Although large natural reservoirs of bitumen exist in many parts of the world, most of the bitumen produced in the world is derived from crude oil. Natural bitumen extraction is more complicated than refining bitumen, therefore it will cost the producers more. It is also interesting to know that natural bitumen contains up to 5% sulfur, heavy metals, and other impurities that must be refined.
For processing vacuum bottom and producing bitumen, we transfer it to another refinery. There, we use various methods of processing VB, including blowing, blending, mixing vacuum bottom with water or solvents, and modifying it with polymers, so that we can provide the bitumen market with various types and grades of bitumen.
The process of separating bitumen from crude oil begins in the atmospheric distillation column, followed by a heating process in which the crude oil evaporates. The vapor flies cools and becomes liquid again. Distillation trays in the column will enhance the process of liquid separation according to the molecular weight. The heaviest part of the oil that remains at the bottom of the distillation column, is called Vacuum Bottom, and form the raw material for producing refined bitumen. Properties and quality of bitumen depend mainly on the crude oil used in its manufacturing process.