25 May - 27 May 2021
Virtual event

Argus Bitumen & Asphalt Live - Virtual Conference

CET agenda

A video recording of all conference sessions will be available on demand so you can watch what you have missed at a convenient time.

Asia transitioning to a new normal - the refining picture

Start End
  • 02:00 CET
  • -
  • 03:00 CET
  • Keynote panel: Exploring the changing bitumen supply landscape across Asia

Hear industry executives tackle the most pressing issues regarding bitumen shortage, and the impact of bitumen supply on running low-sulphur crudes

  • Where have we seen refinery shutdowns and reduced capacity across the continent?
  • What is the outlook for refinery output in Singapore and China?
  • How will South Korea reposition itself in a changing landscape?
  • How has the changing crude slate and running low-sulphur crudes impacted output?
  • 03:00 CET
  • -
  • 03:30 CET
  • Regional spotlight: How is China becoming a self-sufficient market to support growing domestic bitumen demand?
  • Refining investments to increase bitumen production, with potential to export
  • How efficient is China in producing bitumen?
  • Opening for more multilateral trade relationships through the RCEP agreement
  • How will higher domestic bitumen production impact the exporting markets?
  • 04:10 CET
  • -
  • 04:50 CET
  • Pricing panel: Recent bitumen prices, overcoming volatility and a refiner’s view of the economics
  • What have been the key price drivers across the continent in the past year?
  • How have high fuel oil values impacted bitumen pricing in South Korea?
  • What effect have changing trade flows had on prices?
  • How do growing bitumen costs drive production of higher-quality products?
  • 04:50 CET
  • -
  • 05:40 CET
  • Regional spotlight panel: Australasia’s rising imports and its position on a global stage
  • Where have we seen reductions in refining capacity?
  • How will refineries adapt to allow for a consistent supply of bitumen to meet demand?
  • Where will New Zealand and Australia look to source new bitumen?
  • What grades of bitumen are required for New Zealand’s road industry?
  • 06:40 CET
  • -
  • 07:10 CET
  • Shifting tactics: How India is gearing up to produce more bitumen
  • Assessing the rise in road construction activities and current domestic demand
  • How is India looking to fill the supply gap?
  • New investments and refinery redesigns to increase bitumen production
  • How have sanctions impacted bitumen imports?

Trading opportunities with Asia

Start End
  • 07:10 CET
  • -
  • 08:10 CET
  • Exporter panel: Changing supply dynamics in the Middle East – new developments in Bahrain, Oman, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
  • What policy changes are taking place to drive the industry forward?
  • What do Saudi Arabia’s growing imports of bitumen mean for the Middle Eastern market?
  • How much production do we see in Iraq and what are its exporting opportunities?
  • How are Iranian sanctions opening new supply opportunities for other key regions?
  • 09:30 CET
  • -
  • 10:30 CET
  • New opportunities for arbitrage between Asia, Europe and the Middle East
  • Where are we seeing new arbitrage opportunities?
  • How can the industry benefit from changing export prices?
  • Asia, Europe and the Middle East: What prices are we seeing and at what tonnage?
  • Will new arbitrage opportunities open up across the Atlantic?

The global refining picture

Start End
  • 10:30 CET
  • -
  • 11:30 CET
  • Global stakeholder panel: Exploring the global refining landscape – how has reduced capacity impacted the global bitumen market?

A full view of the global refining landscape and insight into current market conditions. Take a global view on refining closures, the impact of restricted supply on the bitumen landscape and how refineries are shifting their operations

  • How can security of supply be maintained in a volatile marketplace?
  • How much supply can we expect in the market in the next five years?
  • At what level are refineries operating and how is this impacting bitumen supply?
  • How are companies becoming more flexible to produce more products and grades?
  • Is quality being jeopardised by changes in the refining system?
  • Which refineries are re-designing operations and moving towards ‘greener’ products?

Delving into the European and African refining markets

Start End
  • 12:00 CET
  • -
  • 12:40 CET
  • A refiner’s perspective: Enabling a consistent supply of bitumen and creating a reliable output strategy across Europe and Africa
  • Reviewing our bitumen output plan over the next 2-5 years
  • Responding to the evolution of the market through bitumen grade flexibility
  • Adopting a flexible approach to bitumen quality and changing grades, dependent on demand

New export / import opportunities and emerging trade flows

Start End
  • 14:00 CET
  • -
  • 14:40 CET
  • Regional spotlight panel: What is the potential for South Africa to become a significant importer of bitumen over the next 2-5 years?

