Bitumen is a petroleum-based hydrocarbon that is extracted through the distillation of crude oil. Bitumen is also called as tar or pitch sometime. Bitumen also occurs naturally at the bottom of the ancient lakes and thus have numerous industrial application. Bitumen is mostly application in the construction sector as it has excellent adhesive and waterproofing characteristics. It can deform permanently under the heavy loads. Moreover, bitumen can also undergo recycling due to its favorable melting point. Traditionally, bitumen was available in black color but now a variety of colors in bitumen can be obtained due to the addition of pigments.
The Global bitumen market was estimated to account for US$ 77.5 billion in terms of revenue in 2018 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period (2019 to 2027).
Increasing road construction activities as bitumen is broadly used in the construction of roads especially in India is primarily propelling the market growth of the bitumen. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, India has one of the largest road networks across the world, spanning over a total of 5.5 million km. This road network transports 64.5% of all goods in the country and 90% of India’s total passenger traffic uses the road network to commute. The construction of highways reached 9,829 km during 2018, at an average of 26.93 km per day. The government of India has set a target for construction of 10,000 km national highway by March 2019.
Growing usage of the bitumen as an additive in the paper industry to produce waterproof papers that are used for packaging and transportation of the goods is expected to benefit the market of the bitumen over the forecast period. Waterproof paper is reinforced with bitumen to produce waterproof liner for pallets and cases and for packing fragile and permeable materials. Moreover, also, bitumen-reinforced waterproof paper is also used across the export of the heavy-duty packaging is expected to foster the market growth of bitumen.
Environmental concerns associated with the production of bitumen is expected to hinder the market growth of the bitumen. Bitumen is derived from the oil sands reserves through the breakdown of the hydrocarbon compounds and heating of oil sand produces lots of toxic gases such as greenhouse gases that have a negative impact on the environment and health of the people. This factor is projected to restrict the market growth of the bitumen over the forecast period.
Among end users, road construction dominated the global bitumen market in 2018, reporting of market share of 83% in terms of revenue, followed by waterproofing and others. Increasing planning and implementation of road construction in countries across the world is expected to fuel the growth in demand of bitumen in upcoming years.
Increasing the export of bitumen around the globe by key players to improve the refined product is expected to foster the market growth of the bitumen. For instance, in October 2019, trading house Trafigura has exported the first bulk cargo of bitumen from Russia in years under a deal that it says can help the country improve the quality of its refined products ahead of new, global regulations on marine fuel. The company expects to ship at least 35,000 tons of bitumen from a Russian refinery between October and March 2019.
Increasing number of partnerships among key players to enhance the production and to distribute the bitumen is expected to foster the market growth of the bitumen. For instance, in October 2019 Shell Bitumen announced that they have incorporated a 50-50 joint venture with Tiki Tar Industries to form Tiki Tar and Shell India Pvt. Ltd. to sell bitumen in the Indian pavement sector. The company will supply and market an extensive range of bitumen products based on the Shell bitumen product portfolio to customers in national and state highways, airport runways and village roads in India.
Players active in the market are Exxon Mobil Corporation, Total S.A., Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Marathon Oil Corporation, Calumet Specialty Product Partners Ltd L.P, Chevron Texaco Corporation, and Nynas AB
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