The bitumen industry in Europe
The bitumen industry plays an important role in Europe’s economy. The members of Eurobitume are responsible for more than 80% of the European bitumen sales.
The European bitumen industry (EU 28) produces approximately 15 million tonnes each year for use in the manufacture of road materials and a wide variety of specialist building and industrial products. The majority (85–90 per cent) is used in the construction and maintenance of bituminous or asphalt roads.
Bitumen production is a specialist activity and is not carried out in all oil refineries. It requires crude oils with specific characteristics and only some crudes are suitable. Of the 1,300 (or more) types of crude oils, only approximately 10 per cent can be used to produce bitumens that meet the stringent engineering requirements of end users today. There are 115 oil refineries in Europe (EU 28) of which around 74 produce bitumen.
In 2014, the overall consumption of bitumen in Europe was at 11.3 million tonnes. This figure has been on the decrease for a while now. A major reason for this is the decline in road construction investments in the individual countries. That is why Eurobitume aims to spread information about the advantages of bitumen as a material and promotes its use.
The following chart depicts bitumen sales in the most important European countries: