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

July 17, 2009

Petro China Keeps Buying Refineries in Singapore, Malaysia


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Chip fat to reduce Crbon Foot Print- On Bitumen


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

Source- http://www.thisnottingham.co.uk/

July 13, 2009

Shortage of Bitumen in Pakistan




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

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


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

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

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

Source-onlinenews.com

July 11, 2009

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


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


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


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


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


Source- New Energy Resources- UK.

July 10, 2009

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


July 9, 2009

Cutting Road Emission using Old Chips



Old chip fat could be used in road-laying to cut emissions



A new use for old chip fat could help cut emissions created from laying roads, engineers have claimed.


According to Helen Bailey, the use of some 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen in the asphalt industry each year comes at a 'significant environmental and economic cost' as it uses imported crude oil Photo: PA
Helen Bailey, an engineer from Aggregate Industries, has developed a process replacing bitumen, which is normally used in road surfaces to "glue" asphalt together, with waste vegetable oil.

According to Miss Bailey, the use of some 1.25 million tonnes of bitumen in the asphalt industry each year comes at a "significant environmental and economic cost" as it uses imported crude oil.

"I wanted to find an alternative with the same key properties as bitumen in the asphalt mix, using a waste product readily available in the UK.

"My new method meets all UK Standards, but is much better for the environment."

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

The new system, which is awaiting a patent, will shortly be tested on road surfacing projects in Lincolnshire.

Ms Bailey has already scooped an industry award – the Fiona and Nicholas Hawley Excellence in Environmental Engineering Award by the Worshipful Company of Engineers – for her work.

Source- The Telegraph










Inventors:Barlow, Peter L. (Sutton, GB2)
Riches, Kenneth M. (Northwich, GB2)
Application Number:06/454939 Publication Date:03/05/1985 Filing Date:01/03/1983
Assignee:Shell Oil Company (Houston, TX)

Primary Class:524/62 Other Classes:524/576, 525/54.500, 524/575, 524/572, 524/474, 524/573, 524/68, 524/574, 524/71

International Classes:C08L95/00; C10C3/02; C10C3/00; C08L7/00; C08L95/00; C08L9/00; C08L53/02 Field of Search:524/62, 524/68, 524/71, 524/572, 524/573, 524/574, 524/575, 524/576, 524/474, 525/54.5

Lieberman, Allan M. Attorney, Agent or Firm:Bielinski, Peter A.
Claims:What is claimed is:

1. A process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and an unsaturated rubber comprising treating a mixture of bitumen and between 1 and 25% by weight of the bitumen/rubber blend of rubber which has been thoroughly mixed at between 120° C. and 240° C. with between 0.5% and 5% by weight of the bitumen/unsaturated rubber blend of a free radical generator at a temperature of between about 100° and 240° C. and then mixing with between about 5% and 30%w, based on the obtained mixture, of a volatile petroleum oil fraction solvent.

2. A process according to claim 1, wherein the rubber has the general formula: A--B (B--A)n
wherein each A is a thermoplastic polymer block of a monovinyl aromatic hydrocarbon or a 1-alkene, B is an elastomeric polymer block of a conjugated diene and n is an integer, suitably from 1 to 5.


3. A process according to claim 1, wherein the free radical generator is a peroxide.

4. A process according to claim 3, wherein the peroxide is dicumyl peroxide or di-tertiary butyl peroxide.

5. A process according to claim 1, wherein the volatile solvent is kerosine.

6. A process according to claim 1, wherein the bitumen and rubber are mixed to obtain a homogeneous or finely dispersed mixture, whereafter the free radical initiator is added and mixing is continued.

7. A cutback manufactured according to the process of claim 1.

Description:BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and rubber and to a cutback thus obtained.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Cutbacks of mixtures of bitumen and rubber can suitably be used, e.g. for surface dressings on roads, in particular on sites exposed to high stresses caused by heavy turning traffic. The cutback is sprayed at the road surface whereafter the surface is covered with chippings, which are preferably precoated with bitumen. The volatile solvent of the cutback, e.g. kerosine, then slowly evaporates and the chippings should show a good retention to the road surface, even under the above-mentioned heavy conditions.

A drawback of such cutbacks is the tendency to form a skin of rubbery material at the upper surface, which skin prevents the further evaporation of the solvent. This causes loss of most of the chippings under said heavy conditions.

The treatment of a mixture of bitumen and rubber with a peroxide in order to prepare cross-linked homogeneous bitumenous compositions which are suitable for e.g. road-building is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,963,659. The use of cutbacks of these mixtures and the above-described problem encountered with such cutbacks are not mentioned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The purpose of the invention is providing a cutback which does not show this disadvantage.

The invention relates to a process for the manufacture of a cutback of a mixture of bitumen and rubber comprising treating a mixture of bitumen and rubber with a free radical generator, usually a peroxide at a temperature which, dependent on the choice of the free radical generator, gives a reasonable half life of the latter, preferably between 100° and 240° C., and then mixing with at least 5%w, based on the obtained mixture, of a volatile solvent.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The bitumen preferably has an aromaticity, expressed as the fraction of aromatic carbon in the n-heptane maltene phase (f a ) higher than 0.004×P+0.280, in which P represents the n-heptane asphaltenes content of the bitumen. Petroleum bitumen is preferred.

