What is Bitumen

Bitumen is an oil based substance. It is a semi-solid hydrocarbon product produced by removing the lighter fractions from heavy crude oil during the refining process. As such, it is correctly known as refined bitumen.  In North America, bitumen is commonly known as “asphalt cement” or “asphalt”. While elsewhere, “asphalt” is the term used for a mixture of small stones, sand, filler and bitumen, which is used as a road paving material. The asphalt mixture contains approximately 5% bitumen. At ambient temperatures bitumen is a stable, semi-solid substance


Bitumen is a black or dark-colored (solid, semi-solid, viscous), amorphous, cementitious material that can be found in different forms, such us rock asphalt, natural bitumen, tar and bitumen derived from oil, which is referred to as petroleum bitumen.

Currently most of the roads globally are paved with bitumen. Today the world’s demand for bitumen accounts for more than 100 million tons per year which is approximately 700 million barrels of bitumen consumed annually.

Petroleum bitumen is typically referred to as bitumen or asphalt. In Europe for instance bitumen means the liquid binder. In North America, on the other hand the liquid binder is referred to as asphalt, or asphalt cement.