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The raw materials required for manufacturing bitumen include crude oil and oil sands. The crude oil is distilled and then oxidized to produce bitumen. Also, processes such as hydrogenation and hydrodesulphurization are undertaken after oxidation to remove unwanted residuals that may hamper the bitumen efficiency. This bitumen manufacturing process makes it adhesive, and thermally stable. Thus, it is widely being used as a construction & engineering material when exposed to elevated temperatures.

The Africa bitumen market is expected to surpass US$ 751.54 million by the end of 2028, in terms of value, exhibiting at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period (2021 to 2028).


Natural bitumen is a tar-like form of petroleum that is dense, thick, and heavy. It comprises sulfur and various heavy metals such as vanadium, lead, nickel, chromium, mercury, and other toxic elements. Its classification is majorly based on the chemical properties as well as viscosity. When the bitumen is mixed with organic amines and amides, better adhesive properties can be achieved. When it is mixed with lime and fly ash, it provides smooth and excellent surfaces. These properties facilitate the usage of bitumen as a chemical additive. Moreover, the usage of bitumen helps in enhancing the efficiency of coatings and paints. It also improves the viscosity of waterproofing agents. Furthermore, the usage of chemically modified bitumen as an additive for road construction activities is expected to augment the market growth across Africa over the forecast period.

Among the countries, Rest of Africa dominated the Africa bitumen market in 2020, accounting for 54.1% share, in terms of revenue, followed by South Africa and Nigeria, respectively. This growth can be attributed to the expansion of building and construction activities.

Figure 1. Africa Bitumen Market, Revenue Share (%), By Country, 2020

 | Coherent Market Insights

Market Restraints

During the forecast period, Africa's bitumen market expansion is expected to be hampered by limited application and alternative use of bitumen. Around 75-80% of the bitumen produced goes into activities related to road construction. However, one of the disadvantages of bitumen is the involvement of heat energy for melting solid bitumen or viscous bitumen for spreading over the road surface. This process involves the release of toxic gases during the meltdown process of bitumen, which results in pollution. Also, 2–4 barrels of freshwater are required for the extraction of 1 barrel of bitumen. These factors are majorly acting as a barrier to the market growth for bitumen across Africa.

Market Opportunities

The cost-effective nature of bitumen and its carbon black wetting feature makes it a perfect ingredient in the production of printing inks. Bitumen is used as a solvent especially for black and brown colored printing inks for providing a dark and long-lasting impression on paper. Printing oils is generally mixed with highly viscous bitumen to achieve a dark and black colored oil that can be used as efficient black printing ink. Thus, several manufacturers of printing inks have started leveraging these features of bitumen for enhancing their product performance. For instance, in 2014, a Swedish manufacturer of specialty naphthenic oils and bitumen products named Nynas AB introduced a series of heavy oil bitumen products suitable for rubber, adhesives, and printing inks.

Africa Bitumen Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2020 Market Size in 2020: US$ 418.71 Mn
Historical Data for: 2017 to 2019 Forecast Period: 2021 to 2028
Forecast Period 2021 to 2028 CAGR: 5.3% 2028 Value Projection: US$ 751.54 Mn
Geographies covered:
  • Region: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, Rest of Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Product Type: Paving Grade, Oxidized Grade, Bitumen Emulsions, Polymer Modified Bitumen, and Others
  • By Application: Roadways, Waterproofing, Adhesive, Insulation, and Others (Footwear, Pillows, etc.)
Companies covered:

Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., RAHA Bitumen, Inc., Tekfalt Binders (Pty) Ltd., SprayPave, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., GOIL Company Limited, Wabeco Petroleum Ltd., Tiger Bitumen, and Richmond Group

Growth Drivers:
  • Surging number of road construction activities
  • Increasing usage of bitumen as a chemical additive
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Preference for alternatives

Figure 2. Africa Bitumen Market – Opportunity Analysis

 | Coherent Market Insights

Market Trends

The paper industry uses bitumen for the production of waterproof papers. Waterproof paper is reinforced with bitumen and is used as a waterproof liner for cases and pallets and for packing fragile and permeable objects. This paper has properties such as smooth surface and moisture resistance on coming in contact with bitumen. Also, due to its hard-wearing property, bitumen-reinforced waterproof paper is majorly used in heavy-duty export packaging across railway and air transport.

The usage of bitumen in the manufacturing of anti-corrosive paints has increased significantly over the last few years. This can be attributed to their requirement of low setting time (around 6-24 hours). Bituminous paints are used by several industries such as marine, construction, furniture, and aviation for waterproofing of boats and ships as well as terraces of industrial manufacturing units. These paints provide protective coatings to concrete, wood, steel, timber, and other materials.

Figure 3. Africa Bitumen Market, Revenue Share (%), By Product Type, in 2020

 | Coherent Market Insights

On the basis of product type, the paving grade segment dominated the Africa bitumen market in 2020, accounting for around 68.3% of market share, in terms of revenue, followed by oxidized grade, owing to its favorable material properties, which offer unique cohesion and stability to the bituminous mixture.

Africa Bitumen Market - Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

The COVID-19 has drastically impacted the Africa bitumen market. Stringent lockdown was imposed across Africa from March 30 to May 4. Although it has been lifted thereafter, the construction activities across this region have not gained full momentum. This can be associated with the decline of oil revenue across Africa. Moreover, delays in the crude supply across roadways and waterways on account of the closure of many international borders have substantially increased the number of inventories. Thus, additional costs incurred for the storage of bitumen have also hampered the market growth for bitumen. Delays in the cargo shipments from the refineries to the desired locations, and travel restrictions have also affected the supply chain of bitumen to some extent.

Competitive Section

Key players operating in the Africa bitumen market include Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., RAHA Bitumen, Inc., Tekfalt Binders (Pty) Ltd., SprayPave, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., GOIL Company Limited, Wabeco Petroleum Ltd., Tiger Bitumen, and Richmond Group.

Few Recent Developments:

In October 2019, an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company named Royal Dutch Shell Plc. entered into a partnership with Tiki Tar Industries, an India-based supplier of bitumen products, to sell bitumen to customers in the road construction business, including national highways, airport runways, and others.

In May 2019, an African Ghanaian oil and gas marketing company named GOIL Company Limited entered into a joint venture with Societe Multinationale de Bitumes (SMB) of Cote d’Ivoire to construct a US$ 35 million bitumen plant in Tema, Ghana. The plant has the capacity to produce 8,000 tons of polymer modified bitumen (PMB) and bitumen emulsion.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Africa bitumen market is expected to surpass US$ 751.54 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.3% between 2021 and 2028.

The growth of the market is driven by rising usage of bitumen in anti-corrosive paints.

Increasing adoption of bitumen in the production of waterproof paper is expected to boost the market growth over the forecast period.

Surging usage of alternatives like cement in the construction industry will hinder the market growth.

Major players operating in the market include Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., RAHA Bitumen, Inc., Tekfalt Binders (Pty) Ltd., SprayPave, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., GOIL Company Limited, Wabeco Petroleum Ltd., Tiger Bitumen, and Richmond Group

The market was valued at US$ 418.71 million in 2020.
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