WSS responds to market changes

02 Jul 2014
Jonas Östlund

Jonas Östlund

As the marine bunker market changes, Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) is helping shipowners get the best from their residual and distillate fuels.

A reduction in the quality of fuels available to shipowners, the need to comply with IMO and EU regulations on sulphur content and the adoption of slow steaming will have a major impact over the next 10 to 15 years, says WSS.

“The pressure to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs is bringing speeds down across the industry. But because few engines were built to operate at slow speeds, the result can be poor combustion and reduced efficiency,” said Jonas Östlund, product marketing manager, marine chemical, WSS.

“Such problems are exacerbated by the decline in quality of blended marine fuel which often exhibits very poor stability,” he added.

At the same time, regulations are driving owners to use lower sulphur fuels. In four years’ time, the IMO will decide whether to apply a cap of 0.5% maximum sulphur by 2020 or 2025. Inside the three existing Emissions Control Areas (EMAs), maximum sulphur content must be no more than 0.1% after 1 January 2015.

But even if owners accept the 50% price differential in switching from residual fuel to cleaner distillates, these ultra-low sulphur fuels are no solution, says Mr Östlund.

“Quality problems when suing distillate fuels are fundamentally different from those of residual fuels and focus around lubricity, storage stability and microbial contamination. Lubricity problems are most likely to happen in the fuels with a lower sulphur content than 0.1%,” he explained.

For owners who want to protect their investments, WWS says many of these issues can be solved by chemical treatment. In a White Paper published by WWS, Mr Östlund argues that testing and treatment are vital for owners who want to remain compliant and efficient.

WSS produces a range of Unitor FuelPower products to ensure today’s fuel can be used, regardless of fuel stability or slow steaming. The company has also developed a new product range, Unitor DieselPower, specifically for distillate fuels.

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