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Sunday, June 16, 2019 

With less than six months before the implementation of the IMO’s limit for sulphur in ships’ fuel oil, oil major TOTAL Lubmarine has been hosting a series of Global Sulphur Cap Forums in major shipping hubs to help shipowners finalise their compliance plans.

The Global Sulphur Cap Forum in Dubai, held during an Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) UAE branch meeting,  showcased TOTAL’s current range of fuel and lubricant solutions as well as new products under development to support 2020 conformance strategies.

Following a welcome address by Nikeel Idnani IMarEST UAE branch Honorary Secretary, Serge Dal Farra, Marketing Director at TOTAL Lubmarine commented: “The full range of our marine expertise in the Middle East covers everything from fuel quality and lubricating strategy through to future fuels and availability.”

David Pivetta, Commercial Director SEMEIA TOTAL Lubmarine, refered to 2020 as a game changer, suggesting that unprecedented challenges loom with the oncoming wave of innovation and regulatory upheaval. He went onto describing the background and enforcement of IMO MARPOL Annex VI including regional complexities, stating clearly that noncompliance was not an option.

Robert Joore General Manager TOTAL Lubmarine followed with a presentation highlighting the organisation’s commitment to becoming a responsible energy major by integrating climate into their strategy. It was evident that TOTAL matches rhetoric with reality as the company is both a supplier (bunker & LNG fuels, lubricants and batteries) and a customer chartering vessels.

Frederic Vazzoler, Global Sales & Development Director TOTAL Marine Fuels, exemplified estimates on a future product mix in what he termed a ‘multifuel era’ with HSFO, new compliant 0.5%S fuel, MGO and LNG.

As an active member in the ISO specification committee and expertise in blend development, Vazzoler told delegates that an ISO working group will make available specifications for VLSFO during Q4/2019. TOTAL carried out VLSFO trials in March 2018 during an Asia – Europe voyage during which quality was closely monitored. The company claimed to have received “excellent feedback” and subsequently carried out more trials effectively managing risk of ships modified fuel oil systems and processes commensurate with the IMO’s guidance on a ship implementation plan for 2020.

Nikolaos Kotakis who manages OEM Relationships for TOTAL Lubmarine presented ‘Lubrication Challenges and Solutions’ which was of interest to the marine engineers in the room especially the new engine technologies including Tier III compliance methodologies. He explained the fuel and lube oil drivers in the transition period in 2019 and 2020. For 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, Nikolaos laid out compliant options vis-à-vis low sulphur fuels (VLSFO < 0.50%S; ULSFO/MGO < 0.10% S), post-treatment (scrubbers) or low-carbon fuels (LNG/LPG).

For each energy option, Kotakis proposed suitable lubricating solutions with appropriate BN (Base Number) to neutralize Sulphuric acid formed during combustion, thus preventing corrosion, cylinder wear and scuffing resulting in an extended TBO (Time Between Overhauls).

To provide an opportunity for wider stakeholder engagement, a round-up of the key themes were discussed in a Q&A session with the audience which resulted in the understanding that for those shipowners who are treading water in their 2020 decisions, it is important to manage the transition with a fuel-oil changeover plan needing to be in place for each vessel.

Highlighting TOTAL’s wherewithal to supply compliant fuel options post 2020, Robert Joore assured ship managers, “whichever choice operators take, I believe we are unique in that we can provide VLSFO, HSFO and LNG out of one business unit. While unprecedented challenges may emerge for Ship Operators, we believe so will solutions”.

 Pictured is Frederic Vazzoler presenting his paper at a UAE branch meeting of the IMarEST

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