green and tech interviews

Best fleet efficiency with MILES programme / INTERVIEW

Luboil & Shipping Industry: challenges on ships emissions, rules and products. Our interview with Shell Marine Executive Director

Hamburg - Will the forthcoming IMO regulation on fuel and emissions impact also on the lubricant sector? Does the current regulation on lube oils forecast some measures about environment protection?
“Evolving regulation on ship emissions will cap sulphur content in marine fuels at 0.5% from 2020, in addition to the 0.1% limit already set for ECAs (Emissions Control Areas) - says Shell Marine Executive Director, Jan Toschka -. These developments have had, and continue to have a major impact on cylinder oil selection and development. Lower sulphur content fuels used in twostroke engines work best with cylinder oils featuring lower base numbers (BN), for example; conversely, when high sulphur fuels are used when slow steaming outside ECAs in the newest low speed marine engines, higher BN oils are needed to protect against cold corrosion. Shell Marine offers a suite of cylinder oils to meet all possible engine and fuel specifications, even under the most extreme operating conditions. Shell’s intensive research has proven the importance to lubricate correctly using the right products to avoid corrosion but also deposit build up so that engine performance and maintenance cost can be optimized. Shell’s two stroke cylinder oil offer consists of Alexia S3 (BN25), Alexia S4 (BN 60), Alexia 50 (BN 70), Alexia S6 (BN100) up to Shell Alexia 140 (BN 140). This range of cylinder oil enables Shell Marine to lubricate all existing engine and fuel combinations, from LNG and ULSF/Distillate using engines up to latest engine design using HSFO when slow steaming. The high performance of our products has been proven by millions of operating hours in the field and backed by No Objection Letters issued by MAN Diesel & Turbo and Wärtsilä (Winterthur Gas and Diesel).”

How many tons/how many kinds of lube oil per day are requested to operate a ship? (i.e. a 10,000 teu containership, or a 100,000 gt cruiseship, or a 2.000 pax ferry... the most common ships we usually see here in Italy...).

“Different ships have different engine types and engine sizes. For instance, a fast sailing catamaran ferry with a high speed four stroke engine shows different consumption patterns than a cruise ship using LNG or a container ship with low speed two stroke engine using high sulphur fuel. Therefore, we see very different consumption rates of these different vessel types. As an example, a large oceangoing container vessel might consume around 500 litre of cylinder oil per day whilst a small ferry probably consumes only 10% of this amount.”

Talking about the long period, which are the challenges for the technologies linked to the lubricants sector?
“We are closely collaborating with the engine manufactures as well as various industry forums. We expect that future environmental regulations in combination with ongoing focus on fuel efficiency (driving engine designs and operating profiles) will present more challenges for the lubrication of the vessel. More critical engine design, a much greater range of different fuel sulphur levels (also higher than today’s level when more scrubbers will come to the market) and more environmental restrictions are likely to make the (lubrication) job for crews more complex. Therefore, Shell will continue to develop the right range of different cylinder oils and the userfriendly tools and services to monitor the engine performance quickly and reliably so that the vessel crew gets maximum support for making the right lubrication decisions. Exhaustive laboratory testing in 2015 at the Shell Marine & Power Innovation Centre in Hamburg and extensive shipboard trials though 2016 have led on to the offering of Shell Alexia 140, an ultrahigh BN oil with a BN of 140, for use on its own or as part of an onboard lubricant blending or mixing system. Shell Alexia 140 was the first cylinder oil trialed by MAN Diesel and Turbo (MDT) for its ‘ACOM’ (Automated Cylinder Oil Mixing) pilot scheme to establish best practice in matching lubricant BN to fuel sulphur content whilst minimizing lubricant feed rates. Shell Marine also recently unveiled its next generation Shell Argina and Shell Gadinia trunk piston oils for the medium speed engine market. These oils have been developed to address the pressure on owners to shift towards cleaner fuels that address emissions regulations. Both avoid sludge formation, improve piston and crankcase cleanliness, and thus block deposit formation. Both oil types offer improved detergency and feature excellent BN retention and viscosity control to address the faster oxidation that leads to deposit formation or lubricant contamination, without resorting to unnecessary oil sweetening. With a complete set of nonengine approvals, Shell Gadinia S3 can be used in multiple applications, including stern tubes and gearboxes. This versatility can help to simplify operations, thereby reducing the number of different lubricants that need to be ordered, stored and applied.”