Due to refinery changes in South Africa, the bitumen landscape is shifting, and supply chains will evolve quite substantially. Attend this session to understand to what extent South Africa will become a major importer of bitumen, in the near future, to meet its domestic demand

  • To what extent will South Africa evolve as an importer of bitumen?
  • How is South Africa’s role evolving in the bitumen market considering refinery changes?
  • Where will we see potential sources of supply in the future, including the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Singapore?
  • What infrastructure will be needed to aid the growth in imports?

  • 14:40 CET
  • -
  • 15:30 CET
  • How will the Mediterranean’s role as an exporter to global markets evolve in the coming years?
  • To what extent will the Mediterranean have the capacity to meet global bitumen demand?
  • Will bitumen be transported from the Mediterranean to longer haul destinations?
  • How much bitumen is heading to north and west Africa?
  • How are changes in the supply market impacting global trade flows?
  • Will the trend continue and intensify to new markets including Asia Pacific, US and the Gulf – is there more scope for more supply?
  • 15:30 CET
  • -
  • 16:00 CET
  • Spotlight on Russia: What role will the Russian market play in bitumen supply?
  • Russia as a major supplier of bitumen — grades and cost benefits
  • Understanding current trade flows and new opportunities for sourcing
  • Where is the infrastructure for Russia to support the road construction market?

IMO briefing

Start End
  • 16:30 CET
  • -
  • 17:00 CET
  • Quick-fire Q&A: US, Africa and Europe IMO briefing – where we left off
Join Argus experts as they navigate your most pressing questions surrounding IMO. Gain a better understanding on how IMO may or may not have an impact on bitumen post-Covid. Hear expert opinions on; How has Covid impacted European refining and production of HSFO and bitumen in the wake of IMO? How has Covid changed the landscape that was supposed to be shaped by IMO? And, what will happen now in the coming years post-Covid?

You can submit your own questions in advance

The Americas refining landscape, crude slates and asphalt production

Start End
  • 17:10 CET
  • -
  • 18:00 CET
  • Economist insights: Global economies and the impact on road developments
  • How has the crisis jeopardised the global road industry?
  • Which markets are more at risk from changing crude supply and reduced product output?
  • How are Europe, Africa and the US recovering and how will funding the road industry help?
  • How are different markets tackling economic risk and what drivers are creating stability?
  • 18:00 CET
  • -
  • 19:00 CET
  • Keynote stakeholder panel: Examining the North American refining landscape

Hear leading executives across North America explore the bitumen supply outlook

  • Where have we seen shutdowns and reduced capacity across Canada and the US?
  • Where have we seen gaps in asphalt supply on the east Coast?
  • With residue becoming tight, what does this mean for the asphalt market?
  • The movement to cleaner transportation fuels and demand – how far will it go?

  • 19:30 CET
  • -
  • 20:10 CET
  • Open discussion: How is Brazil opening up as a new business centre for bitumen?
  • Snapshot of the changing refining scene
  • What future strategies do we see for supplying the Brazilian market?
  • How will companies be positioned, and what new trade flows will emerge?
  • 20:10 CET
  • -
  • 21:00 CET
  • Refinery optimisation, economic considerations and factors for varying crude slates
  • What changes to crude slates have we seen and how is this impacting refinery products?
  • How does a refinery weigh up sweet and sour crude?
  • What compatibility problems can occur, including quality and viscosity?
  • How is the lack of heavy crude in Venezuela, Mexico and Canada impacting asphalt and product quality?
  • 21:00 CET
  • -
  • 21:40 CET
  • Technical case study: Working with a new product — Improving asphalt compatibility and expanding grades
  • How is the current bitumen product causing separation and storage problems?
  • Making polymers more compatible with bitumen
  • Remodelling modifiers to expand grades and overcome durability concerns

Arbitrage opportunities and evolving trade flows

Start End
  • 22:10 CET
  • -
  • 23:10 CET
  • Cross-regional panel: How are refinery shutdowns opening new global trade flows and arbitrage opportunities?

