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

February 17, 2017

Bitumen in Road Construction

Bitumen is used in road construction due to various properties and advantages it has over other pavement construction materials. Advantages of bitumen for road construction is discussed.

Why is Bitumen Used in Road Construction?

Bitumen gain certain unique properties that are inbuilt in it during its manufacture. The bitumen as a raw material in flexible road construction and bitumen as a mix (composing other materials i.e. aggregates/ pozzolans) serves certain advantages, that prompt to use bitumen widely in road construction.


Use of Bitumen in Flexible Road Construction

The reason behind the significant application of bitumen in flexible pavements are explained below:

1. Production of Bitumen is economical

Bitumen is a by-product of crude oil distillation process. Crude oil itself is a composition of hydrocarbons. The primary products that are available are the petrol, diesel, high octane fuels and gasoline.
When these fuels are refined from the crude oil, the bitumen is left behind. Further treatment of by-product, to make it free from impurities give pure bitumen.
As the primary product demand is of utmost importance to the society, the bitumen as a by product has survival for long. This by product is utilized as a new construction material, without going for any other new resource.

2. Physical and Rheological Properties of Bitumen bring Versatility

The physical and the chemical properties of Bitumen are found to be a function of load level, temperature and the duration of loading. It is a thermoplastic and viscoelastic material.
These dependencies make us to truly access the traffic on the road so that a bitumen mix properties can be varied based on the stress levels calculated. This versatility of bitumen results in a large variety of bitumen mix, based on the road application.

3. The Melting Point of Bitumen is low

It is highly appreciable about the fact that bitumen has a favorable melting point, that helps in both surface dressing and wearing resistance with ease.
The melting point of the bitumen should not be too high, that it can be melted easily during laying the pavement. At the same time, bitumen has a melting point, which would not let the already casted road pave to melt and deform under high temperatures.
In areas of high temperatures, along with this quality of bitumen, the aggregate composition helps to cover up the effect of large temperature.

4. Bitumen can undergo Recycling

As the melting point of bitumen is favorable, it can be melted back to its original state. This is called as asphalt recycling process.
The torn-up asphalt pieces are taken up to the recycling plant, instead of sending them to landfills. This recycled mix can be reused. If necessary, the old bitumen is mixed with new bitumen and new aggregates to make the mix live again.

5. Bitumen gain Adhesive Nature

As explained in the production of bitumen, it is free from hydrocarbon and hence not toxic. The by product is refined to maximum to get rid of organic materials and impurities.
The bitumen has a highly adhesive nature, which keeps the materials in the road mix bind together under strong bonds. These become stronger when the mix is set i.e. ready for vehicle movement.

6. Bitumen has Color Variety

The traditional bitumen is black in color. This is because the dense organic material within bitumen is black in color. Now, when certain pigments are added to bitumen, the color of our choice can be obtained. These are colored bitumen.
It is costly than the normal colored bitumen. The disadvantage of colored bitumen is that it requires more chemical additives and materials.

Requirements of Bitumen Mixes for Road Construction

An overall bitumen mix is used in the construction of flexible pavement to serve the following needs.
  • Structural Strength
  • Surface Drainage
  • Surface Friction

Structural Strength of Bituminous Pavements

The figure below shows a typical cross section of flexible pavement, that was developed in the USA. The structural bitumen layer composes of:
  • Bituminous surface or wearing course
  • Bituminous binder course
  • Bituminous base course
The primary purpose of these bitumen mixes is structural strength provision. This involves even load dispersion throughout the layers of the pavement. The loads involved are dynamic or static loads, which is transferred to the base subgrade through the aggregate course.
A granular base with a bituminous surface course is only provided for roads of low traffic. It is just sufficient and economical.
The rebounding effect of bitumen upper layers helps in having resistance against high dynamic effect due to the heavy traffic. Rebounding property is reflected by the stiffness and the flexibility characteristics of the bitumen top layers. When looking from bottom to top, the flexibility characteristics should increase.
Studies have shown that the above mentioned characteristics of aggregates are attained using densely graded bitumen mixes. This mix should make use of nominal maximum size aggregate (NMAS), that must decrease from the base course- binder course – surface course.
The nominal maximum size aggregate (NMAS) = One sieve larger than first sieve-to retain more than 10% of combined aggregate.
There is a higher amount of bitumen content in the wearing course, that make the layer more flexible. This would help in increasing the durability.

