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ExxonMobil launches new lubricant for 0.1% sulphur fuel

ExxonMobil launches new lubricant for 0.1% sulphur fuel
ExxonMobil has launched a new lubricant at SMM, Mobilgard 525, designed to mitigate deposit build-up associated with low-sulphur (0.1%) fuel.

Launched ahead of the entry into force of the 0.1% sulphur limit in the North European emission control area (ECA) on 1 January 2015, Mobilgard 525 has been designed for use with ExxonMobil’s recently released HDME50 fuel, a highly-viscous fuel oil with many of the properties of HFO but 0.1% sulphur content.  The lubricant’s low alkalinity, at 25 BN (base number), ensures smooth running while causing minimum damage to the engine.

“We introduced the HDME50 fuel out of our refinery in Antwerp a few months ago, so that was the first new ECA fuel to come out – that’s a heavy distillate product, which is unusual in that it’s a hybrid – high viscosity, but clean,” Iain White, ExxonMobil Marine Fuels and Lubricants field marketing manager, told Seatrade Global.

“Existing lubricants have a high alkalinity level – if you continue to use those lubricants when you switch to 0.1% sulphur fuel, the sulphur level in the fuel is so low that you don’t need the neutralising capability that the lubricant has, so what actually happens is that the additives in the lubricant tend to deposit on the hot areas of the piston – the piston crown.

“It’s not actually the fuel itself – it would be the incorrect lubricant use that wold result in deposits and wear.

“When shipowners start operating in the ECA, they’ve got two considerations. One is a fuel consideration and the other is a lubricant consideration. So really we’re positioning ourselves as the supplier who can offer you advice and guidance on both sides," White said.

ExxonMobil is not alone in launching a lubricant for 0.1% sulphur fuel at SMM with both Shell and Total Lubmarine announcing new products.