Bitumen is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and organic compounds of diverse structure, mostly at temperatures below boiling. The main components of bitumen are asphaltenes, resins, and petroleum oils.
The volume of supply of bitumen in the Russian market in 2010 amounted to 3928 tons, which was 19% higher than in 2009. Due to the 2009 financial crisis in the Russian economy, which caused reductions in construction and lower demand for building materials (including asphalt) there was, in that year, a decline in bitumen production volumes of 32%. In 2011, there was a 17% increase in production over 2010. The volume of imports of bitumen is less than 0.02% (see more details Russia: Bitumen Market).
The upward dynamics of production of bitumen and shale oil established in recent years (growth rates in 2006 - 109%, 2007 - 115% in 2008 - 121%), was replaced by a deep decline in 2009 - production dropped by 29% relative to 2008. In 2010-2011, however, there was an increase in production of bitumen of 116%.
There is a characteristic of the intra-seasonal production of bitumen oil; minimal amounts are produced in the beginning of the year but gradually increase monthly until early fall, when they then drop again. It is associated primarily with the construction season, in particular road construction, which defines the basic demand for bitumen.
The end usage of bitumen, by and large, is as a road liquid, which accounts for 70-80% of the total produced volume. This share has increased in the last three years; in 2008 it reached the 80% level, in 2009-2010 it accounted for 85%, and for first eleven months of 2011 it climbed to an 86.4% share. The share of of bitumen used in capital construction has declined from year to year; in 2000 it accounted for 12.2% but by 2009 it had dropped to 4.6%. The share of roofing bitumen varied from year to year within the 8-14% range, and in recent years has steadied at about 10%. Since 2010, the reporting of construction and roofing asphalts have been considered together, so in 2011 the aggregate amounted to approximately 13.5%.
The largest volume of bitumen and shale oil is produced in the Volga Federal District, but in recent years the share of this region decreased from 48.7% in 2005 to 42.2% in January-November 2011. The Central Federal district, whose share in January-November 2011 amounted to about 34%, was second in terms of production and the Siberian region, which accounted for 13.7% in 2011, was third. The remaining federal districts for the production of bitumen and shale oil are considerably lower than the first three; the Southern Federal District accounts for 4%, the Far East 1.5%, the Urals about 1%, and the North-West Federal District in 2011, according to Rosstat, accounted for, in 2011, 4.2%.
The largest manufacturer of bitumen in the Russian Federation is the JSC "Moscow Oil Refinery", which produced more than 17%. Next are JSC "Ryazan Refinery" and OAO "Gazprom - the Omsk Oil Refinery", which produce 9.1% each. In fourth place is "Lukoil Nizhny Novgorod" (8.2%), followed by the OJSC "Slavneft Yaroslavnefteorgsintez" (7.3%), LLC «Lukoil-Perm Refinery" (7%) and OAO "Saratov Oil Refinery» (6.7%).
Other manufacturers take up 35.2%, among which are many refineries, such as OJSC "LUKOIL", OJSC "TNK-BP”, OJSC "Rosneft", OJSC "Tatneft", JSC "Bashneft "and other . Detailed data on the volume of production of these main producers can be found in the table below.
The volume of consumption of bitumen is directly dependent on the development of the construction industry, road construction in particular. So in 2009, there was a drop in demand for bitumen (32% reduction), but in 2010-2011 there was an active recovery (119% growth in 2010 and 117% in 2011).
Despite a marked decline in road construction in 2010 (estimated reduction was 10-20%), bitumen production volumes grew substantially. This was due to the fact that the road builders needed to repair the notoriously ragged Russian roads, began, finally, to receive maximum funding, meaning that the bitumen producers who suffered through hard times in 2009 are now catching up.
The largest volume of bitumen is consumed in the Central Federal District, which accounted in 2010 for almost 41%. In the second place was the Privolsky federal district with a share of 27%. Siberia was next with 11.4%. Relatively equal shares are found in the Northwestern, Southern and Ural Federal Districts (respectively 5.2%, 5.6% and 6%). The smallest amounts of bitumen and shale oil is used in Hull East - 3.8%.
Currently, the main end-uses of bitumen is in road construction, which, in 2011, had an 86.4% share of the bitumen market. Approximately one-tenth of the bitumen is used in roofing materials, and the remaining 4.2% are used in capital construction.
The industry, in general, does not focus on using high quality products. There are no specific requirements on the properties of bitumen to develop a better product. Nor are they are expressed; neither producers nor their customers, despite an aggressive State Program for road development, seem adverse to the status quo.