Surface Drainage of Bituminous Pavements

Subsurface drainage can be facilitated using granular sub base in the construction of flexible pavement. Permeable asphalt treated base (PATB) can be used to provided positive surface drainage in major highways. This would behave as a separate course for facilitating subsurface drainage.

Surface Friction of Bituminous Roads

It is essential for the pavement layer to provide enough skid resistance and friction, during vehicle passage, especially in wet condition. This would ensure the safety of the passengers. The macro and the micro surface texture of the asphalt mix contributes towards the surface friction.

The mix gradation i.e. open graded or dense graded will contribute to macro surface texture. The open graded mix have higher macro surface than dense graded. The water is squeezed out from the bottom of vehicle tire when the high macro surface texture is implemented.
The micro surface texture is contributed by the aggregate surface, that is exposed when the above bitumen layer is torn.

Advantages of Bituminous Road Construction Over Concrete Pavements

1. A smooth Ride Surface

It does not make use of any joints; Hence provide a smooth surface to ride. It also gives less sound emission when compared with concrete pavements. The wear and tear are less in the bituminous pavement, thus maintaining the smoothness.

2. Gradual Failure

The deformation and the failure in the bituminous pavement is a gradual process. The concrete pavement shows brittle failures.

3. Quick Repair

They have an option to be repaired to be quick. They don’t consume time in reverting the path for traffic; as they set fast.

4. Staged Construction

This helps in carrying out staged construction in a situation when problems of fund constraint or traffic estimation problems are faced.

5. Life Cost is Less

The initial cost and overall maintenance cost of bituminous pavement are less compared to concrete pavement.

6. Temperature Resistant

They act resistant against high temperature from melting and are not affected by de-icing materials.

Disadvantages of Bituminous Pavement

  1. Bituminous pavements are less durable
  2. Low tensile strength compared to concrete pavement
  3. Extreme weather and improper weather conditions tend to make bituminous pavement slick and soft.
  4. Bitumen with impurities can cause pollution to soil, hence ground water by their melting. These may have hydrocarbons in small amounts.
  5. Clogging of pores and drainage path during construction and service life
  6. More salting- to prevent snow during winter season
  7. Cost of construction high during extreme conditions of temperature

Source - enggfeed

January 16, 2016

Green Bitumen from Canada

PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY, which is planning to build the world’s “greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery” in Canada has announced plans to transport bitumen to the refinery by rail in a near-solid “neatbit” state.
The company initially announced that it would build the C$15bn (US$10bn) refinery on the British Columbian coast back in 2014, and would export refined products, rather than raw bitumen, to Asia. It has now submitted a full formal project description, produced by SNC Lavalin, to Canadian regulators. The refinery will refine bitumen from oilsands in western Canada.
Bitumen is usually transported by pipeline as “dilbit”, a diluted, more fluid version containing about 70% bitumen and 30% diluent, or by rail as “railbit”, which contains around 88% bitumen. Pacific Future Energy, however, believes that transporting neatbit, which is as the name suggests, 100% bitumen, is more environmentally sound. 
The company describes neatbit as having “a consistency similar to peanut butter”, which does not flow unless heated. It has very low flammability, is stable, and is classified as non-dangerous for transport. In the rare chance of a train derailment or a crash, the bitumen could not flow anywhere and would be much easier to clean up, minimising environmental damage. 
First Nations groups and environmentalists alike have criticised plans for pipelines through pristine landscapes. In addition, Pacific Future Energy has pledged to use TC-117 railcars, a new model specifically designed for oil transport.
Pacific Future Energy has selected an area known as the Dubose Flats in which to build the 200,000 bbl/d refinery. The refinery will be powered by wood waste biomass, from the local forestry industry, and the company claims its net carbon emissions will be near zero. 
Exporting refined products will pose less of a risk than raw bitumen to the marine environment in the case of a spill. The refinery is expected to create 3,500 jobs during construction and 1,000 during operation.
“Not only would our proposal provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would also protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said CEO Robert Delamar.
Pacific Future Energy will consult with Canada’s First Nations, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office and the public as it finalises plans for the refinery. The company hopes to begin construction in 2018, with startup scheduled for 2021.
Several other bitumen refining plants are planned on the British Columbia coast, including by Eagle Spirit Energy and newspaper tycoon David Black.

November 25, 2015

Indian Bitumen Market



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

November 20, 2015

Bitumen Storage Tanks

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

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

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

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

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

BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ©

Cheaper Crude Kills Bitumen Blend with high carbon


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO NEW BITUMEN BLEND CARGOES THIS WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ONE RUSSIAN M100 FUEL OIL CARGO ARRIVED FOR TEAPOT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 30, 2015

Bitumen Blend Loosing out to Cheaper Crude Oil But Gaining over straight run Fuel Oil


Demand for imported crude, petroleum bitumen blend and straight-run fuel oil by independent teapot refineries in China's eastern Shandong province was more or less steady this week, despite narrowing refining margins on lower local oil product prices.

But teapot refineries that have recently been granted both import quotas and import licenses for crude oil continued to take in crude cargoes, particularly largest Shandong teapot refiner Dongming Petrochemical.

The 7.5 million mt/year (150,000 b/d) Dongming has received a 240,000-mt cargo shipped from the Gulf of Mexico at Rizhao port early this week, adding to imports of 350,000 mt earlier this month. The latest shipment brings the total volume of crude imported under its import quota of 6 million mt/year to 2.84 million mt.

Adding on to the volume received by four other Shandong teapot refineries with import quotas, teapot refineries have imported a total of around 3.74 million mt of crude since end-July, when Dongming took its first cargo.

The four refineries are: Sinochem Hongrun Petrochemical, Kenli Petrochemical, Yatong Petrochemical and Lihuayi Petrochemical -- better known as Lijin.

For November, the 3.5 million mt/year Yatong Petrochemical is taking in a crude cargo much larger -- possibly a VLCC -- than its first import cargo comprising 60,000 mt of Indonesian Duri crude in mid-October, said a source from the refinery. But details, including the crude grade, of its planned November import could not be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the 3.5 million mt/year Lijin Petrochemical, which is scheduled to restart from an ongoing full turnaround in early November, has not fixed any imported crude cargoes for the coming month so far.

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

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

THREE BITUMEN BLEND CARGOES HEARD FIXED FOR NOV SO FAR

Demand for petroleum bitumen blend among Shandong teapot refiners remained thin over the week, with around three cargoes heard so far fixed for November delivery.

This compares with an estimate 530,000 mt of bitumen blend imports, in five cargoes, into Shandong ports in October.

The latest arrival is a 97,000-mt cargo from Malaysia into Rizhao port this week, taken by the 3 million mt/year Yuhuang Petrochemical. The supplier was heard to have resold the cargo to Yuhuang -- which earlier had no plans to buy bitumen blend for October -- after the original buyer decided not to take the cargo.

Still, overall estimated bitumen blend imports in October were lower than September's imports of 1.1 million mt in 12 cargoes.

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

Adding to this, Shandong customs officials have been scrutinizing imports of bitumen blend more closely since end-September in a bid to identify misrepresented fuel oil cargoes. This has led some teapot refineries to suspend their import activities for the time being.

Premiums of November-delivery common grade bitumen blend cargoes are now heard lower, at around $20-$25/mt to the Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis, from MOPS 380 CST HSFO assessments plus $27-$30/mt, CFR, last heard for October cargoes.

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

And in the domestic spot market, bitumen blend prices were heard to have fallen to around Yuan 2,200/mt this week, from Yuan 2,300/mt last week, due to weak buying interest from teapot refiners.

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

ONE M100 FUEL OIL CARGO FIXED FOR NOVEMBER, POSSIBLY TO SHANDONG

On Russian M100 fuel oil, western trader Mercuria was understood to have chartered the Cap Laurent to load 100,000 mt of M100 fuel oil from Russia's Kozmino this week to northern China, possible to Shandong.

And on Thursday, a 90,000-mt combination cargo of M100 and straight-run fuel oil had arrived at Longkou port. Regular M100 importer Hengyuan Petrochemical was heard as the buyer.

M100 fuel oil cargoes for early November delivery were heard talked at premiums of around $50/mt to MOPS 180 CST fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis, steady from last levels heard for October, but down from premiums of $55/mt for September.

Still, teapot refiners see the latest premium levels as too high, sources said.

Meanwhile, eyes are on Russian state-owned Rosneft's upcoming M100 term supply for loading over January-December 2016.

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

--Staff, newsdesk@platts.com
--Edited by Irene Tang, irene.tang@platts.com
 
 Singapore (Platts)--29 Oct 2015 723 am EDT/1123 GMT
-- Source Link

October 30, 2014

Readymade Bitumen

Coimbatore Mayor P. Rajkumar (second right) with Commissioner S. Ganesh (right) and Deputy Commissioner P. Gandhimathi (third right) inspecting the wet tar mix that was applied on a pothole on experimental basis on Thadagam Road on Tuesday. – PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN
Coimbatore Mayor P. Rajkumar (second right) with Commissioner S. Ganesh (right) and Deputy Commissioner P. Gandhimathi (third right) inspecting the wet tar mix that was applied on a pothole on experimental basis on Thadagam Road on Tuesday. – PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

It can be used as easily as dumping gravel in potholes

Coimbatore Corporation has begun exploring the possibility of using readymade bitumen mix to fill potholes, whose various incarnations are across the city. 

The suggestion for using the readymade bitumen, which could be used with as much ease as dumping gravel in potholes, came after Mayor P. Rajkumar, Commissioner S. Ganesh and Deputy Commissioner P. Gandhimathi inspected the use of the bitumen mix, called ‘Road Bond’, on Thadagam Road on Tuesday.
Hindustan Colas Limited, a unit of Hindustan Petroleum, has been marketing to various government agencies, the use of the bitumen mix, which has unheated mineral aggregate and emulsified bitumen.

V. Vijayaraghavan, Regional Business Head – South Zone, says that the Chennai Corporation has taken up the suggestion to use Road Bond to not only fill potholes but also lay roads.

The advantages of using the product are that no heating is required, it has consistent mix quality, has resistance to peel off under traffic, is environment friendly and needs minimum human resource to be spread on the road. 

He says that after the company mooted the proposal to the Central Government the product is being used in laying rural roads. Another plus is that Road Bond can be used even when the surface is wet and it is drizzling. Commissioner Mr. Ganesh says that the civic body has to study the impact of using the product, its quality, longevity and above all the economics of the process.

Source- The Hindu

October 15, 2014

Recycling of Roof Bitumen

The Dutch Roofing Association (NDA) is partnering with Roof2Roof to recycle existing bitumen roofs into new roof shingles. This collaboration gives this recycling niche 'national momentum', the organisations state. 
 
Roof2Roof organises and facilitates the recycling of bitumen roofing in the Netherlands according to a cradle-to-cradle philosophy. 

'We have developed a new method for recycling bitumen waste and strive to realise recycling on the most sustainable level,' says founder Martin Smit. The recyclate is ultimately used to replace virgin resources in the manufacture of new roofing products. 

The first joint project has been launched in the historic town of Varsseveld in Gelderland and is hailed as 'the first step towards a single goal - zero waste'. 

The Dutch recycler claims it has recycled up to 45 tonnes of bitumen to date, said to equate to the carbon dioxide emissions of a car travelling 238 500 km. 

