Bitumen is commonly obtained from oil refinery processes, are at ambient temperature solid materials, from black to dark brown in colour, with thermoplastic behaviour and good characteristics of adhesion and waterproofing. The production processes used are mainly fractional distillation, production for de-asphalting with solvent in lubricant cycle refineries, thermal treatment of residuals.

From a chemical-physical view point, bitumens are complex mixtures consisting of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds containing different atoms besides carbon, such sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen.

Bitumen is available in a variety of grades. Specifications vary to meet the needs of the consuming industries and are based on a series of physical tests that define the safety, solubility, physical properties and durability of bitumens. The physical properties are designed to define performance characteristics that are required under the climatic and loading conditions that the bitumen will experience in service. Bitumen is graded according to standardised testing methods. These tests also give rise to two commonly used terms which describe the method of measurement, rather than a “type” of bitumen:

Penetration graded bitumen

Bitumen is classified by the depth to which a standard needle will penetrate under specified test conditions. This “pen” test classification is used to indicate the hardness of bitumen, lower penetration indicating a harder bitumen. Specifications for penetration graded bitumens normally state the penetration range for a grade, e.g. 50/70. Other tests are used to classify the bitumen for specification purposes, such as softening point, solubility, flash point etc.

Viscosity graded bitumen

Bitumens are also graded and specified by their viscosity at a standard temperature (typically 60°C). Specifications for viscosity graded bitumens normally give the nominal viscosity prefixed by a V, e.g. V1500.

Deepetro is equipped to provide all grades of Bitumen tailor made to meet the needs of its customers. 85% of bitumen is used in road construction and is obtained as a residual product in petroleum refineries. We are involved with suppliers in Middle East and import bitumen into countries and regions via bulk terminals and distribute and package it as per requirement of our clients. Our main cliental for bitumen are located in Africa and Asia.