Asphalt Review

Site in Focus: Viva Energy, Port Botany, NSW

Viva Energy's Port Botany bitumen facility features in-line blending capabilities

Viva Energy's Port Botany bitumen facility features in-line blending capabilitiesViva Energy’s Port Botany facility is designed with the consumer in mind. Its in-line blending capabilities has made it a flexible producer of quality bitumen in New South Wales. Rather than the traditional approach of batching and certifying an individual tank of bitumen, material is drawn from three feedstock tanks in pre-determined quantities and mixed in controlled ratios in the in-line blender to a specific finished grade of bitumen. Calibrated custody meters ensure the accuracy of blend ratio compliance with bitumen specifications. The blending process allows the full suite of standard bitumen grades to be supplied: C170 and C320 for local authority and council work and C240 and C450 for RMS work as well as C600 for heavy duty applications.

Dr. Nigel Preston, Viva Energy National Bitumen Technical Manager, explains that until recently bitumen had been supplied through the ageing refinery at Clyde near Parramatta. Following the Clyde refinery’s closure in 2013, a new bitumen facility was invested in to continue supply into the NSW market. “In order to resume bitumen supply into New South Wales, we had to basically build a new import facility,” he says. Port Botany was chosen as the new site’s location.

Viva Energy’s Port Botany site has been operational since May 2014. An official opening ceremony took place in June that same year, with NSW Premier Mike Baird and NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay officiating the ceremony.

Open 24/7, 365 days a year, the facility is import-focused, and has already supplied materials to major state metropolitan projects. This included the base binder for the upgrades to Sydney Airport’s road network.

Dr. Preston says that Viva Energy now imports bitumen from approved sources overseas and blends product to Australian grades at the Port Botany facility. Its location in Port Botany allows ships to efficiently unload their cargo. He says it’s a straightforward setup on-site, with the primary features including: in-line blending capabilities; 21,000 tonnes of storage capacity; and an automatic, duel bay gantry. “In principle, it’s relatively simple,” he says.

Viva Energy Key Account Manager Bitumen Chris Cameron says that the site’s ability to blend within the country’s grades of bitumen has been key to its continuous supply to the NSW market. “Viva Energy is successfully targeting the midpoint of the viscosity specifications for all of the bitumen produced at its Botany facility,” he says. The wider range of bitumen blended on-site means the material can also be used out of state, which Mr. Cameron asserts is a great contingency for other states should they undergo a supply interruption.

The Port Botany facility includes a driver’s room with all the amenities and services they need. Mr. Cameron says that Viva Energy is receiving excellent feedback from its clients in relation to the quality of bitumen they’ve been supplied with.

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