The bitumen may be a distillation bitumen, a precipitation bitumen, a blown bitumen and blends of two or more of the bitumens mentioned hereinbefore. Preference is given to the application of a distillation bitumen, a precipitation bitumen or a blend of a distillation and a precipitation bitumen.

Very suitable are blends of one or more of the above-mentioned bitumens with aromatic petroleum extracts, aromatic petroleum distillates or paraffinic-naphthenic petroleum distillates in such a proportion that the above-mentioned aromaticity according to the invention is also reached. When a bituminous component of this type is applied preference is given to a blend of a precipitation bitumen and an aromatic petroleum extract, in particular a blend of a propane bitumen and an aromatic extract of a heavy lubricating oil.

The present compositions are preferably prepared starting from bituminous components having a penetration at 25° C. between 10 and 2000 (ASTM D-5-73).

The rubber can be a natural or a synthetic rubber and preferably is an unsaturated rubber. Examples are homopolymers and copolymers of alkadienes and random, tapered and block copolymers of alkadienes and/or alkenes and/or monovinyl aromatic monomers. Suitable alkadienes are conjugated alkadienes, such as butadiene and isoprene. Suitable monovinyl aromatic monomers are styrene and alkyl styrenes. Blends of more than one rubber may also be used.

Preferred are linear or branched synthetic rubbers having the general formula: A--B (B--A) n

wherein each A is a thermoplastic polymer block of a monovinyl aromatic hydrocarbon or a 1-alkene, B is an elastomeric polymer block of a conjugated diene or more than 1-alkene and n is an integer, suitably from 1 to 5, or a partly or fully hydrogenated derivative of the block copolymer.

The polymer blocks A preferably have a number average molecular weight, in the range of from 2,000 to 100,000, particularly from 7,500 to 50,000. The polymer block B preferably has an average molecular weight in the range of from 25,000 to 1,000,000, particularly from 35,000 to 150,000. Whenever according to the branched configuration two or more blocks B are immediately adjacent to each other they are treated as a single block for purposes of molecular weight. The amount of polymer blocks A in the block copolymers preferably ranges from 10 to 70%w, particularly from 20 to 50%w. As examples of monovinyl aromatics suitable for the preparation of the polymer blocks in the present block copolymers may be mentioned styrene and alpha-methyl styrene. As conjugated dienes suitable for the preparation of the polymer blocks B in the present block copolymers, preferably dienes with from 4 to 8 carbon atoms per molecule are chosen, particularly butadiene and isoprene. Polymer blocks B may also be derived by the copolymerization of one or more conjugated dienes with one or more monovinyl aromatic compounds. The 1-alkenes useful for the preparation of either the thermoplastic blocks A or the elastomeric blocks B include 1-alkenes having from 2 to 12 carbon atoms per molecule, such as ethylene, propylene, butene-1, hexene-1 and octene-1.

Suitable examples of the block copolymers considered herein are as follows: polystyrene-polyisoprene-polystyrene, polystyrene-polybutadiene-polystyrene, polyethylene-(ethylene-propylene copolymer)-polyethylene, and their hydrogenated counterparts, particularly of the block copolymers containing diene homopolymer blocks.

The rubbers may be mixed with extender oils, such as nonvolatile petroleum oils.

Preferred proportions of rubber are between 1 to 25%w, preferably 3-10%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

These blends may contain additional ingredients, such as carbon black, etc.

Suitable peroxides are organic peroxides, preferably dicumyl peroxide, di-tertiary butyl peroxide and tertiary butyl hydroperoxide.

Preferred proportions of peroxide are between 0.5 and 5%w, preferably 1-3%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

Suitable volatile solvents are volatile petroleum oil fractions, such as kerosine. Preferred proportions are 5-30%w, preferably 10-20%w, based on the bitumen/rubber blend.

In the present process the bitumen should thoroughly be mixed with the rubber, e.g. for 1-5 hours, and preferably prior to the addition of the peroxide. This mixing should take place at 120°-240° C., preferably 140°-180° C., so that the viscosity of the mixture is low enough to allow for efficient mixing. If desirable the bitumen can be partly cutback, e.g. with kerosine, to lower the viscosity of the mixture.

The peroxide is preferably added after a homogeneous or finely dispersed bitumen/rubber blend is obtained. Mixing is then continued, preferably at 120°-160° C., for a further 0.5-5 hours. Then the volatile solvent is added to produce a sprayable mixture, preferably sprayable at a temperature of 130°-160° C.

The cutbacks of this invention are particularly suitable for surface dressings on roads, but can also be used for other purposes, such as in the roofing and building industry and for hydraulic works.

EXAMPLES

1. 96%w distillation petroleum bitumen, penetration 200 (25° C., 0.1 mm, ASTM D-5-73) (200 kg) and 4%w polystyrene/polybutadiene/polystyrene block copolymer (mol. wt 16,200/137,600/16,200) were stirred at 160°-170° C. for 1.5 hours. The blend was cooled to 140° C. and 2%w dicumyl peroxide was then added in one lot. The mixture was stirred vigorously at 140° for a further 3 hours. To this mixture 15%w kerosine was added to produce a cutback having a viscosity of 80 cS at 150° C. and being easily sprayable by commercial road maintenance equipment at a pressure of 2.6 bar at 150°-160° C.

