Gazpromneft Bitumen Materials — operator of the Gazprom Neft bitumens business — has confirmed the opening of the most significant and most high-technology specialist bitumens research and development facility (R&D Centre) in Russia. The official opening of the facility was attended by Russia’s Minister for Transport, Maksim Sokolov, and Governor of the Ryazan Oblast, Oleg Kovalyev.
The Gazprom Neft R&D Centre is operating from within the company’s bitumen materials factory in Ryazan — the leading producer of polymer—bitumen binders on the domestic market. The bitumens and asphalt laboratory at the facility is fitted out with cutting-edge equipment thanks to which it is possible to study not only the output of bitumen producers, but also asphalt mixes (bitumen—concrete mixes) prepared in line with the needs of road-building organisations. This approach allows extensive research to be undertaken and formulations developed guaranteeing a significant increase in the useful life of road coverings.
The opening of the Gazprom Neft centre in Russia has also created an opportunity for intensive research to be undertaken into Superpave**, a process new to the Russian domestic market, but one which has already proved its effectiveness worldwide. The R&D Centre has all the equipment necessary for testing this against actual transport loads simulations, traffic intensity and characteristics, and the climatic conditions of various regions.
Anatoly Cherner, CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Technological leadership in the production and sale of oil products is a key strategic objective for Gazprom Neft. Establishing our own R&D Centre for bitumen production is a major step for us in developing the company’s technological potential. I am confident that the equipment and competencies concentrated in the R&D Centre will ensure the further development of the domestic road industry, as well as uniting the interests of bitumen producers and road-building organisations.”
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, with annual sales of 1.7 million tonnes of bitumen materials.
The company’s key production facilities are based in the Moscow, Vyazma, Omsk, Yaroslavl and Ryazan Oblasts, as well as in Serbia and Kazakhstan. The company’s product range includes road, construction and roofing bitumens, as well as polymer-modified bitumens and binders (specifically G-Way Styrelf), and a range of bitumen derivatives (mastic compounds, sealants and bitumen emulsions).
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.
* 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.
** Superpave represents an innovation for Russia, but is a long-established design process for road coverings in many countries worldwide. The key feature of this system lies in research into the stress-related properties of bitumen binders and the simulation of composite loads on asphalt concrete, adjusted for the climatic conditions of the region in which it is to be used, as well as likely traffic.