Marine lubricant choices to address IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap must be based on verifiable cylinder oil performance data and engine testing to cover all operating conditions, argued the new General Manager of Shell Marine, Joris Van Brussel.
According to Mr. Van Brussel, mainstream shipowners over the recent months have shown a shift towards exhaust gas cleaning systems to meet the 2020 marine fuel sulphur cap. These operators will continue using high sulphur heavy fuel oil with two stroke engines, and demand lubes that are proven to protect cylinders against cold corrosion under extreme stress, he noted.
However, with just over a year to go before the new restrictions enter into force, a significant part of the market will shift to fuels with less than 0.5% sulphur, where other cylinder oil formulations with a lower BN number is expected to deliver optimum performance. The two-stroke product portfolio for 2020 is largely in place, but we expect that there will be a requirement for significant volumes of higher BN cylinder oils to be replaced by BN40 or BN70 grades.
Mr. Van Brussel also said that, with engine makers still developing technology aggressively, and the fuels market mix evolving, sulphur emission-free LNG is also securing a position as a marine fuel requiring widespread distribution.
Shell continuously uses test engines installed at the unique Marine & Power Innovation Centre (MPIC) in Hamburg, with the latest work focusing on the final tests of a new 40BN cylinder oil for two stroke engines that is expected to be available in the market in the early part of 2019.
Earlier this year, maritime contractor Van Oord signed a five-year agreement with Shell Marine covering the lubrication needs for its entire fleet of vessels, based on the MILES offer. The agreement included arrangements to take advantage of Shell Marine’s LubeMonitor 4T programme to help manage oil consumption.
Our tests and customer feedback show that reductions in feed rates can be achieved with an overall cost reduction to customers. In another case, customer had seen the use of our Shell LubeMonitor was able to cut their cylinder oil costs by 25% whilst still complying with the engine maker’s recommendations,
…added Mr. Van Brussel.