Road trials were carried out with this cutback at a site exposed to heavy turning traffic. The surface dressing prepared with this cutback cured with no skin formation and the chippings were retained.

2. Example 1 was repeated except that 1.5%w of the peroxide, a mixing time after adding the peroxide of 1.5 hours at 140° C. and 9%w kerosine were used to produce an easily sprayable cutback.

3. Example 2 was repeated except that 1.5%w di-t-butyl peroxide was used to produce a similar cutback.

4. Example 2 was repeated except that a branched polystyrene/polybutadiene block copolymer (mol. wt 20,000/75,000 per arm, polystyrene end block, 4 arms) was used. 5. A blend of 64%w propane bitumen and 36%w furfural extract of Bright Stock was prepared by mixing at 140° C. for 1 hour. 191.25 kg of the above blend were heated to 160° C. and 5 kg of the branched copolymer of Example 4 in a powder form were added slowly while being stirred with a high speed mixer. When a satisfactory dispersion had been achieved the temperature was lowered to 140° C. and 3.75 kg of dicumyl peroxide were added in increments over 5 minutes with continuous stirring. Samples taken at 1/2 hour intervals over 2 hours showed on microscopic examination to be essentially homogeneous. The resulting product was cooled to 120° C. and kerosine (19.8 kg) was added to achieve a suitable viscosity for spraying.

6. COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE


Example 1 was repeated except that no peroxide was used. The obtained cutback was a very coarse dispersion which caused blockage of spray jets and separation of the rubber phase on storage.

A surface dressing prepared with this cutback showed skin formation and quick loss of its chippings.

July 4, 2009

Bitumen Shortage in Australia


THE road gang working on one of Western Australia's biggest construction projects, the $705 million Perth to Bunbury Highway, often laugh about how they were laying the 70km-long dual carriageway so fast they ran out of bitumen.

They aren't joking. A major upgrade to the Great Northern Highway, extensions to Wanneroo Road, north of Perth, and the creation of Indian Ocean Drive between Lancelin and Cervantes -- collectively worth hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars -- have broken productivity records, sparking a state-wide bitumen shortage.

Wally Lukiac, manager of WA Limestone, one of the contractors on the highway, said: "The guys have probably been through the phase where they pat themselves on the back in terms of achieving these wonderful production levels and then getting ahead of the supplier."

While this delayed work on the highway for three weeks in May, pushing the completion date back to early next month, the project is still about four months ahead of schedule.

But Western Australia's road-building program is far from complete. State and federal budgets allocated $1.37 billion this year to the main roads department for other projects.

More than two-thirds, or $793.4m, will be spent on country roads, including the Bunbury port access road and the Mandurah entrance road.

West Australian Transport Minister Simon O'Brien said: "The roads budget reflects the growth in WA's economy and is designed to meet community demand for improved road transport services."

Western Australia is embarking on its biggest infrastructure spending ever, with a major new Perth hospital, a second $1bn desalination plant and a number of schools, rail, port and other projects planned for construction.

For holidaymakers and southern coastal communities, the Perth to Bunbury highway is the main focus and the day it opens cannot come soon enough.

Residents living in Mandurah, a satellite city south of Perth better known for its bottlenecks than its holiday village atmosphere, can't wait for a reprieve from congested traffic during long weekends and school holidays.

And the thousands of Perth holidaymakers who flock "down south" to enjoy the famed wineries and beaches in Margaret River, Dunsborough and Yallingup will also benefit from a 45-minute reduction in the well-worn journey. Mandurah Mayor Paddi Creevey said the project had been in the planning since the 1970s, when the area was known for its retirees and fishing and had a population of about 3000.

The city's population has now swelled to 65,000 after families in search of a seachange took advantage of house-and-land packages on offer due to sprawling development.

"We've had population growth of around 5 per cent for many, many years and that rate of growth is still continuing," Ms Creevey said. Mr Lukiac said the bitumen shortage came as a surprise and affected the whole state.

"No one anticipated the ramp-up required for this particular project," Mr Lukiac said.

"There was a period of three to four weeks where things were being rationed, so right through the state people were being told they had to have a cap on how much bitumen they could have."

Workers on the project were forced to reduce their productivity, something they found difficult after working flat out since December 2006.

He said the highway was easily WA Limestone's biggest project ever but, with the job almost complete, the company was now concerned about the future.

"It's taken us through a period of incredibly high levels of activity," Mr Lukiac said.

"It's now finishing when that's completely changed. We're finishing this job when we would love to be starting ... we're busy trying to find work."

Source - The Australian

June 1, 2009

Bitumen Scam


Bitumen scam probe
RUDRA BISWAS
Ranchi, May 31: The state vigilance department has begun a probe into anomalies in the purchase of bitumen by various road construction divisions.

Vigilance insiders said that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in course of a test of the road construction divisions, had voiced doubts on authenticity of vouchers related to purchases of bitumen and their subsequent issues for road projects undertaken by the department.

