What Is SPOT Test?

There are several tests to determine the quality or specifications of the bitumen. SPOT Test is one of the essential factors of the bitumen for customers since it specifies the quality of the production procedure and the petroleum.

To determine the SPOT test, first, experts take a 2g sample of the bitumen in the laboratory. They dissolve the sample in a proper solvent to make a solution. Then, they drip a small portion of the solution on filter paper.

In this stage, the paper might turn brown or a mix of brown and black. A thoroughly brown filter means the SPOT test is negative and the examined bitumen is of properly high quality. Brown paper with a black spot at the centre, on the other hand, represent the poor quality of the bitumen.

SPOT Test Positive Vs. SPOT Test Negative

A positive SPOT test indicates that the bitumen production procedure was not done professionally or the primary petroleum was poor in quality.

Poor-quality petroleum with high levels of sulfur signifies a higher burning possibility in the aeration tower. To be more specific, the oil can easily burn while heating. Unsuitable temperature or overheating can also burn the primary petroleum despite its quality.

Unlike the negative SPOT test, the positive SPOT test bitumen is not a good binder since it cannot bind the aggregates properly. Moreover, it is distinctly prone to ageing and rutting. 

Despite the disadvantages of SPOT test positive bitumen, it has become popular recently due to its cheaper price. 

Why Iraqi Bitumen is SPOT Test Positive?

Several traders know the SPOT test positive bitumen as the Iraqi bitumen. Iraqi bitumen officially entered the export market in 2016 and gradually managed to catch up with the volume of the high-quality Iranian prime bitumen. Currently, more than four refineries in Sulaimaniyah and Erbil are producing and transiting bitumen from Iranian ports to different countries.

Genuinely, it is easier for Iraqi refineries to produce SPOT test positive. The first reason is the lack of required technology to produce high-quality negative SPOT tests. Secondly, it is the type of petroleum that refineries use to produce bitumen.

Iraq petroleum is high-level sulfur and it can easily burn in the distillation process. On the other hand, the local refineries prefer to use Vacuum Residue (VR) to produce bitumen. VR is the remnant of an oil distillation tower and its bitumen will be 60/70 with a positive SPOT test.

Iraqi bitumen emits unpleasant sulfur odours in the melting process as well. This bitumen burns more than high-quality prime bitumen due to high sulfur contents.

Unlike Iraq SPOT test positive bitumen (Iraqi bitumen), negative SPOT tests such as Iran bitumen or prime bitumen, are obtained from vacuum bottom. Refineries can produce several grades of bitumen with VB by using different methods or technologies. VB based bitumen has also a negative SPOT test; therefore, it is more resistant to rutting and deforming.

You can check the SPOT test positive bitumen price here. If you have any questions, you can ask our support team.