road construction activity in Asia will propel growth for the product going forward. 75 percent of the global consumption of bitumen was used for road construction in 2014.

Waterproofing of roofing and building construction was the second major consumer of bitumen in 2014. Increased construction of homes to cater for the growing population is likely to add to the bitumen demand in the future.

Along with roofing, polymer modified bitumen (PMB), which is used as a chemical additive and adhesive, will witness rapid growth compared to other forms of bitumen.

Trucks, trains, and barges have been used traditionally to transport bitumen from refineries to local consumers; however, a drop in supply from the aging refineries in the U.S. and Europe has necessitated the use of oceangoing tankers, to supply the material from its source of production to the end consumer.

Vitol, the largest independent oil-trading house teamed up with U.S.-based Sargeant Marine Inc., which distributes asphalt to customers worldwide to form Valt, which operates the world’s largest dedicated asphalt fleet, handling parcel sizes from 20 metric tons up to 37,000 metric tons through its fleet of fourteen specialist vessels, according to its website.

“It used to be mostly a small distribution business,” Chris Bake, a senior executive at Rotterdam-based Vitol, said in an interview. “Now it is more of a whole arbitrage business requiring a global reach and shipping capacity,” reports Bloomberg.

Trafigura group is also not far behind. Its Singapore-based unit, Puma Energy has added four new bitumen vessels, taking the total number of vessels to 11, which cater to the Asian markets.

“We see a definite upward trend in the number of nautical miles for bitumen,” said Valt Chief Commercial Officer Nick Fay, who estimates an annual increase of about 7 percent. “All the new refineries that are getting built don’t make bitumen,” reports Bloomberg.

The Guvnor Group is planning to invest in the Perth Amboy asphalt refinery and storage facility in New Jersey, which has been shut since 2008, reports Bloomberg.

There is hardly any public information about the bitumen market, which makes it ideal for the large energy traders, who use their energy expertise and global connection to supply to far-off markets.

“There is a perception that the world is going to be more disconnected -- supply and demand-wise -- and we are there to help connect the dots,” Klintholm said.

Nonetheless, increased use of asphalt for roads and environmental concerns with bitumen manufacturing could pose a risk for the growth of the bitumen industry in the future.

By Rakesh Upadhyay for Oilprice.com

May 18, 2016

NHAI to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways

The Detailed Project Report for laying of a road connecting Anantapur in Rayalaseema with new Capital City of Amaravati will be ready in two months, said Transport and R&B Minister Sidda Raghava Rao.

The straight road, to be funded by the Centre, is expected to cost about Rs.18,000 crore and once ready, the travel time between the two cities will be just six hours.

A team of officials comprising Roads &Buildings Principal Secretary Sam Bob, Engineer in Chief and others left for San Francisco on a study tour on execution of such projects, he said.

Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Raghava Rao detailed the work done by the department ahead of the Andhra Pradesh Government completing two years on June 8.
While the length of roads under R&B is 45,000 km, nearly 4,000 km single-lane roads were widened into two-lane roads.

“While the 10-year rule by the Congress left the roads in a shambles, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu took it upon himself to improve their condition in the State and also lay new roads. Roads are the basic infrastructure required for the industrial development”, he said.

The Government’s objective was to connect rural areas to mandal headquarters, mandals to district headquarters and the district headquarters to the new Capital City Amaravati.

In the current financial year another 2,517 km of single-lane roads would be widened into two-lane roads, 38 km of two-lane roads would be developed into four-lane roads.

Road bridges

The department also proposes to construct nine Road Over Bridges and 25 bridges. Special repairs would be taken up on 2,412 km of roads.

The National Highways Authority of India gave a commitment to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways. The Roads &Buildings Department allocated Rs.3,000 crore during current fiscal for development of State highways and link roads.

In the 2014-15 fiscal, 1,336 km of roads were widened into two-lane roads and another 3,089 km of roads were repaired and three Road over Bridges and another 20 bridges constructed.
In the 2015-16 financial year, 2,636 km single-lane roads were developed into two-lane roads and special repairs were carried out on 2,890 km of roads besides constructing five RoBs and 18 bridges.

World Bank funds

The roads being laid with World Bank funds such as Rajahmundry to Kakinada were monitored and the contractors who do not execute quality work removed. The R&B also took over 5,420 km of Panchayat Raj roads recently and tenders were being called shortly to develop 545 km of roads.

For the Krishna Pushkaram, R&B would spend Rs.389 crore on improvement of roads and the works completed by July-end, he said.