Following the audit remarks, the council of advisers to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi referred the matter to the vigilance department for a probe. Sources told The Telegraph that the department has already started cross-checking bitumen purchase vouchers with the oil companies and their subsequent stock entries in store ledgers maintained by the road construction divisions. Entries of bitumen purchase are also being checked with reference to the length of roads constructed during the same period.

Cross-checks with the oil companies, particularly Indian Oil, have led the sleuths to conclude that several bitumen purchase vouchers submitted by the road divisions are fake. It follows that entries made in stores ledgers regarding receipt of bitumen and their subsequent issues for road construction are false. “The current coal tar scam is not an extension of the 1990 Bihar coal tar scam. In Jharkhand, not all purchases are false. Some vouchers are fake,” IG (vigilance) M.V. Rao said.

Test audits made by the CAG for the period 1990-96 had unearthed fake purchases of bitumen by 78 divisions of road construction department worth over Rs 300 crore though no budgetary provision existed.

Insiders said the probe into coal tar purchases is proceeding at a fast pace though the exact extent of fake purchases and their equivalent value will be known only once all vouchers relating to purchases of bitumen over the past six years are examined and cross-checked with the oil companies.

Soucre - The Telegrpah

May 15, 2009

Bitumen Price in India falls


India's inflation rate for the week ended May 2 was less than one percent for the ninth successive week and dropped after four-week rise in April to 0.48% from 0.70% the week before. This was despite increase in prices of food products like pulses, cereals as also fruits and vegetables. It stood at 8.73% for the corresponding week of the preceding year, say data released Thursday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Going by provisional figures, the wholesale price index or WPI for all- commodities rose by 0.4% to 231.6 from 230.7 for the preceding week.

Inflation, based on the wholesale price index, increased mainly due to the lower prices of raw silk, tobacco, bitumen, aviation fuel, as also some manufactured products covered under all-category groups.

The final estimate of inflation for the week ended March 7 was increased to 0.89% from the earlier provisional figure of 0.44%.

The main index for primary articles rose by 0.4%, due to the higher prices of raw wool, ragi, raw rubber, sunflower, tea, raw cotton, bajra, maize, fruits and vegetables, urad as also copra. However, the prices of raw silk and tobacco declined.

The index representing fuel, power, light and lubricants rose by 0.2% due to higher prices of furnace oil, naphtha and diesel oil, while those of bitumen and aviation turbine fuel dropped.

Source- RTT News

May 4, 2009

Old Refineries to Go in China


China will eliminate outdated refining capacity over the next few years to promote an industry upgrade, the National Development and Reform Commission said over the weekend.

The country will eliminate oil refining facilities with capacities of no more than 1 million tonnes per year (tpy) by 2011 and take measures to encourage the closure, merger or transformation of refining units with capacities of 1-2 million tpy, the commission said in a release on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn).

The government will also prohibit any new refining projects that are built to process bitumen or heavy oil.

Regions that shut down small refining facilities will be allowed to build bigger refining projects with a total capacity equal to those being closed, the commission said.

Source - Alibaba News

February 11, 2009

The challenges facing roads projects


By Jackson Okoth

Delays by Treasury to clear imported equipment by contractors engaged in donor-funded projects, shortage of building materials, frequent breakdown of equipment and inadequate personnel account for the slow completion rates for various road projects in the country.

Officials at the Ministry of Roads and Public Works say that in cases where spares and specialized equipment is needed, especially in donor-funded projects, the Treasury, which is headed by Acting minister John Michuki also needs to issue tax exemptions to enable the equipment come into the country duty-free.

"We have since established that delays to issue these exemptions are part of the reasons for the delays in road projects in the country."

Given the prevailing boom in the country’s overall construction industry, the domestic market has been hit by a tight supply situation, with contractors queuing for cement at various outlets in the country.

Apart from shortage of cement, which forms a significant component of road construction, contractors have also been hit by shortage of bitumen.

breakdowns

Road contractors depend on cement for construction of bridges, culverts, mixes the gravel.

They are also unable to procure enough bitumen the market, says an official at the roads ministry.


Acting Finance Minister John Michuki. With a lot of progress made in repairing vital road links in the country, another critical challenge is lack of adequate funding. [PHOTO: Tom maruko/standard]

Frequent breakdown of equipment and lack of spares is also taking its toll on various road projects in the country. A case in point is the repair work along Thika Road.

Work on this road has been delayed as the contractor on site awaits the importation of vital spares for equipment used in milling and overlaying work on the road. Investing in equipment for road construction is a highly expensive venture, running into hundreds of millions of shillings, which simply means that most of them are not stocked locally.

For instance, a grader costs an estimated Sh25 million, while a standard bulldozer costs Sh100 million.

A contractor doing any roadwork may be required to have as many as six bulldozers, 10 graders and 40 tippers when executing works. This is a very expensive venture.

These machines sometimes break down, causing delays.

The long procurement procedures have also been cited by the roads ministry as one of the reasons for the delays in completing road projects. Combined with guidelines from the Treasury, the Procurement Act is seen as a major barrier.

long procedures

"What we are saying is that these procedures, while they are transparent, can be shortened," official at the ministry say.

The ministry further reckons that the main reason why most roads are collapsing overloading by trucks. In a bid to sort out this problem, it is now putting up computerized weighbridges, with read-only memory, able to capture all the details of the vehicle. One such bridge is being put up in Mariakani.

