The following article is part of event coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2020; where Manifold Times is an official media partner:
International fuel additive company Infineum is still encountering situations where stakeholders of off-spec bunker fuels have been found trying to save their product by using additives in a last minute attempt, according to its Global Fuels Key Accounts Manager.
“Our belief is that fuel suppliers should be providing fuels that not only meet all of the latest required specifications (ISO 8217:2017) but are also fit for purpose for the time that they will be in service and the application for which they are being used,” Steve Benwell told Manifold Times.
“We still see circumstances where a product is ‘off-spec’ and the holder of the fuel is then trying to move it back ‘on-spec’ through the use of appropriate additive technology. In these cases, the ability of additives to ‘save’ the fuel depends on the nature of the problem and its severity.”
According to Benwell, the most common issue seen with Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oils (VLSFOs), a product mainly used by shipowners to meet IMO 2020 compliance, is in sedimentation performance.
“We have also seen many cases where the fuels sedimentation performance is not steady over time, and generally it only ever goes up! VLSFO fuels are typically more paraffinic than the high sulphur counterparts but there is still a desire to get much heavy aromatic material into the fuel since these have high energy density and are cheaper,” he explains.
“This means that many VLSFOs have a higher tendency to destabilise over time as is evident by the higher incidence of sedimentation performance in the industry that is not compliant with ISO 8217.
“This deterioration in sediment performance can occur when fuels are being stored at relatively moderate temperatures (e.g. 50°C) and is not necessarily exposed by the 24-hour aging at 100°C employed in the Total Sediment Potential (TSP) test.
“Addressing this situation through the appropriate additive application can not only protect the fuel holder but also ensure a better experience for their customers further downstream.”
The below list of characteristics and scenarios where the application of additives may, or may not, have an effect on ‘saving’ off-spec VLSFOs has been shared by Benwell:
Cold flow characteristics in 0.5% bunker fuels
“The industry is still coming to terms with the new lower sulphur fuels, especially the wide variety of VLSFO options available where even for perfectly fit for purpose fuels, compatibility between some VLSFOs can be an issue and complete segregation on board may be difficult to achieve,” states Benwell.
“Recently, this has been even further complicated by the Covid-19 Pandemic and its impact on the balance that the refining industry has to strike between crude usage and finished products production.
“However, eventually, we expect the industry to address the issues associated with these new fuels through appropriate specification changes and we expect the ship operators to demand the level of fuel quality required for them to operate their ships without fear of equipment damage or operational difficulties.”
A series of SIBCON 2020 related articles have been earlier written by Manifold Times:
Related: SIBCON 2020: VPS proposes mandate of latest bunker fuel quality standards for Singapore market
Related: SIBCON 2020: Equatorial Marine Fuels provides view on local and global bunker markets post Covid-19
Related: SIBCON 2020: BIMCO Chief Shipping Analyst explains new business dynamics in bunker fuels sector
Related: Chairman of Technical Committee for Bunkering explains SS 660, TR 80; and cast an eye to the future
Related: SIBCON 2020: TR 48 reaps annual savings of at least SGD 80 million for bunkering sector
Related: SIBCON 2020: Singapore introduces new MFM bunkering standards SS 660 and TR 80
Related: SIBCON 2020: Powering Fuels of the Future, Driving towards Decarbonisation
Related: SIBCON 2020: Senior Minister highlights ‘quality resilience and sustainability’ for bunkering sector
Related: Infineum explains: ISO 8217:2017 should be viewed as a ‘minimum performance benchmark’ for VLSFOs
Related: Interview: Hafnia shares IMO 2020 preparations, promotes transparency for bunkering operations
Related: VPS: Shipowners face ‘tricky situation’ to balance VLSFO shelf life and wax appearance temperature
Related: VPS: Big data analysis reveals link between Covid-19 and spike in low flashpoint MGO off-spec cases
Related: Interview: Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions discusses sector growth, IMO 2020, and future plans
Related: SIBCON 2020: Evolution to a ‘completely different’ bunkering industry event, says organiser
Related: Singapore: SIBCON 2020 bunkering event to be hosted virtually
Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 8 October, 2020
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