April 7, 2014

Lake Asphlat not for Sale

THERE are no plans to sell or privatise Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Instead, the existing plant, used for refining raw asphalt, would be upgraded and modernised.
That was the company’s response to concerns raised about the long-term future of Lake Asphalt, and whether there were plans by the Government to privatise the entity. 

Lake Asphalt issued a news release in the daily newspapers, stating the existing plant would be refurbished into a modern-type facility that is in line with world-class standards which would significantly improve output and efficiency.

The product is used as a modifier in bitumen used in paving roads. 

Lake Asphalt stated the company had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Beijing Oriental Yuhong Waterproof Technology Company Ltd for the setting up of a waterproof membranes facility in Trinidad utilising raw asphalt from the lake.

“The MOU would facilitate discussions with Beijing Oriental Yuhong to explore the possibility of establishing a joint-venture arrangement with Lake Asphalt for the location of the plant in La Brea,” the release stated.
The proposed project is currently at the feasibi­lity-study stage and, as such, no firm commitments or contracts have been executed, the company stated.

Lake Asphalt noted the establishment of the new facility would create hundreds of jobs for residents of La Brea. The company stated that the existing asphalt plant used for refining the raw asphalt was de­cades old, “very inefficient and prone to breakdowns”.

The company added the proposed plans to upgrade the plant would not result in the laying-off of workers, but promote development opportunities through training and upgrading of skills.

 By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com
Source- Trinidad Express

February 13, 2014

Bitumen Seepage in Alberta

Record Bitumen Seepage in Alberta Continues Unabated
 BitumenSurfaceSeepage_600px.jpg
Example of large fractures in earth that continue to seep bitumen at one of four well sites operated by CNRL at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. Photo: CNRL, September 2013.
 
Researchers of an independent report on one of the largest ongoing oil releases in Alberta history say the provincial regulator and industry must do more to inform the public about the scale and impact of massive bitumen seepage in the oil sands.
 
For nearly a year now, more than 12,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with water have seeped through several long cracks (some as long as 100 metres) in the forest floor near four wells owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) in the Cold Lake region.
 
To date, the Calgary-based company has spent nearly $40 million in cleanup operations that have involved the removal of 70,000 tonnes of earth. It also pumped 404,378 cubic metres of water out of a small lake to clean up two large bitumen fissures.
 
CNRL says the cause of the extraordinary seepage at its Primrose facility is due to a failed or partially failed wellbore, but other observers suspect that the formation was over-pressurized.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator said in a November 2013 press release that it has reached no conclusions about the cause and is actively investigating it.
 
But the report argues it's highly unlikely that four wellbores six kilometres apart would fail at the same time, and suggests the company has probably fractured protective caprock overlaying bitumen formations.
 
"Both the Alberta Energy Regulator and CNRL have been slow to provide information and the information provided has been sparse and frequently inaccurate," says Peter Lee of Global Forest Watch Canada, and one of the report's authors. Global Forest Watch Canada is a network of organizations that exists to provide information about development activities in Canada's forests.
 
"CNRL is known to be a media-shy company," adds Kevin Timoney of Treeline Ecological Research, a co-investigator. "The Alberta Energy Regulator, despite its public relations statements, remains a secretive agency. Neither excels at providing timely, accurate and complete information to the public. When the failure to inform is combined with major environmental incidents and a regulator that fails to err on the side of caution, the public interest suffers."
 
Reports on the volume of bitumen released to the surface, for example, do not add up compared to volumes that the company says it has recovered.
 
It took the Alberta Energy Regulator six months to answer queries about accuracy and reliability of its data on the incident from the two Alberta scientists who wrote the report. Both researchers say they've also documented the slow and uneven rate of enforcement of environmental rules in the province.
Given the uncontrollable nature of the bitumen seepage and its impact on groundwater and wetlands, the report also advises that steam injection "operations should be suspended or curtailed until major unknowns are addressed. Over-pressuring of bitumen reservoirs should be prohibited."
 
On a newly refurbished webpage dedicated to the ongoing event, the company promises that it will "modify how we steam and the growth in steam volumes in successive cycles to provide greater certainty that all fluids remain" in the Clearwater, the formation they are steaming.
 