It has also been established that while supervision and design of roads used to be done in-house by the ministry, private consultants and firms now undertake this work.

Presently, the ministry is experiencing a shortage of adequate personnel, especially consultants and contractors.

This scenario has been attributed to the flurry of road projects ongoing in various parts of the country. Majority of contractors are now engaged in these projects, creating a shortage. In the past, many bidders would respond to a tender floated by the Government. But this is no longer the case, with mostly one or two bidders turning up in any one project.

There is now no sufficient capacity, because almost all the available contractors are fully engaged in other projects.

This has been cited as one of the critical challenges facing the Government in its efforts to bring the road network back to shape, after almost a decade of neglect.

Over the past three years, the Government has floated various road construction and repair tenders in a bid to bring the state of vital links to the required standards, to be able to cope with a rapidly expanding economy, witnessed in recent years.

unlock funding

With a lot of progress made in repairing vital road links in the country, another critical challenge is lack of adequate funding.

While the World Bank and the IMF has already given their seal of approval to progress made, these institutions are yet to unlock the funding required to complement Government efforts.

"We are still hoping to get more disbursements from the WB to deal with critical works on our road networks that are pending," says a Transport ministry official.

The country’s economic ranking has improved to 3.7 points, qualifying the country for more funding from the donor agencies," says an official.

Available figures indicate that the Government’s expenditure on road construction has increased from the allocated Sh10 billion budgeted for the 2006/07 financial years to Sh17 billion.

Funding for the road sector is from the exchequer, donors and fuel levy. Already, the Ministry of Roads has a budget of Sh100 billion, a huge bulk of it coming from the donors.

In a bid to bridge the financing gap, the Government is also opening tenders for the construction of various bypasses, which will be on a concession basis.

The process involves public- private sector participation, on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. The Government is also looking at floating bonds, to raise funds for road construction - one of the many aspects of bringing in private sector participation.

Bitumen Scandal


In June last year The Standard reported a scandal involving senior Ministry of Roads officials over the procurement of bitumen used in road maintenance works.

It was reported that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) had taken up the issue and, as members of the public, we thought the culprits would finally be apprehended and brought to book without delay.

Nonetheless, nothing has been forthcoming ever since.

Were the KACC officers assigned the task unable to get to the bottom of this scandal or were there compromises or some form of secret amnesty?

Clearly the public procurement and disposal act guidelines were disregarded and this was done with absolute impunity.


Formed syndicate

It is alleged that these officers had formed a syndicate of allocating their companies, which are normally registered under other people's names tenders to supply bitumen to the ministry usually at grossly inflated prices.

This being a matter of public interest the taxpayers need to know what became of these investigations.

We need to know whether the officers were found to be innocent or guilty of flouting procurements and if so, what disciplinary actions were preferred?

Besides the maize importation and Triton fuel scandals, we should also deal with all other cases of corruption, if at all we are serious about the fight against the vice.

January 29, 2009

Bitumen companies go wireless to monitor production facilities


Bitumen often poses storage and handling problems. Here, Sean Ottewell reports on two Australian companies who are tackling these by turning to wireless communication solutions.

BP Bitumen operates its Australian bitumen facilities in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. Bulwer Island near Brisbane is the largest production facility with sales of 200 000 t/y. Products include paving grade bitumens, multigrade and a wide range of polymer-modified binders (PMBs).

The products are manufactured using purpose built equipment to rigorous quality and control standards and are designed to have better strength and durability than standard bitumens to deliver longer lasting roads.

Now the company has successfully overcome a fuel supply outage at the site by using Smart Wireless technology from Emerson Process Management.

Wireless instruments normally monitor the pipeline integrity of transfer lines from the nearby BP refinery and report exceptional conditions to control room operators via the easy-to-use self-organising wireless network. The wireless solution showed its flexibility recently when two wireless transmitters were quickly deployed to manage fuel delivery from temporary LPG tanks rushed into service during a refinery shutdown of the regular fuel system.

Officials at BP Bitumen seized upon Smart Wireless as a cost-effective and reliable method of monitoring the temporary fuel gas supply system (Fig. 1).

The plant normally fires natural gas in a heater to maintain a hot oil network at 280°C. All plant bitumen lines have hot oil tracing to keep the viscous product flowing. Even a temporary interruption to the supply of fuel to the heater can adversely effect operations because if the heater shuts down, the plant cools very quickly. If the plant goes completely cold, it can take three to four days to restart.

The cost of sourcing replacement product to meet existing contracts could be as much as AS$150 000 for a fuel outage of one week's duration. For this reason, a close visual watch had to be maintained on the temporary LPG supply to monitor it 24 hours per day. The Smart Wireless solution was implemented to monitor the transfer lines in May 2008, and fuel monitoring was put into service shortly thereafter.

The Smart Wireless field network solution included two Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters that were installed to monitor the fuel delivery from the LPG tanks. With relatively little time to prepare for the natural gas outage, it was not possible to size the temporary LPG system for the maximum firing capacity of the hot oil heater. Without careful monitoring, the heater's burner control system could call for more gas than was available, sucking the fuel line dry and tripping the heater.

