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From deciding how to produce bitumen to what type to make, refiners face numerous challenges and questions in order to create the best product for customers
There are many factors, including technical and economical, that will influence a refiner’s choice to produce bitumen. For instance, the configuration of the refinery may mean it is technically not viable, and a refiner’s level of competence and knowledge about blending bitumen can pose a challenge.
Another key factor is commercial viability. Out of the total global oil production, bitumen currently represents only approximately two percent of the products produced out of the oil barrel. Therefore, this relatively niche market for refiners will need to demonstrate commercial benefits.
With 85 percent of bitumen used in road applications, refiners should understand which properties are important for the asphalt industry – high durability, more long-lasting roads and a higher level of quality. Refiners can alter bitumen to some degree in order to prepare a solution more tailored to the customer’s needs. Of course, costs and logistics will determine what is possible.
By optimising their production and continually increasing their bitumen specialist knowledge, bitumen producers can provide the road industry with the optimum product for different requirements.
Read the full article in Performance Magazine Issue 2/2015