Hear from sell-side and buy-side executives on changing trade flows between the US and Latin America, and views on Australasia, Africa and the Middle East

  • Which players on the Gulf Coast will emerge as main exporters?
  • Where do we see import demand and what is the economic outlook?
  • What logistical hurdles must be overcome for a cost-efficient and reliable supply chain?

Examining changes in the African bitumen market

Start End
  • 09:30 CET
  • -
  • 10:00 CET
  • An overview of the sub-Saharan African bitumen market

Construction spotlight: Identifying demand drivers and new projects across Africa and Europe

Start End
  • 10:00 CET
  • -
  • 10:40 CET
  • African road authority panel: Road building, rehabilitation and maintenance projects – progress and implementation over the next 2-5 years
  • Assessing government strategies for the road construction industry
  • Where do we see upcoming road projects in the future and those for tender?
  • What are the priorities for road authorities in creating longer-lasting roads?
  • How will governments introduce sustainable goals and a framework for a circular economy?
  • Changes in specifications and investment in additives and polymer-modified bitumen
  • 10:40 CET
  • -
  • 11:30 CET
  • Construction panel: Identifying the key challenges surrounding lack of supply and securing contracts for future road developments
  • What practical and logistical challenges do African contractors face?
  • How do different bitumen grades meet different requirements?
  • Where do we see growing demand for bitumen in the mid-term?
  • How are companies adapting their supply chains and strategies to a changing world?
  • 11:50 CET
  • -
  • 12:30 CET
  • European road authority panel: What will budgets look like in the next five years?
  • Will governments rewrite budgets to increase spending?
  • Where will we see new road projects in the coming years?
  • New roads and maintenance — How will budgets be split in European countries?
  • Could the cost of road maintenance be cut?
  • 12:30 CET
  • -
  • 13:20 CET
  • Construction panel: Diversifying sources and adapting buying behaviour to meet demand
  • What emerging drivers are forcing companies to switch sourcing strategies?
  • How has the road construction industry tackled low supply?
  • What parameters are you looking for when sourcing new supply?
  • How will you tackle logistics — what considerations are important regarding shipping?

Pricing in Africa and Europe

Start End
  • 13:40 CET
  • -
  • 14:10 CET
  • Pricing mechanisms and the relationship between and bitumen and HSFO
  • Assessing bitumen prices in Africa and Europe and drivers for different fundamentals
  • How have pricing assessments linked to high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) played out in Europe?
  • Where do we see the market going now – will it shift back to HSFO?
  • Will IMO be delayed and will HSFO remain the marker for bitumen pricing?
  • A closer look at Baltic fob and Mediterranean pricing

Financing road projects

Start End
  • 14:10 CET
  • -
  • 14:50 CET
  • Financing panel: Reducing financial risk and identifying available financing options for road projects across Africa
  • How has the economic situation impacted government and private funding?
  • Obstacles to financing road infrastructure in the time of Covid-19
  • What funding is available across the continent to create economic prosperity?
  • How are funds put together and what opportunities are there with public-private partnerships?
  • What does the Chinese framework for funding look like and what are the developments?

Creating an infrastructure that supports bitumen travelling further

Start End
  • 15:10 CET
  • -
  • 16:10 CET
  • Africa and Europe infrastructure panel: Bitumen is travelling further – what infrastructure is required to support new trade flows and how much new investment is needed?

Hear from experts across the supply chain as they explore the current storage landscape and what investment is needed to service changing trade flows. A look at regional logistical hubs and whether South Africa is ready to reposition itself as an importer.

  • How are changing trade flows creating a greater need for storage and distribution hubs?
  • Storage opportunities in Europe, including the role of ports
  • What are the options for cost-effective storage?
  • How well positioned is Africa’s storage and logistics infrastructure to import more bitumen?
  • How can companies be efficient in switching between drums and bulk storage?

Interactive roundtables

Start End
  • 16:10 CET
  • -
  • 17:10 CET
  • Interactive roundtables

Interactive roundtables: Join a dedicated group of 12-14 executives and navigate your way around your number-one challenge with like-minded peers. We encourage you to keep cameras on for maximum interaction!

