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Getting ready for 2020

Manufacturers offer range of lubricants to prepare for 0.50% sulphur limit

Marine lubricant choices to address IMO’s restrictions on the fuels used by ships from 2020 must be based on verifiable cylinder oil performance data and engine testing to cover all operating conditions, according to the new General Manager of Shell Marine, Joris Van Brussel.

“Recent months have seen some movement by mainstream shipowners towards exhaust gas scrubbing to meet the 2020 marine fuel sulphur cap,” said Van Brussel recently. “These customers will continue using high sulphur heavy fuel oils with two stroke engines, and demand lubes that are proven to protect cylinders against cold corrosion under extreme stress, such as Shell Alexia S6 or the higher BN Shell Alexia 140.


“However,” he noted, “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 0.50% sulphur, where other cylinder oil formulations with a lower BN number is expected to deliver optimum performance.”

He added that the two-stroke product portfolio for 2020 was largely in place, but Shell realised that there would be a requirement for significant volumes of higher BN cylinder oils to be replaced by BN40 or BN70 grades.


Shell continuously uses test engines installed at the unique Marine & Power Innovation Centre (MPIC) in Hamburg, “putting promising formulations through their paces in the most extreme conditions oils can face before field trials and OEM validation tests”.


Latest work at MPIC is focusing on the final tests of a new 40BN cylinder oil for two stroke engines that is already undergoing field trials and is expected to be available in the market in the early part of 2019.

“Today, the work we do at MPIC has to be part of that multi-faceted strategy for customers that has developed into MILES, where we address the most pressing operational concerns customers have,” continued Van Brussel.

Meanwhile Chevron Marine Lubricants has developed a brand-new range of cylinder lubricants compatible with virtually all the 2020 compliance options.


A recent Chevron statement emphasised that a diversified marine fuel mix demands tailoring lubricant selection to fuel sulphur content to ensure compatibility with fuels bunkered across a fleet.


The company said that its new Taro Ultra range of lubricants delivers the same high performance and protection expected from Chevron’s Taro engine lubricants, with the added benefit of being compatible with almost all engines, marine bunker fuels and abatement technologies.


Chevron said: “The full range of Taro Ultra products cover the needs of the vast majority of vessel owners, from Taro Ultra 25 which is compatible with low sulphur fuel, distillates and many alternative fuels, to Taro Ultra 140 which is ideal for applications using high sulphur bunker fuels that require scrubber emission abatement technology.”


“We are performing a rigorous and extensive program of field testing with leading OEMs, demonstrating the strong performance of our lubricant offering. In addition to our trusted supply network, we are delivering the reassurance and supply security our customers need during the transition,” said Luc Verbeeke, Senior Product Development Engineer at Chevron Marine Lubricants.

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