In Turkmenistan, at the Seydi oil refinery, a unique unit of “Westport Trading Europe Limited” was put into operation, which makes it possible to produce road bitumen of world quality. The commissioning of a strategically significant facility is another step in the development of the oil and gas complex of Turkmenistan.
Doctor of Technical Sciences, scientific expert AllaberdyI lyasov told CentralAsia.news about how the unique technologies introduced in Turkmenistan for the production of high-quality bitumen ensure the growth of the country's economy.
Bitumen or “earthen pitch” is the oldest building and finishing material. Man knew about it back in the Neolithic era, and historians have found references to him in ancient scriptures. Since ancient times, people have actively used this material to create waterproof dishes, fasten spearheads, and even for waterproofing wooden structures.
Petroleum bitumen is one of the key materials in road construction. It is a viscous black product with low electrical and thermal conductivity, water and gas impermeability, with excellent adhesive properties and resistance to chemicals. These valuable qualities make it indispensable for road construction. Bitumen is classified into liquid and viscous types. Liquid bitumen is used in the manufacture of cold asphalt mortars and to lengthen the construction season. Viscous - for the production of hot asphalt and work in the warm season. The main function of these materials is to firmly bond the components into a homogeneous mass, from which high-quality roads are created.
Cast asphalt made with petroleum bitumen was first used in road construction in 1876 in the United States. And already 15 years later, in the same place, in the USA, the road was built in an industrial way - with the help of an asphalt distributor, which provides a continuous supply of hot bitumen. And when the widespread laying of roads began, the booming oil industry provided the necessary bitumen production.
The “Westport Trading Europe Limited” plant commissioned in Turkmenistan is the first road bitumen production plant based on a versatile oil feedstock visbreaking process. In the course of this process, heavy oil residues are processed, that is, waste that remains after the distillation of oil and the extraction of components from it, which are necessary for the production of basic types of oil products. The unique technology makes it possible not only to obtain high-quality road bitumen from highly paraffinic Turkmen oil that meets all international standards, but also to deepen the oil refining process, thereby more efficiently using the country's hydrocarbon resources.
Taking into account the fact that high-quality roads are an integral part of the modern world, the production and export of high-quality bitumen of the Turkmen brand ensures the growth of the profitable part of the national economy.
Highways are an active component of the transport infrastructure of the Turkmen state, and their construction is a strategic aspect of the country's socio-economic development program until 2025.
Today, many kilometers of modern asphalt-concrete roads are being built in Turkmenistan, connecting the capital with the administrative centers of the regions, and work is actively underway on the construction of international highways. This ensures high-quality passenger and cargo transportation not only within the country, but also abroad.
Turkmenistan, being a dynamically developing country, has been and remains an important link in trade between East and West, and modern highways significantly expand the transit potential of Turkmenistan. Thus, the transport corridor passing through the territory of the country from East to West serves as the shortest route from Asia to Europe. In addition, international transit traffic opens up great prospects for further cooperation of Turkmenistan with other countries.