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Live From SMM 2014
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Lukoil's iCOlube system at SMM on stand 300, hall A4

Lukoil technology simplifies engine operation and protection

Lukoil's industry-first automatic cylinder lubricant mixer has received a warm reception from the industry, with three units already in operation and a sizeable list of shipowners interested in the technology.

Matching the correct cylinder lubricant to a given fuel's sulphur content and the engine's operating profile is important to minimise carbon deposits within the engine and prevent cold corrosion, but could previously necessitate carrying multiple cylinder oils of varying base number (BN).

Lukoil introduced the world's first 100 BN lubricant in 2012, Navigo 100 MCL, with the highest neutralisation capacitiy in the industry preventing the formation of deposits from sulphuric acid during the combustion process The use of 100 BN lubes is not always necessary with lower-sulphur fuels, and so Lukoil has introduced iCOlube (Intelligent Cylinder Oil Lubrication) to automatically provide the ideal lubricant.

On the SMM show floor, Stefan Claussen, technical and marketing director at Lukoil Marine Lubricants, told Seatrade Global that the market had welcomed their latest innovation: "MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co), Hapag-Lloyd and other lines are interested in the technology, but of course they want to check it is in line with their expectations. It is a trial for them, they buy one and then decide whether to follow with a larger order. So far we have 67 inquiries, so there is strong potentials for business."

Once installed and calibrated, the crew need only input the fuel's sulphur content to the system, which then provides an ideal mix of fresh or used system oil at the optimum feed rate to maintain appropriate alkalinity for the engine load and fuel sulphur content.

"We are doing various tests with customers, including vessels running in the emissions control area (ECA) zone and that's a good opportunity to see how well it performs running with low sulphur fuels. Also we look forward to checking performance when that customer switches over to distillate fuels in the ECA. We are convinced that iCOlube can mix low BN cylinder oil that is suitable for low sulphur operation."

On top of the simplification of cylinder lubrication, iCOlube offers savings to shipowners by reducing the amount of Navigo 100 MCL needed to protect an engine by using a proportion of used system oil when appropriate.

"The biggest benefit you get of course is on big vessels. The savings are multiplied by the volume of lubricants, the more volume you have, the more savings you get," explained Claussen. "For a smaller vessel, the savings can be just about the same level as the lease contract for five years, but a lot of customers are prepared to take it on board because of the simplicity it provides for the crew. They just have the system oil and the cylinder oil on board, they don't need any extra cylinder oils and regardless of whether the ship is operating in ECA areas of global trades, you just key in the fuel's sulphur content and have the ideal cylinder oil for the situation.

"In summary, we believe that every vessel should have the system on board."

The unit on the show floor (on Lukoil's stand 300 in hall A4) is due to be shipped over to Dubai after SMM to take its place on the show floor at Seatrade Middle East Maritime from 28-30 October, followed by its final destination, installation on a vessel belonging to the Oman Shipping Company.

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