According to figures from the World Bank1, the African continent only has 204 kms of road per 1000 sq km of land area, out of which only a quarter is paved. The world average is 944 kms per 1,000 sq kms, with over half paved. 

Fortunately, there is a big push by the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) to help improve the situation, investing $25.4 billion by 2020 into improving Africa’s transport system, with ambitions to grow the current road network from 10,000 kms, to up to 100,000 kms.2 Today, there are numerous major road projects being undertaken in the continent: a paved trunk road connecting Cairo, Egypt and Cape Town, South Africa; the Trans-Sahara Highway from Algiers, Algeria to Lagos, Nigeria. 

“We are delighted that road building is a key priority here in Africa. Road authorities here have important decisions to make. Using a conventional grade of bitumen can reap some cost savings in the short term, while taking a more long term view and selecting a premium bitumen like penetration grade 10/20, will save authorities millions of dollars in the long run in building materials, transportation of these materials to the construction site, and time.

This is due to a thinner pavement design - up to 30% less asphalt than traditional designs, as well as extended pavement life,” said Thomas Moons, General Manager of Shell Bitumen Europe & Africa (EUAF), who recently spoke at the Argus Africa Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

Shell Bitumen recently introduced its penetration grade 10/20 bitumen to its South African customers, which is available for direct pick-up at the SAPREF refinery. Shell also holds some 10/20 bitumen inventory in other locations in South Africa. Shell has continually invested in its supply chain in the EUAF region, enabling it to effectively serve South African customers.

Shell Bitumen also provides its EUAF customers with expert technical support for their individual project needs out of its Regional Technical Centre in Strasbourg, France.

1”The Burden of Maintenance: Roads in Sub-Saharan Africa”, World Bank, 2008

2“PIDA Executive Summary”, The Infrastructure Consortium of Africa, 2012

Notes to Editors

  • Shell is the world’s largest bitumen marketer, and delivers enough bitumen to pave a one-lane kilometre road every four minutes.
  • Shell supplies a wide range of high quality bitumen products, from standard-grade bitumen to special polymer-modified bitumen (PMB), which are marketed under the brand name Shell Cariphalte. Shell Cariphalte has been used in a number of iconic projects for applications such as highways, urban roads and porous asphalts for urban drainage systems. It is ideal for use in heavily trafficked locations such as airfields, racetracks and bus lanes. It can be particularly beneficial in heavy duty applications such as rail, ports, bridge decks, crack relief systems or overlaying concrete pavements and expansion joints.
  • Shell is a leader in bitumen technology, and recently published the “Shell Bitumen Handbook, Sixth Edition”, which covers the latest topics in bitumen technology and application.
  • Shell Bitumen also offers its customers fixed price risk management services, giving contractors greater price stability, enabling them to plan project budgets more accurately.
  • Shell Bitumen’s solutions have been used in many of the region’s key infrastructure projects, such as the UK’s A14, M25, M6, M1 motorway; the A2 and A20 in Germany; and the A54 in France. Shell has also supplied its special heavy duty bitumen grades in Europe’s busiest airports, like Heathrow, Schiphol, Frankfurt, Charles de Gaulle, Gatwick, etc.
  • Shell Bitumen’s solutions have also been used on a number of Formula One racetracks: Sepang (Malaysia), Sakhir (Bahrain), Marina Bay Street Circuit (Singapore), Hockenheim (Germany) and Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi).
  • Shell Cariphalte has a proven track record and is differentiated by Shell’s capability in technical expertise and a track record of over 40 years in PMBs.
  • In 1967, Shell developed the first synthetic binder. Today, Shell markets a synthetic clear binder called Shell Mexphalte C, which allows for long-lasting coloured pavements such as: light-coloured pavement in tunnels for better visibility, demarcation for bicycle and bus lanes; and cost-effective aesthetic solutions for landscape and architectural applications, etc.
  • Shell Bitumen offers a number of low temperature bitumens across a wide range of products under the brand Shell Bitumen LT and Shell Bitumen S Grades.
  • Shell Bitumen operates a network of Regional Technical Centres located in key regions (Beijing, China, Strasbourg, France, and Bangkok, Thailand.) Shell has also established its global bitumen R&D Centre in Bangalore, India.


Shell Bitumen Global:

Oliver Lim: + 65 6477 7499

Royal Dutch Shell plc

Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges.  Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. For further information, visit

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Readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Shell's 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2014 (available at and These factors also should be considered by the reader. Each forward looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement, 25 February 2016.

Neither Shell nor any of its subsidiaries nor the Shell Group undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information.In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward looking statements contained in this announcement.

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