Roundtable 1:  South Africa becoming an importer of bitumen

Roundtable 2: The changing global shipping landscape

Roundtable 3: Developments in additives to improve road performance

Roundtable 4: How can we become carbon-neutral?

Roundtable 5: Investing in storage for security of supply

Roundtable 6: Refinery optimisation and economics

Roundtable 7: Where will the next big exporters of bitumen be?

Global shipping trends

Start End
  • 17:10 CET
  • -
  • 18:10 CET
  • Global shipping panel: Navigating the new shipping landscape and freight rates
  • How is shipping changing as the market becomes more global?
  • How is shipping adapting to a shifting supply chain?
  • How are freight rates changing in response to new trade flows and economics?
  • Shipping’s weight in the overall cost structure and set against refining economics
  • What new import and export opportunities are there with the North American market?


Start End
  • 18:20 CET
  • -
  • 18:50 CET
  • Pricing insights: Price volatility across North America
  • What have pricing levels looked like since the market became more volatile?
  • Asphalt pricing in relation to refinery crackers
  • Maximising profitability with asphalt and assessing light-to-heavy differentials

Construction developments and funding in the US

Start End
  • 18:50 CET
  • -
  • 19:50 CET
  • Financing panel: Long-term funding – how much room will there be for road development in the next five years in federal and state funds?
  • How will road programmes be funded in 2021-25?
  • What changes to state funding do we see in 2021-25?
  • What are the main budget challenges, including government tax hikes?
  • How are state road authorities allocating funds and which projects will be commissioned?
  • Where will the money go — bridges, highways and maintenance projects?
  • 20:30 CET
  • -
  • 21:30 CET
  • Construction end-user panel: Innovations and upcoming projects for new and improved roads
  • Awarding funding for a major road development
  • What specifications are we working to, and how are we meeting new requirements?
  • Exploring innovations and technical advances in testing and inspection
  • 21:30 CET
  • -
  • 22:30 CET
  • Case study: Adapting to a harder asphalt to meet contractors’ requirements
  • What new requirements are we seeing from the road and roofing industry?
  • Working with softer bitumen – what investments are needed to remain flexible?
  • Addressing new specifications and adapting by expanding grades

Funding across Asia and construction projects on the horizon

Start End
  • 02:00 CET
  • -
  • 02:50 CET
  • Government and road authority panel: Financing future road projects – where is the funding going in an industry coping in with Covid?
  • How much funding are we seeing diverted as aid during the pandemic?
  • Views on implementing new projects to boost the economy and provide jobs
  • How is funding split between building new rural roads and highways and maintenance
  • What is the role of the road industry in stabilising the economy and what incentives are there?
  • 02:50 CET
  • -
  • 03:50 CET
  • A buyer’s perspective: A roadmap of new networks and maintenance projects

Join leaders from China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand as they explore new projects on the horizon and how to overcome new sourcing and technical challenges.

  • What sourcing challenges are you seeing and how are you adapting your supply chains?
  • New road networks and maintenance projects
  • What are the potential future obstacles to demand?
  • How are you working with governments to secure contracts and funding?

Creating infrastructure for the movement of bitumen

Start End
  • 04:20 CET
  • -
  • 05:20 CET
  • Trader and shipping panel: Creating a new forward-looking strategy
  • How are distributors optimising vessel capacity to suit their destination markets?
  • Do we see the size of vessels continuing to increase this year on more global trade?
  • Will the shipping landscape be short or long across the continent and globally?
  • How are companies remaining competitive and overcoming key logistical challenges?
  • 05:20 CET
  • -
  • 06:10 CET
  • Infrastructure panel: Creating bitumen hubs across Asia to serve a more integrated market
  • Exploring current storage and infrastructure
  • How is the need for larger cargo sizes impacting the supply chain and logistics?
  • How much more storage is required?
  • Where do we see storage being built across Asia, including Indonesia?

