A Gulf Oil Marine survey has found that ship operators are delaying ship operator preparations for the global sulphur cap in favour of more immediate commercial priorities.
The spot survey revealed that not a single operator had begun preparations for 2020. “It is a very serious challenge for customers and suppliers alike. We have sponsored and put a great deal of support into the Asian Emissions Technology Conference in Singapore on 6 November because we recognise that 2020 is not the end of emissions regulations, but actually the very beginning,” stated Gulf Oil Marine chief executive Keith Mullin. He went on to say that the conference deals with both the immediate “2020” challenges with practical information and case history from European ECA implementation experiences and addresses the future focus of emissions regulations which will likely have to deal with particulate emissions.
It is a privilege to have Professor Zimmerman providing the opening session. Professor Zimmerman will be describing the assessment of long-term studies of diesel emissions on human health. The study data indicates that the switch to 0.10%S diesel will have had a negative effect in most ECA ports and that dealing with the exhaust emission by after-treatment is the sustainable solution to protecting air that humans breathe.
When asked about the extent and the detail of preparations needed for 2020 compliance, Poul Woodall, director environment & sustainability at DFDS responded “They really don’t appreciate the magnitude of the challenge.”
Gulf Oil Marine’s technology and innovation director Don Gregory, the conference chairman, emphasised it is essential for our marine industry to work together to ensure regulations add value to society, such as protecting air quality. Mr Gregory commented “We only have one atmosphere and we all share it. Sound science and technology must drive regulations to avoid shipowners and operators being required to invest in regulations which at best, provide marginal environmental benefits.”
Mr Gregory went on to say that the survey reported 100% compliance was at the top of all Gulf Oil Marine customer’s commitments. But the vast majority of discussions indicate a “wait and see” approach to compliance. A minority of operators have stated they intend to install exhaust gas cleaning technology.
The initial assessment of the survey results indicates that there will be a need to develop new cylinder oils and modify current crankcase oils for the majority of the customer fleet. The minority of customers fitting scrubbers will continue to use current lubricant grades.
In the coming 24 months, Gulf Oil Marine will be conducting sea trials of new cylinder oils and modifying crankcase oil formulation designed for 0.50% and 0.10% sulphur fuels. Low sulphur fuels will create less acidic corrosion, therefore lowering the BN requirement to well below 40BN. However, the reduced BN will require reformulation to retain or achieve significant improvements in detergency. “The simple application of over-based metallic soaps, the tried and tested solution to heavy duty engine oil applications will be turned in its head,” stated Mr Gregory. New additives which are generally higher cost will need to be evaluated to replace the performance characteristics previously provided with the higher BN lubricants.
Gulf will also be rebalancing stock requirements for 2020, adjusting logistics to match the new demand profile, whilst assisting customers transitioning to 0.50%S fuel.
Although all lubricants suppliers face the same challenges, Gulf is working with each customer on a ship-by-ship basis to optimise the transition process. “This unique approach of treating each ship as an individual customer makes eminent sense” advised Safiul Gazi, general manager, marketing and innovation. “We are identifying the current lubricant formulations and ROB on each and every customer ship and working with our customers to transition to the new formulations avoiding costly lubricant surpluses, and avoiding the mixing of old and new lubricants.”
For more details, please come and visit us at the Asian Emissions Technology Conference on Nov 6.