How caprock can crack
The bitumen release has set off alarm bells in the oil sands industry, because half of bitumen production from the mega-project now involves companies injecting highly pressurized steam into the ground to recover deep deposits of tarry bitumen.
 
In the future, 80 per cent of all oil sands production will come from energy-intensive steam injection plants.
 
Although industry has presented this form of production as more environmentally friendly than open pit mining, the cyclic steam injection process used by CNRL at depths of 400 metres can lift ground cover by as much as 36 centimetres (14 inches) over the course of a month. Pumping the melted bitumen out can result in an equal amount of subsidence too.
 
Studies on the phenomenon nearly 20 years ago demonstrated that "it is physically possible to appreciably raise the ground surface by injecting fluids underground."
 
Since 2001, satellite imagery has been used by industry to monitor the progress of steam injection and detect ground deformation. The imagery can also help industry determine "whether linear features exist at the surface that may indicate the presence of weaknesses in the subsurface, such as fractures or even faults."
 
Secret federal briefing notes obtained by Postmedia reporter Jason Fekete last month show that the government knew about satellite data that showed ground level deformation in the area from 2009 to 2013.
 
Fekete reported that the satellite data showed that "the values of ground deformation (both subsidence and uplift) at the CNRL operation were often in the range of 10 to 30 centimetres over various sampled 24-day periods." Such data indicates that CNRL may have injected too much steam into the formation.
Many scientists now fear that continuous lifting and dropping of the earth combined with the force of injection near local faults and abandoned wells could fracture holes in the caprock, leading to extensive groundwater pollution and surface bitumen leaks.
 
Still cracks in the research
The Alberta Energy Regulator has had a team studying the critical problem of caprock integrity since 2009, but has yet to issue any reports or an incidence database as promised on its website.
 
The incidents are well-known. One event took place at Total's Joslyn steam plant project in 2006. After the company injected the formation (the cause is still the subject of debate), steam exploded to the surface and created a 300-metre crater in the forest. It took the regulator four years to report on the event.
 
Similarly, a major release by CNRL at the same project now seeping uncontrollably occurred in 2009 and contaminated groundwater. The regulator did not report on that event until 2013, four years later.
 
Causation of both events remains unresolved.
 
"The regulator's inability to determine the causes of previous caprock failures while allowing high pressure cyclic steam operations to continue in the absence of improved safeguards has imposed unquantified risks to bitumen resources, groundwater and adjacent ecosystems," adds the independent report.
 
Industry is keenly aware of the risks that highly pressurized steam injection now poses in the region. One operation that steamed formations at depths of 480 to 500 metres below the surface had "experienced steam breakthrough" to the surface. As a consequence, "the operators decided to implement a microseismic monitoring system to further observe the steam pathway from the reservoir to the surface in order to avoid any further breakthroughs to the surface," reports ESG Solutions, a company that pioneered technology to help industry measure small earthquakes caused by energy and mining projects.
 
A better monitoring program helped the company avoid more engineering mistakes, such as injecting too much steam pressures that might "induce fractures in a caprock layer or reactivate existing faults or fractures, causing communication with a sensitive layer (i.e. an aquifer) or in the case of shallow operations, the surface."
 
Scientists have also known for years that the uplifting can shear off wellbores in the region. One 2001 study by University of Waterloo researcher Maurice Dusseault reported the failure of 250 wells in the Cold Lake region due to the steam induced expansion and contraction of bitumen deposits.
 
Noted the Dusseault paper: "Downhole integrity loss often can be repaired, but uphole shear failures at Cold Lake are serious events that could result in the release of fluids to the surface. These cannot be repaired, and the wells must be abandoned. Multiple uphole casing failures have caused the abandonment of an entire pad of wells resulting from destabilization of the shale zone where shear is concentrated."
 
No-steam-injection order issued
To date, it is not known how much bitumen has seeped underground into groundwater or other formations or when it will stop seeping through fissures in the ground.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator has imposed a no-steam-injection order for the entire Primrose East area.
 