Source- The Hindu

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

February 18, 2016

Global Bitumen Market @ 72 B and is Growing

ALBANY, New YorkFebruary 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The global bitumen market will expand at a CAGR of 3.90% from 2014 to 2020. The market was valued atUS$71.44 billion in 2013. It is expected to reach US$93.38 billion by the end of 2020, according to a research report released by Transparency Market Research. The report titled "Global Bitumen Market - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020".
According to the research report, the global bitumen market is primarily driven by the growing rate of use in construction of roadways around the world. The report states that there is a rapid increase in the rate of creation of roadways and other related activities, creating a high demand for the global bitumen market. Polymer modified bitumen, a type of bitumen, is highly preferred due to the advantages it provides, such as high porosity, high skid resistance, and low noise. All three properties are the most sought-after ones in the global roadways industry, giving PMB an advantage over other materials.
The global bitumen market's growth rate is, however, restrained to a high degree by the environmental hazards created by the use of bitumen. The report segments the global bitumen market in terms of products and applications, and also provides a geographical dissection. By products, the global bitumen market was dominated by PMB in 2013. The segment held more than 65% of the market for that year and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment for the report's forecast period. PMB is also used for waterproofing purposes.
The report states that more than 80% of the global bitumen market, from the perspective of applications, was dominated by road construction in 2013. Other applications of bitumen arise in automotive, adhesives, paints and enamels, and the roofing industries. From a geographical point of view, the global bitumen market was led by North America in 2013. North America took up over 30% of the global bitumen market in 2013, a market share attributed to expansion of state infrastructure. However, the report states that the fastest growth rate in the global bitumen market for its given forecast period will be held by the Asia Pacific region owing to rapid rate of industrialization.
The key players of the global bitumen market are Villas Austria GmbH, Valero Energy Corporation, Shell Bitumen, Petroleos Mexicanos, Nynas AB, NuStar Energy, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, Indian Oil Corporation, ExxonMobil, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation ChevronTexaco Corporation, British Petroleum, and Bouygues S.A., The report states that the global bitumen market is highly competitive and fragmented due to the presence of a large number of regional players.
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Key segments of the Global Bitumen Market 
Bitumen Market - Product Segment Analysis 

Bitumen Market - Application Analysis 
Roadways 

Waterproofing (Roofing) 

Adhesive 
Insulation 
Others (including decorative and industrial applications) 
Bitumen Market - Regional Analysis 
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October 20, 2015

Reverse Split and Merger- Sign of Consolidation in Bitumen Industry

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Epcylon Technologies, Inc. (OTC PINK:PRFC) ("Epcylon" or the "Company") announces that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bitumen Capital Inc. (TSXV: BTM.H) ("Bitumen") whereby Bitumen and Epcylon will enter into an Asset Purchase Agreement (as defined hereunder) (the "Transaction") which will constitute Bitumen's qualifying transaction (the "Qualifying Transaction"), as per Policy 2.4 of the TSX Venture Exchange (the "Exchange" or "TSXV").

Pursuant to the terms of the MOU, subject to execution of a definitive asset purchase agreement ("Asset Purchase Agreement") and receipt of applicable regulatory and Exchange approvals, Bitumen will issue to Epcylon's shareholders 182,202,994 common shares of the CPC in exchange for all the assets of the Company, as further agreed upon by the Parties. The MOU is intended to be binding upon the Parties until execution of the definitive Asset Purchase Agreement.

There are currently 13,150,001 common shares of the CPC issued and outstanding and 1,315,000 allotted stock options entitling the holders, certain officers and directors of Bitumen to acquire common shares of the CPC (the "Stock Option(s)"). Each Stock Option entitles its holder to acquire a common share of the CPC at a price of $0.10 per common share at any time up to October 17, 2017. Upon completion of the Transaction, all of the 1,315,000 issued and outstanding Stock Options to officers and directors of Bitumen shall be cancelled.

Prior to closing of the Transaction, Bitumen will complete a reverse split of its common shares consisting in one (1) old share for 0.538 new shares, resulting in an aggregate number of 7,000,000 issued and outstanding common shares of Bitumen.

Current shareholders of Bitumen will hold approximately 3.7 per cent and current holders of the Company will hold approximately 96.3 per cent of the resulting issuer's common shares issued and outstanding before giving effect to the Private Placement described below.

The Transaction is not a "Non-Arm's Length Transaction" under the Exchange's policies.

Concurrently with the Qualifying Transaction, the parties intend to complete a non brokered private placement for total proceeds of USD$1,000,000 consisting of secured convertible debentures with a three (3) year term and yielding at 8 per cent at a price of US$0.20 per secured convertible debenture and one half share purchase warrant, each whole share purchase warrant entitling its holder to purchase one common share of the Resulting Issuer at a price of USD$0.30 per common share within 24 months from the date of the issuance of the warrant (the "Private Placement").