However, with the wireless pressure transmitters in place, the burner control system could monitor the LPG supply pressure and avoid the trip scenario. The wireless monitoring of the LPG fuel delivery kept the bitumen plant running, saving the company AS$20 000 per day in lost production. The wireless solution also provided safe remote oversight of the fuel supply instead of continuous operator monitoring at the LPG facility. The plant operated successfully in this way for the duration of the week-long outage.

In addition to the fuel monitoring, three Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters are placed along the plant's bitumen transfer lines to monitor flow of the hot (170°C) bitumen. These instruments transmit status continuously, allowing immediate action if needed to maintain the flow of bitumen to the plant.

"This wireless network monitors pipeline integrity, helping to ensure that no issues go unnoticed for any length of time," according to Matthew James, operations manager at the BP Bitumen facility. "If we had not had the wireless installations, we could not have reacted so quickly to the fuel outage and that could have shut us down for over a week. As a tool to help troubleshoot unusual process conditions anywhere on the plant, they're indispensable."

Each field device in Emerson's self-organising wireless technology acts as a router for other nearby devices, retransmitting messages until they reach the network's Smart Wireless Gateway, which channels the incoming data to a control point. If there is an obstruction, transmissions are simply re-routed along the mesh network until a clear path to the gateway is found. As conditions change or new obstacles are encountered in a plant, such as temporary scaffolding, new equipment, or a parked construction trailer, these wireless networks simply reorganise and find a way to deliver their messages.

All of this happens automatically, without any involvement by the user, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct, line-of-sight communications between individual devices and a receiver. This self-organising technology optimises data reliability while minimising power consumption. It also reduces the effort and infrastructure necessary to set up a successful wireless network, because up to 99 wireless devices can be served by one gateway. New instruments can normally be added to a network in just minutes.

"This wireless concept is not a fad or gimmick," James said. "It really works, and the operating range is amazing. It is a long distance from the temporary LPG bullets to the control room. The fact that we could transmit that far and do so reliably without a single loss of signal is quite magical."

Another Australian business that has also adopted a wireless solution to help handle bitumen is Terminals Pty, the country's largest independent bulk liquid terminals company.

The unloading, storage, and shipping facilities near the industrial port city of Geelong include a 900-metre pier and 16 or more tanks. At this location, the company imports and stores bulk vinyl chloride monomer and other hazardous and non-hazardous combustible and corrosive liquids, fats, and oils. Hot bitumen storage facility is part of a recently completed expansion project

Terminals Pty selected Smart Wireless to monitor temperatures in the 900 metre long, eight-inch wide, heat-traced pipeline used for unloading bitumen from ships at Geelong. It is necessary to make certain the electric heaters are operating all along the pipeline to keep the bitumen hot (160°C) and fluid. If a heater fails, a cold spot could form causing the bitumen to solidify and plugging the line with expensive consequences.

"We needed to monitor the bitumen line," according to Bitumen Terminal project manager Joe Siklic, "to make the operators aware of cooling anywhere in the line from the ship to the storage facility, which could result in an emergency shutdown. Any delay in unloading could keep a ship at the pier longer than planned with demurrage costing up to US$30 000/day."

The wireless technology was selected, Siklic said, for its lower initial cost and minimal maintenance as compared with hard wiring. Eight Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters are evenly spaced along the pipeline, sending temperature readings on one-minute intervals to a Smart Wireless Gateway on shore that channels data to the AMS Suite predictive maintenance software used for instrument configuration and performance monitoring.

The collected data are also forwarded to a SCADA system in the terminal control centre via fibre-optic cable.

Due to the self-organising nature of this technology, each wireless device acts as a router for other nearby devices, passing the signals along until they reach their destination. As with BP Bitumen's solution, if there is an obstruction, transmissions are simply re-routed along the mesh network until a clear path to the Smart Wireless Gateway is found. All of this happens automatically, without any involvement by the user, providing redundant communication paths and better reliability than direct, line-of-sight communications between individual devices and their gateway. "This is an ideal application for wireless," Siklic said. "Since numerous paths exist to carry the transmissions, the network would easily compensate for a transmitter failure, and the operators would be warned. This wireless network has proved to be reliable, compatible with existing control equipment, and cost effective. The amount of structure on the wharf is minimal, and that is another benefit."

July 23, 2008

Hot Asphalt Storage

BG Europa of Wickhambrook has recently installed an FMA Ullrich Hot Asphalt storage extension to existing Sherwin silos at the Lafarge Ashbury Depot in Manchester.

A two compartment SE120/2 with a total storage capacity of 120 tons split equally between the two bins has been installed to the end of the three existing silos. A 37Kw frequency controlled winch along with a complete track replacement completed the installation.

The speed of the skip is controlled through an invertor to ensure rapid transit along the track and gentle arrival at the charging and discharge points with rope stretch accounted for by the continual reset of the skip reference point on each journey. A tacho -generator ensures that skip positioning during operation is accurate to 10mm; as this system does not require limit switches at the skip charging and discharging points, maintenance issues are therefore reduced.

The new bottom discharge skip has a capacity of 2000kg and is lined with stainless steel to promote clean operation. The skip system can operate at 140 tph with a 52 second cycle time to the furthest bin which represents a significant improvement in skip performance.