Tech corner

Start End
  • 06:40 CET
  • -
  • 07:40 CET
  • Tech corner
Tech corner: Quick-fire 10-15 minute presentations on key technical solutions

Presentation 1:
How to scale-up capabilities from lab to plant

Presentation 2:
Cost-effective technologies to improve bitumen quality and meet new performance criteria

Presentation 3:
Digital innovations for measuring and reporting at construction sites

Presentation 4:
Increasing the percentage of RAP and overcoming technical hurdles


Start End
  • 09:20 CET
  • -
  • 10:00 CET
  • Digitalisation within the road network: Digital solutions to manage and maintain roads and create a safer environment
  • Investing in digital technologies to aid construction projects
  • What demands are there from contractors to improve the safety of operations?
  • Receiving information in real time, including weather data

Sustainable construction and carbon neutral targets

Start End
  • 10:00 CET
  • -
  • 11:00 CET
  • Construction panel: The road to a low-carbon industry — A 10-year outlook on key methods and strategies to meet targets

Learn how construction companies are reducing CO2 by investing in PMBs, reducing temperature and by increasing the percentage of recycled asphalt. Hear how they measure carbon and report in a more transparent way.

  • What techniques have been used to reduce carbon, and what has been successful?
  • What methods are there to decrease temperature during production?
  • How can the asphalt be improved for recycling hot mixes?
  • How are companies overcoming the technical challenges of scaling up?

  • 11:30 CET
  • -
  • 12:10 CET
  • Case study: Reduce, recycle and reuse – Building a sustainable strategy from bitumen supplier to end-user
  • Creating 100pc recyclable asphalt to help meet carbon targets
  • Evaluating life-cycle inventory ratings — how does it work and what is measured?
  • Working with suppliers using bioproducts across their life-cycle to reduce emissions
  • 14:30 CET
  • -
  • 15:30 CET
  • 360° sustainability panel: Meeting carbon neutral targets by reducing CO2 and using sustainable bio-based solutions

This panel will welcome experts across the entire value chain from Europe, North America and Africa. Explore key strategies on how to create an entire sustainable supply chain — from the refineries and transport fleet to the end-user.

  • What areas of the bitumen and asphalt life-cycle can companies tackle to reduce carbon emissions?
  • How are companies monitoring plants and assessing their carbon footprint?
  • What choice of materials are refiners looking at and how are these acquired?
  • What are the benefits of using natural products, including crumb rubber, to meet sustainability goals?

  • 15:30 CET
  • -
  • 16:10 CET
  • Presentation: How to enhance the quality and performance of asphalt with a green agenda
  • The global trend towards reuse of RAP to meet sustainability targets
  • Sustainable solutions: Meeting new demands for lower emissions and reducing temperature
  • Asphalt performance enhancers that create durable roads and reduce the environmental impact

Case studies

Start End
  • 16:40 CET
  • -
  • 17:20 CET
  • Case study: How flexibility is crucial for refineries to compete in an unpredictable market
  • How investment in flexibility has created opportunities to produce more products
  • Blending products because of the lack of softer bitumen — The innovations
  • Flexibility across the supply chain and transport modes
  • 17:20 CET
  • -
  • 18:00 CET
  • Latin America case study: Asphalt specifications and quality
  • Adapting to varying specifications and parameters on viscosity and penetration grades
  • How crude imports are changing asphalt specifications, and adapting to these changes
  • What technologies need to be put in place to cut overall costs and meet requirements?

The North American GHG emissions picture

Start End
  • 19:40 CET
  • -
  • 20:40 CET
  • Government and state panel: Moving towards a more sustainable future and greater road longevity
  • What are the main political and economic drivers behind new performance requirements?
  • What new innovations are we seeing to enhance performance properties?
  • What are the cost benefits surrounding new government targets?
  • Which environmentally friendly binders and additives are making roads more durable?
  • 20:40 CET
  • -
  • 21:20 CET
  • Blenders and construction panel: Increasing the percentage of reclaimed asphalt in asphalt warm mixtures
  • What methods are there to increase the use of RAP in warm mixtures to reduce CO2?
  • What technologies are available to help with reuse of asphalt?
  • How can we improve our ability to meet specification with ageing criteria?
  • How is the use of additives and polymers helping meet new specifications?
  • 21:20 CET
  • -
  • 21:50 CET
  • Advanced performance testing and mix design to meet government requirements
  • Monitoring and testing to meet changing specifications
  • Assessing new techniques to understand whether asphalt grades are sustainable
  • What are the key challenges to scaling up and how can these be resolved?

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