Closing and final acceptance of the Transaction are subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the completion of a satisfactory due diligence, the execution of the Asset Purchase Agreement, obtaining required approval by shareholders, if applicable, third party and regulatory authorities and completion of the Private Placement. There are no guarantees that the Qualifying Transaction will be completed as proposed or at all.

- See more at: http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/10/19/777358/10152877/en/Epcylon-Technologies-Inc-Enters-Into-MOU-With-Bitumen-Capital.html#sthash.dPRf10Fj.dpuf

August 26, 2015

It is Puma now Bullish about Australian Bitumen Business

BP deal finalised with product to be sourced through international supply chain
Chocks away on Puma bitumen foray
Ray Taylor is bullish about Puma Bitumen.

Puma Energy’s leading position in the Australian bitumen supply chain has been nailed down with completion of its of BP business purchase.

Puma Bitumen will look to combine BP's technical products and experts with Puma's global experience, infrastructure and supply networks, the parent firm says.

The deal that surfaced earlier this year will see Puma own and operate BP's Brisbane, Townsville, Altona and Hobart sites, inheriting BP's proprietary bitumen products and 35 employees.

As part of the agreement, BP will continue to supply Puma Energy with bitumen from its Kwinana refinery until Puma's new WA fuel and bitumen terminal replaces it in 2017.

All operations will continue as normal, with the only immediate change being the rebranding of the business to Puma Bitumen.

Puma Energy Australia general manager Ray Taylor says the acquisition is a significant milestone for the company, as it expands its bitumen operations here.

"Our global capabilities in the bitumen sector gives us a unique position in the Australian market and allows us to offer customers high-quality products sourced through a secure and integrated global supply chain," Taylor says.

"This acquisition gives Puma Energy a competitive edge by taking a world-renowned, quality, technically-focused business and combining it with our already sophisticated global networks, industry-leading infrastructure and supply security promise.

"Our terminal network, soon to increase with the commissioning of our Perth terminal, complements a full-service logistics operation including the world's largest bitumen fleet, access to refined products in multiple countries and oxidisation plants in Sydney, Brisbane and [Tanjung]Langsat [in Malaysia and bought from BP last year]."

With the sale process now complete, company is focused on "welcoming the new staff and ensuring customer service was uninterrupted". 

"We are committed to a smooth transition for existing customers and will ensure they have access to the same team and the same products they have grown to trust and respect, but will also focus on adding value by bringing new capabilities and new opportunities to the table," Taylor says.

"Our immediate plans are to consolidate and then grow.

"Long-term, we will be looking to continue expanding our footprint in the bitumen market by building new fuel and bitumen terminals, investigating future capital investment into polymer products and enhancing the Bulwer facility in Brisbane."      
                                                                         
Puma began its bitumen operations in Australia in December 2013 with the purchase of Caltex's Sydney-based bitumen business.

Two years later the company operates in the Brisbane, Sydney, north Queensland, Western Australian and Tasmanian bitumen markets.

Source- ATN

August 15, 2015

Bitumen Scam in India - As Usual ?

R&B Minister says he is handing over the case of theft of 1000 tons of Bitumen (coal tar) to the Crime Branch. The theft was detected this summer when the government started macadamization of the flood-devastated roads.

“Compared to the last audit in the stores, we found 600 tons missing in Kashmir and nearly 400 tons in Jammu,” Altaf Bukhari said, adding that “this is not an ordinary loss.”
Bukhari said that the department concerned has been asked to initiate in-house investigations which will be followed by the case going to the police Crime Branch.

“We want to involve the police this week so that the accused are identified and punished,” Bukhari said. Stores department in Kashmir has placed services of three of its store-keepers under suspension. Action initiated by the Jammu wing was not immediately known.

Bukhari said this is not the only thing that has happened. “I have discovered that the Bitumen was purchased at a cost upward of Rs 60,000 per ton earlier while we purchased at a cost more than Rs 20,000 less,” Bukhari revealed.

Disappearance of the bitumen from the government stores was one factor for slight delay in the start of macadamization process. It was later procured both by private and public sector.

Under earlier system, the R&B department would issue Bitumen to the contractors for macadamization. Under the new system, they have to manage it on their own but ensure the macadamization is of the specifications that are mentioned in the job order.

“Once we sought a three-year guarantee from the contractors, the real issues started tumbling out,” Bukhari said, adding “now we have an answer to why the macadam was vanishing within a few months.”

He said that the process initiated by his government will ensure the roads repaired and improved do not become a mess again.