The FMA Ullrich UCC5 skip controls feature an energy saving mode which matches skip performance to batch plant output. The speed of the skip is automatically controlled to ensure that it returns to the mixer at the time required for batch discharge, eliminating excessive power usage by unnecessarily accelerating the skip.

As the low level Parker Batch Tower at Ashbury does not allow vehicles to be loaded directly it was imperative that the project was completed during the programmed shutdown period. BG Europa successfully ensured full plant production was achieved on the programmed date with minimal disruption to the established Lafarge customer base.

Joan Hughes, Manager of the Ashbury depot, commented, "We were very pleased at how safe the work was completed onsite. During and after commissioning we had very few teething problems. The new skip system has improved our production rate, and reduced down time. The Hot Storage has given us more flexibility so that we meet our customer needs better."

The Ashbury project represents the first BG Europa - Ullrich hot storage installation for Lafarge in 2008. A second installation is planned for the Lafarge Ackworth depot where an S200/4 II will provide 200 tons of storage in a total of four bins; two at 53 tons and two at 47 tons. The S200/4 II parallel storage silo offers a versatile compact storage solution where space and site layout can prelude alternative arrangements. The Ackworth S200/4 will be the third such system operated by Lafarge with the others at Mountsorrel and Hafod Quarries. BG Europa of Wickhambrook has recently installed an extension to existing Sherwin silos at the Lafarge Ashbury Depot in Manchester.

A two compartment SE120/2 with a total storage capacity of 120 tons split equally between the two bins has been installed to the end of the three existing silos. A 37Kw frequency controlled winch along with a complete track replacement completed the installation.

The speed of the skip is controlled through an invertor to ensure rapid transit along the track and gentle arrival at the charging and discharge points with rope stretch accounted for by the continual reset of the skip reference point on each journey. A tacho -generator ensures that skip positioning during operation is accurate to 10mm; as this system does not require limit switches at the skip charging and discharging points, maintenance issues are therefore reduced.

The new bottom discharge skip has a capacity of 2000kg and is lined with stainless steel to promote clean operation. The skip system can operate at 140 tph with a 52 second cycle time to the furthest bin which represents a significant improvement in skip performance.

The FMA Ullrich UCC5 skip controls feature an energy saving mode which matches skip performance to batch plant output. The speed of the skip is automatically controlled to ensure that it returns to the mixer at the time required for batch discharge, eliminating excessive power usage by unnecessarily accelerating the skip.

As the low level Parker Batch Tower at Ashbury does not allow vehicles to be loaded directly it was imperative that the project was completed during the programmed shutdown period. BG Europa successfully ensured full plant production was achieved on the programmed date with minimal disruption to the established Lafarge customer base.

Joan Hughes, Manager of the Ashbury depot, commented, "We were very pleased at how safe the work was completed onsite. During and after commissioning we had very few teething problems. The new skip system has improved our production rate, and reduced down time. The Hot Storage has given us more flexibility so that we meet our customer needs better."

The Ashbury project represents the first BG Europa - Ullrich hot storage installation for Lafarge in 2008. A second installation is planned for the Lafarge Ackworth depot where an S200/4 II will provide 200 tons of storage in a total of four bins; two at 53 tons and two at 47 tons. The S200/4 II parallel storage silo offers a versatile compact storage solution where space and site layout can prelude alternative arrangements. The Ackworth S200/4 will be the third such system operated by Lafarge with the others at Mountsorrel and Hafod Quarries.

July 11, 2008

Total to Tap Indian Bitumen Market

International oil and gas giant Total of France on Wednesday announced the setting up of a joint venture with Vinergy International for manufacturing and marketing world-class value added bitumen products for India. The joint venture will witness an investment of Rs. 100 crore during the next three years.

Making this announcement here, Total’s India Country Chairman, Christian Chammas, told newsmen that the 50:50 joint venture, Total Vinergy Bitumen India, had already commissioned a plant at Jodhpur in Rajasthan with an investment of about Rs. 25 crore and was in the process of selecting sites for setting up units in East, South and West of the country.

Vinergy Managing Director, Mukul Agarwal, said the four plants would have a bitumen manufacturing capacity of three lakh tonnes a year. Bitumen is used in the construction of roads and highways.

“The quality of bitumen being produced at these plants would be much higher than what was available. We are going to introduce the latest technology that would ensure that the life of roads would increase by 3-4 years,” Mr. Chammas said.

The joint venture will provide high quality bitumen and modified bituminous products to the road construction industry, something that is now not available. Mr. Aggarwal said they planned to commission one plant a year adding that the country had a demand of 4.1 million tonnes of bitumen as against a supply of 3.7 million tonnes. The joint venture is targeting $50 million in sales in the first year of operation.

June 30, 2008

Bitumen Supply & Demand

The Soaring Oil prices although justifies the fluctuation in the pricing of bitumen, there is not an established mechanism to derive the bitumen price till date. The bitumen market is getting mature and liquid. The majority of the exporting nations include Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand in this region has different inputs and the range varies significantly.

Recently the Cartel led by Shell was exposed by the European regulators and the was fined to the tune of price fixing on various petroleum products.

For Bitumen, there are no posted prices except for some compiled prices from some paid subscription services ; marketers rely on a number of pricing formulas that reference various posted crude qualities.

Market pricing is seasonal with higher prices during peak season like summer being the norm due to higher demand for bitumen and other bitumen derived products.

Saudi arabia has almost banned the export of Bitumen 60/70 , which considered as the raw material, obtained from the fractional distillation process, from Saudi Aramco . The penetration grade bitumen 80/100, prepared from the aforesaid raw material by adding additives, is the value added , before being exported. The price sensitive Saudi bitumen industry, an unorganized industry, commands the most market value among the third world countries including India, Pakistan and Bagladesh.

On the Other hand, Iran is trying to sell the bitumen through Iran Mercantile Exchange, as a commodity and the pricing currency is being slowly shifting in favrour of Euro.

Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, although except for Singapore, the rest of the regional economies , being net importer, the pricing is closely followed with each other, and which is not affordable for re-export for the developing nations.

June 24, 2008

Tax Structure for import of Bitumen


The hike in oil prices, indirectly brings in revenue to various government entities and below is the table of various slab of tax levied at Tamil Nadu, India.







TAMIL NADU SALES / TAX ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS


Recoverable Tax Irrecoverable Tax Effective Purchase Tax
State/Tax












Sales Tax Surcharge on Sales Tax Addl Tax on GST/Turnover Tax. Purchase Tax Surcharge on Purchase Tax Addi. Tax on Pur. Turnover.
CST # Addl Tax on CST to Unregd. dealers Purchase Tax (Chennai)
Crude Oil









4.00
MS
30.00





4.00 0.00
HSD
25.00





4.00 0.00
SKO Domestic 4.00
3.00 4.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LPG Domestic 4.00





4.00 2.50
FO
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LDO
25.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
LSHS
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
NAPHTHA
16.00 5.00 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
ATF Domestic 29.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
ATF Int.Airlines 0.00
0.00 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.00 4.00 0.00
SKO Non-Domestic 25.00 5.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
LPG 8.00
3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50
ASPHALT
12.00
3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 0.00 4.00 2.50












# CST to Unregistered dealers is levied at 10% or regular GST rate whichever is higher. Additional tax on CST sale to unregd. dealers is irrecoverable.

The commodities covered includes

Bitumen, bitumen 80/100, bitumen 60/70, bitumen 40/50, Saudi Bitumen, Singapore Bitumen, Iran Bitumen, Cutback Bitumen, MC30 , MC70, MC250 MC800, RC30, RC70,RC250, RC800, RC3000 Blown Bitumen R90/15, R85/25, R115/15, Bitumen Emulsion, CSS-1, CSS-2 , Asphalt, Oxidiszed bitumen, Bitumen Price, Asian Bitumen, Aramco Bitumen, Shell bitumen, Russia Bitumen Caltex bitumen, Exxon-mobil bitumen, BP bitumen, Korea Bitumen,

Bitumen Drum, Drummed Bitumen, Bitumen Bulk, Bitumen Vessel, , Bitumenexporter, Bitumen Exporter, Bitumen Supplier

Sulphur, Paraffin, Wax , Slack, LDPE, HDPE Granules, Petroleoum, Derivatives, Minerals, Lubrication Oil, Base Oil, Base oil 100 SN, 150SN, 450SN, 500SN, 150BS

June 12, 2008

Bitumen or Concrete.. Closing the Gap


The steady price uptrend in global petroleum and petroleum products has put immense pressure on the road building sector, with the price differential between concrete and bitumen roads narrowing from 60% to 20% now.

Bitumen prices, entirely determined by the oil companies, have gone up by 20% per tonne over the last one-year. Bitumen, a byproduct of petroleum, accounts for 15-20% of the cost of a highway project.

According to Samiran Sen, vice-president of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), the cost for a two-lane bitumen road is more than Rs 5 crore per kilometre. "The impact of today's price hike on bitumen prices would be around 2-3%. But the cascading effect is larger," he said.

Typically the investment of a two-lane, 10 metre wide road with --- sub-base, sub-grade, water bound macadam (WBM), bitumen macadam (BM), premixed carpet and seal coating ---- ranges from Rs 5 crore to Rs 7 crore per km, depending on the terrain character.

"Even a few years before the cost of building a concrete road was almost 60% higher than that of a bitumen road. States preferred building bitumen road even if the life span of a concrete road is much higher," he said.

According to him, a concrete road now 20-25% more expensive than a bitumen road.

Kshiti Goswami, West Bengal's PWD minister said, it is becoming difficult for the states to construct bitumen road. It seems that we would have to shift towards constructing concrete roads even when the price of cement is also appreciating."

Present at a press conference to announce the 69th Indian Roads Congress, a think-tank organisation under ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in Kolkata, he said the cost bitumen has increased by almost Rs 3,000 per tonne recently.

PK Deb, vice-president of the IRC, said that, with the increase in input costs, governments are being forced to look for alternative measures to fund the roads projects.

According to S.K. Hamirwasia, vice-president (infrastructure) of Subhash Projects & Marketing Ltd, the cost of projects will increase by 1% taking into account only the petrol & diesel price hike.


Source -Financial Express