Is Shell currently developing some projects in Italy about this sector? (i.e. new Services or agreements with shipowners, other companies or institutions...)
“Within Shell Marine’s global network and firm guidelines covering the excellence of our products, technical services and logistics operations, we like to offer our regional teams an element of flexibility when it comes to relationshipbuilding with customers. Exemplary has been a recent initiative by the Shell team in Italy to bring together customers from different sectors to understand the full capabilities of our new Argina and Gadinia medium speed engine cylinder oils. The team brought together Shell Marine and Shell Lubricants B2B Italy representatives with customers from both the power plant and marine segments for a presentation onboard a vessel owned by Shell Marine customer Grandi Navi Veloci, moored in Genoa. The event also played host to one of our leading OEM partners – Wärtsilä, and focused on the primary challenges facing fourstroke engines onshore and offshore, exploring common solutions and distinctions between the two applications.”

Are lubricants important in saving shipping operating costs?
“Lubricants are critical to the safety and efficiency of shipboard equipment, and therefore play a pivotal role in ensuring that ships operate in the most costefficient way. In a market of ship oversupply and very low freight and charter rates, vessel owners need assurance that their ships are operating safely, comply with increasingly complex environmental regulations, that efficiency is maximized and that operating costs are minimized. Shell Marine recently introduced a multifaceted strategy to address product selection, purchasing options and service requirements in an integrated way. The Marine Integrated Lubrication and Expert Solutions (MILES) programme is unique in lubricants management. Part of the MILES strategy is to offer a complete lubrication management service by combining stock levels, demand planning and supply costs. To maximise scale and benefits of MILES, Shell Marine is working with external experts to develop digital solutions utilising greater connectivity, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. This will allow Shell Marine to offer a wide range of new services, from building recommendations about optimal volume/port lifting to creating ways to reduce purchasing costs by overseeing the entire lubrication management for the vessel. Additionally, Shell Marine will be offering different payment solutions which help ship owners optimise their working capital and budgeting. Shell Marine continuously reviews and optimises its supply chain arrangements to ensure security of supply through its network of more than 700 port locations in 59 countries.”

New technologies mean new skills on board: does Shell contributes in some way to enhance know how of seafarers, officials, dockworkers, shipyard workers and related cadets/apprentices?
“We continuously seek to support the development of seafarers. This is a critical topic for Shell Marine, demanding a strategic approach that includes structured technical services offering and cooperation with the leading training institutes in the maritime industry. Earlier this year, for example, Shell Marine renewed its technical partnership with the University of Cebu Maritime Education and Training Center (UC METC), in a relationship that allows us to impart latest technical knowledge from our years of research. Shell Marine provides expertise in lubrication technology to the students and lecturers of the UC METC. Its technical team offers training and knowledge modules through workshops and seminars to help prepare seafarers to tackle the technical challenges we see in today’s maritime sector. As part of this relationship, Shell Marine is also providing its Rapid Lubrication Analysis (RLA) Onboard Plus Test Kit (Cold Corrosion Test Kit) to UC METC. When it comes to those working at sea, Shell has understood the increasing need to support crews with reliable and userfriendly tools and services to help making the right lubrication decisions and to reduce operational costs whilst ensuring good engine performance. Shell Marine offers technical services programme which include: Shell LubeMonitor (cylinder condition monitoring and expert advice for twostroke marine engines); Shell Rapid Lubricants Analysis (used oil and equipment monitoring); Shell LubeAdvisor (general technical support and product recommendations) ; and Shell LubeCoach (training and upskilling service) ; Shell LubeExpert (Specialist consulting, troubleshooting and research and development). We have seen increasing number of customers who are using our services and reap the benefits. For instance, the number of RLA samples has gone up from 173,000 to more than 200,000 over the last 5 years.”