Source -http://www.dailykashmirimages.com/news-1000-ton-bitumen-missing-cb-to-investigate-says-bukhari-75907.aspx#sthash.j8WwF2kY.dpuf


August 30, 2013

Bitumen Emulsion Seepage

 
Federal investigation launched at CNRL oilsands site
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 15, 2013

Moving Bitumen By Rail is the Cheaper Option ?

Pitting rail against Keystone XL overlooks messy economic reality
The spring's hottest Keystone XL debate sounds both arcane and elegantly simple: Can the sort of crude-by-rail surge now taking place in the Bakken Shale move north to Canada's oil sands if the White House rejects the most famous pipeline in America?

But such a cut-and-dried question obscures the complex reality of oil pricing markets whipsawed in recent years by peripatetic pricing for North American crudes. Whether trains prove a strong long-term choice to send heavy Canadian crude south ultimately may depend on the very thing that rail's viability is now linked to -- new pipeline capacity to the Gulf Coast, symbolized by Keystone XL.

"Federal approval is not the end of the story on whether Keystone XL is built," Katherine Spector, head of commodities strategy at CIBC World Markets, said this week at an Bipartisan Policy Center forum on oil. "To me, it's a matter of the timeline. Does it take so long that other options become more economical?"
The State Department's March Keystone XL review cast rail in the leading role among those other options, citing its boom in the Bakken Shale and projections of increased western Canadian crude-by-train traffic for 2013 as evidence that oil sands development would suffer little if the iconic pipeline were not built. Yet environmentalists and Wall Street analysts have undercut that Obama administration assessment repeatedly, making any new admission from the oil patch about XL's importance to future growth into a new liability for the industry.

Forecasts of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) riding the rails out of western Canada this year provided the foundation for the State Department's judgment about the trains' ability to carry enough oil sands crude to "prevent shut-in of" new oil sands production without Keystone XL. However, those rail traffic numbers include types of Canadian oil beyond Keystone XL's diluted bitumen, from upgraded oil sands crude to light and heavy conventional fuel.

Unconventional heavy oil such as diluted bitumen accounts for 34 percent of Alberta's crude production, with light and heavy conventional breeds contributing 22 percent and lighter upgraded oil sands crude making up 39 percent, TD Economics reported in March.

"Where that 200,000 bpd is likely to go and whether it's light or heavy is very important," Natural Resources Defense Council International Program attorney Anthony Swift, a leading Keystone XL critic, told House members last month. "The key question is whether it's economically feasible to move heavy tar sands crude to the Gulf Coast refineries by rail. The answer appears to be no."

But oil sands producers are not limited to a pure choice between rail and pipeline to reach their destination. The two modes "are also tying in with barge movements, notably from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast, using rail or pipeline for part of the way and then barges down the Mississippi River for the last leg," the industry-backed Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) wrote in its oil sands progress report last month.
One example of that new-school commute is a Canadian National Railway Co. (CN) terminal expected to open this month in Mobile, Ala. After disembarking from a CN train, oil sands can take a short pipeline or vessel ride to Gulf Coast refineries.

Even so, the 75,000-bpd CN terminal illustrates the challenge of predicting the oil sands' future without Keystone XL. Oil sands and light crude are both poised to travel there, making its fuel mix dependent on the biggest profit that producers can reap by buying in.

The industry calls the benefit for a real-world barrel, after production, transportation and every other cost is incurred, the "netback."

'An almost ever-changing array'

Higher oil prices and lower production costs generally increase netbacks. Given how depressed oil sands crude prices are in the absence of a White House green light for Keystone XL, using costlier rail to get Canadian fuel to the Gulf also can increase netbacks by letting producers charge higher prices.
The oil industry wants Keystone XL to help diluted bitumen fetch those higher, world-market prices for the long haul. But in the short run, as CN spokesman Mark Hallman explained in an interview, "rail helps producers access markets that are not pipeline-connected."

Regardless of whether construction ever starts on XL or its similarly stalled western-running competitor, Northern Gateway, other new oil sands crude pipeline connections are proceeding. Gateway sponsor Enbridge Inc. is in the midst of a U.S. network expansion likely to rival the entire capacity of Keystone XL, a massive project that does not require a presidential permit to cross the northern border.
If more pipeline connections decrease the netback potential for rail, then, oil sands shipped by train could sputter. But if Brent, West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select prices continue to fluctuate as much as they have, the nimbler qualities of rail could prevail.

"It's not just a matter of adding up barrels" that determines how producers free up their crude for sale, Spector of CIBC observed. "How much value do companies devise from the optionality they might get from rail versus pipeline?"

CERI summed up the state of play in its May report, observing that the political problems plaguing XL and Gateway have sparked "an almost ever-changing array of new developments and proposals."

We are witnessing a race between production growth and infrastructure restructuring," the industry group wrote.