The report concludes that "expansion of in situ methods of bitumen exploitation across Alberta is outpacing the increase in knowledge of the potential below-ground and surface impacts of these methods. By the time the effects of these methods are sufficiently understood, it may be too late to remediate."
Moreover, continued use of cyclic steam injection "may result in large and unpredictable costs, and those costs will not be borne by the energy companies but by future generations of Canadians."
 
23 different groups asked for a public review of safety regulations for steam plant operations last August.
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator denied the request, saying that "[cyclic steam stimulation] and high pressure cyclic steam stimulation have been successfully used as bitumen recovery techniques in Alberta for many years" and that a public inquiry would "not provide any new information that may be able to support or guide regulatory change."
 
The Alberta Energy Regulator is 100 per cent funded by industry. 
 
Source-Reslience

May 22, 2013

Diluted Bitumen is More Corrosive and unhealthy - Protestors

Activists’ latest rally targets Enbridge pipeline project
LIZ BERNIER, The Observer
A major protest gathered outside City Hall Tuesday as a group of local activists joined to protest new developments with Sarnia’s oil pipeline.The Enbridge Line 9 Project, which would use a preexisting pipeline to carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Eastern Canada, was the focus of the protest.

Over 50 people participated in the protest, which began outside Sarnia City Hall and ended outside the Best Western hotel, where a two-day conference on the value of bitumen oil is taking place.The protest was organized by Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP), a local activist group that was formed in response to the Enbridge Line 9 Project.

ASAP organizers are concerned about the effect diluted bitumen will have on the preexisting pipeline, which was built in the 1970s.

Protest Organizer Samatha Elijah said that the pipeline was not designed to carry bitumen, which ASAP argues is more corrosive than the light crude oil that the pipeline currently carries.

“The reason why I got involved — because of my children,” she said. “What are they going to inheret if I don’t do anything? So I want as a parent to do the responsible thing for my kids.”

“The only benefit to these tar sands is money. But what good is money if you have sick children? What good is money if the land that you walk on is diesased and polluted?” Protestors came from Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor to support ASAP’s cause.

“There are already different groups all along the pipeline route that are just as invested,” Elijah said.
The Idle No More movement also had a strong presence, particularly since the Line 9 Project crosses 18 different First Nations Territories.

Ken Hall, Enbridge’s Senior Advisor of Public Affairs for Eastern Canada, said that the protestors are misinformed about diluted bitumen.

“They are making the claim that diluted bitumen is more corrsive to piplines, and therefore it creates a higher risk,” he said. “This is not true.”

“There are several reports that have been prepared by scientific groups, by independant consultants, by universities, all of which conculde that there is no evidence to suggest pipelines that carry diluted bitumen are more subject to corrosion than pipelines that are carrying other types of oil.”

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association lists a number of these studies on their website, Hall said.
“We’re very aware of the feelings of people in Ontario such as the (ASAP) group that’s protesting, who have this concern about the pipelines,” he said. “So we’re doing everything that we can do to ensure that our pipelines operate safely. And that is our number one priority.”

But Elijah remains unconvinced.
“The only benefit that (the pipeline) has is economic,” she said. “But you’re willing to risk health, you’re willing to risk the environment, you’re willing to risk your future generations for pieces of paper.”
“To me that does not add up.”
--- --- ---

The facts on Line 9:

• The Line 9 pipeline was built in 1976 and runs from Sarnia to Montreal.
• The Line 9 Project is a reversal of the flow of oil. Currently, oil is coming from east to west (Montreal to Sarnia). The Line 9 project will cause the oil to move from west to eat (Sarnia to Montreal), so that Quebec and Eastern Canada have access to bitumen from Western Canada.
• Line 9A is Located between Sarnia and Westover. The reversal plan has already been approved by the National Energy Board for line 9A.
• Line 9B is the section of pipline between Westover and Montreal. Approval is pending for Line 9B.
• The Line 9 pipeline passes through nearly 100 communities and many major rivers and streams that flow into Lake Ontario.

