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War of words in lube oil sector

By Paul Bartlett, Contributing Editor

Cold corrosion debate heats up

Choosing the right lube oil can protect your engine against cold corrosion


low steaming, low sulfur fuels and a new generation of long-stroke, low-speed engines are the catalysts generating an increasingly heated debate on cold corrosion. The arguments focus on lube oil base numbers—a measure of a lube oil’s ability to neutralize sulfur-based acids—and feed rates. Temperatures are rising for two main reasons: one, very low sulfur fuel will become mandatory in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in Europe and North America in less than 18 months’ time for owners who continue to burn heavy fuel oil. Two, new long-stroke engines are more susceptible to corrosion damage from sulfuric acid when operating at low loads and low temperatures—cold corrosion. The sector is dominated by major oil company units including BP subsidiary Castrol, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total. Relative newcomers, however, such as Hamburg-headquartered Lukoil Marine Lubricants, are making their mark. The argument appears to be polarizing the firms into two distinct camps. S2 MARINE LOG August 2013

In one corner, you have the suppliers of single oils who maintain that their one-size-fits-all strategy is suitable for all two-stroke engines, regardless of fuel type and mode of operation. They argue that the new chemistry of such oils—of which Total Lubmarine’s Talusia Universal is the leading brand—means they can be used in engines burning fuel of different sulfur content, and in operation at various loads. Talusia Universal, for example, has a base number of 57, placing it towards the top of so-called multi-use single oils. In a recent poll, the company found that more than nine out of ten owners and managers using single oils believed their principal benefits to be operational safety, savings in handing costs and simplicity for shipboard staff. Serge Dal Farra, the company’s marketing manager, commented on the poll results. “With four-fifths of our customer base using a single oil solution, the results of our survey support our strong conviction that ‘single solution’ universal lubricants represent the future of marine cylinder lubrication.”

August 2013 Marine Log Magazine  
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