OREANDA-NEWS. Gazpromneft Bitumen Materials — operator of the Gazprom Neft bitumens business — has, with the support of company KazAvtoZhol (responsible for managing the country’s road network) and the Kazakhstan Roads Research and Development Institute (KRRDI), recently been involved in the construction of test motorway sections in Kazakhstan — an initiative being implemented pursuant to a cooperation agreement signed with the KRRDI in spring 2015.

The first section has been laid in the north of the country, on Highway A1, connecting Russia and Kazakhstan, and the second in the south of the republic, on the highway which is part of the Western Europe — Western China transcontinental corridor. As well as being subject to very high traffic, the test sections chosen are located in very different climatic zones — allowing the most thorough investigation possible into the performance of bitumen materials.

The polymer-bitumen binders* used were produced in line with recommendations from the KRRDI, and developed consistent with Superpave methodology and regulation governing the application of bitumens in those areas selected. Laboratory testing of polymer-bitumen binders from the Gazprom Neft Omsk Refinery confirmed their high performance and consistency with the republic’s quality standards.

Road surface conditions will subsequently be monitored in order to compare those coverings with polymer-bitumen binders against those using traditional bitumens. Data analysis has made clear the benefits of using polymer-bitumen binders on highways with heavy traffic loads and subject to difficult climatic conditions.

Gazprom Neft has already been involved in the construction of such pilot road sections in various regions of the Russian Federation for the past four years.

Gazpromneft Bitumens CEO Dmitry Orlov commented: “We are constantly improving the quality of modified bitumens, studying product properties in the laboratory and monitoring their performance directly on the road. The construction and subsequent monitoring of test-sections gives us the opportunity to obtain data on the application of innovative bitumen materials and, subsequently, to develop optimum formulations for highways in Kazakhstan.”

* Polymer-bitumen binders are based on traditional bitumens, with the addition of styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymers and a plasticizer. Polymer-bitumen binders demonstrate better quality in comparison with traditional bitumen, including greater resistance to warping, better endurance under extreme temperatures, and greater resistance against deterioration.

Established in October 2014, Gazpromneft Bitumen Materials (Gazpromneft BM LLC) is a subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, specialising in the production and sale of bitumen products and leading the domestic market, achieving sales of 1.8 million tonnes of bitumen materials in 2014. The company’s key production facilities are based in the Moscow, Omsk, Yaroslavl and Ryazan Oblasts, producing road, construction and roofing bitumens, as well as polymer-modified bitumens (PMB G-way Styrelf), and bitumen emulsions and fillers.

The company is represented in Kazakhstan by its subsidiary Gazpromneft Bitumen Kazakhstan, which produces a wide range of bitumen materials fully compliant with Russian and Kazakh quality standards. The factory has a total production capacity of 180,000 tonnes per year.

Gazprom Neft uses a variety of transport solutions to ensure the supply of bitumen materials throughout Russia, the CIS, and abroad. The company’s facilities in Omsk, Yaroslavl and Ryazan are equipped with specialist packaging production lines allowing the transportation of bitumen products throughout the country’s most remote and inaccessible regions.

An agreement was signed between Gazpromneft Bitumen Materials, the KRRDI and SIBUR GEOSINT in spring 2015 on cooperation in the legal and technical regulation of the use of bitumen and polymer?bitumen materials in road building in Kazakhstan.