Source - The Observer

April 30, 2013

Road Builder Buys Bitumen Plant to Avoid Short Supply

Fed up with an unstable local bitumen supply, construction firms have begun to invest in securing their own supply of the material, which is an essential part of road construction and maintenance.
 
Road-builder Raubex and construction group Basil Read recently purchased their own bitumen processing facilities. And last month, the industry persuaded the department of trade and industry to drop the 10% duty on imported bitumen.

"Imports will always be more expensive," says Raubex's chief executive Rudolf Fourie. "But insufficient bitumen production at local refineries has made it a permanent reality. The withdrawal of import duty is a result of a year and a half of negotiations," he added.

Raubex bought Tosas, a modifier and distributor of bitumen, from Sasol Oil for R120m. The sale is packaged with a valuable supply agreement with Sasol Oil.

"Sasol will supply us with unprocessed bitumen for five years, meeting about 50% of the company's needs," says Fourie. "The rest will be sourced from other refineries," he says.

Companies generally use different grades of bitumen. Half comes directly from refineries, while the rest needs to be processed with specialised equipment to make it more elastic and durable.

Tricky, sticky material

But bitumen is tricky. It has to be stored in custom temperature-controlled facilities. When local bitumen supply was sufficient, there was no need for storage facilities. But without them, the industry has only been able to import small quantities, at a higher price.

In the 2012 financial year, bitumen supply constraints cost Raubex R100m. More recently, it has been able to dramatically reduce costs by investing R21m in storage facilities. This has enhanced its storage capacity from 500t in 2011 to 4,500t. The purchase of Tosas pushes this to 6,000t, which gives it the ability to order and offload a full shipment.

Basil Read will import a R20m bitumen reactor from New Zealand, which can produce up to five grades of bitumen, says chief executive Marius Heyns. It will be built in the Western Cape and will be operational by July. Unprocessed bitumen will be supplied by a Cape refinery.

Heyns says bitumen supply problems contributed to Basil Read's R171m loss in the year to December.

In addition to buying the reactor, it has developed a better reporting system. "Previously, by the time information was relayed, it was too late for the company to act," Heyns says.

Both firms intend supplying processed bitumen to the local construction market.

Local bitumen supply has been erratic for a number of years. Refineries which produce it are required to give priority to stocking "strategic minerals" like diesel and petrol. Bitumen does not fall into that category - and is more expensive to produce. A series of maintenance-related shutdowns at refineries has aggravated the problem.

Source: Financial Mail via I-Net Bridge - Bizcommunity


September 28, 2012

Aspahlt Recycling

Much Asphalt operates in the bituminous industry and is a commercial supplier of hot and cold asphalt products to the road construction industry. It commissioned its second set of mobile crushing and screening equipment at its Benoni site last year.

The equipment, valued at R4-million, is used to recycle road millings and waste material.
Much Asphalt technical manager Brian Neville says the impact crusher and mobile screen, supplied by Pilot Crushtec, have been put to work on a 300 000 t stockpile of reclaimed asphalt from various sites, including the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

“We achieve about a 95% yield of recycled material from the stockpile and 20% of this is in the asphalt mixes, saving on the costs of raw materials and energy costs, while reducing the pressure on natural resources and our carbon footprint. “Even taxpayers benefit, as they ulti- mately pay for the construction of roads,” he says.

Added benefits of recycling include an enhanced ability to produce warm mix asphalt using a foaming technology, which allows for higher percentages of recycled material than traditional hot mix asphalt. Also, warm mix asphalt allows for lower mixing and laying temperatures, resulting not only in reduced consumption of fossil fuels but also in lower levels of carbon dioxide and harmful vapours being released.

“The crushing and screening machines run between five and six hours a day, producing about 90 t of recycled asphalt an hour,” says Neville.

Much Asphalt started recycling road material in 2007 at its Roodepoort plant, which is capable of screening material at a rate of 250 t an hour into two graded frac- tions and one oversize material.
“Our future endeavour is to have a recycling capability at all of our 16 plants countrywide,” concludes Neville.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu