“I don’t like crude oil because it’s so vulgar.” I heard those words on an oil trading floor one day. Must have been a trader on the wrong side of a deal. And shipowners may echo that sentiment once again in the not too distant future.
What is quality? The Oxford dictionary defines quality as “The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something”.
For a fuel testing laboratory there are many aspects to the quality of the lab and the results that it produces. Most of us will be familiar to some degree with the ISO management certificates, such as ISO 9000 quality management system, ISO 14000 environmental management system and OHSAS 18001 health and safety management system.
Since the introduction of new ECA fuels (NEFs) in the market end of 2014, the increase in number and variety has been simply impressive. Over 20 products from different origins with and varying in quality characteristics, yet with the apparent common element of the maximum Sulphur (S) content of 0.10%. So is having all these choices necessarily a good thing?
Although the drop in oil price has led to a fall in operational cost of a vessel, bunker fuel - especially when the more expensive distillate is used in an Emission Control Area (ECA) - remains a significant component of operational cost. Even for heavy fuel oil there is a need to measure density because fuel is bought by weight but delivered by volume.
Monitoring operations and managing cost are more important than ever given the extreme financial challenges facing the global shipping industry.
The ISO 8217:2012, the current and fifth edition of the ISO 8217 international fuel standard was driven by the IMO push for improved bunker quality to enhance crew and machinery operational safety, as well as increased health and environmental protection.
In just under a year after the implementation of the stricter 0.1% m/m maximum sulphur limit in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs), statistics confirm the expected shift towards distillate fuels.
In 2013 and 2014, the global residual to distillate sample ratio was approximately 75/25 whereas this year the ratio has shifted to approximately 60/40. This global trend is primarily influenced by the shift in the ECAs, where on average the relative share of distillates went from 30% in 2014 to 53% in 2015.
We are now about 11 months into the implementation of the 0.1% maximum sulphur cap for fuels used on ships while operating in the North American, Baltic, and North Sea Emission Control Areas (ECAs). There were a lot of predictions being made in the years leading up to the 1 January 2015 implementation of the 0.1% sulphur cap in ECAs.
Many ship operators and owners assume that testing a fuel to the ISO 8217 specification prior to burning it is sufficient for safeguarding a vessel’s engines. But fuel problems can still persist as an “on-spec” fuel oil may become unfit for engine use due to mishandling or insufficient fuel treatment.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that fuel oil used onboard a vessel is monitored and given correct treatment before use
The International Monetary Fund expects global growth to remain moderate for the rest of the year. This means that even with the dip in oil prices since last year, the shipping industry will not see a quick recovery anytime soon, even with the substantial savings from low bunker prices.
Hence, to ensure that they remain competitive, ship owners and operators will need to continue looking for all ways to reduce operational costs and ensure that they are getting the right quantity and quality of fuel that they have paid for.
Since 1 January 2015, vessels operating within the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) must burn fuel with a sulphur limit of 0.1% m/m or be fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers).
Given the sharp drop in oil prices, most ship owners and operators have chosen to use marine gas oil when navigating in an ECA. This is because although most medium speed and low speed marine engines are designed for residual fuel operation, they are also capable of operating on distillate fuel. Nevertheless, low sulphur content distillates pose operational challenges for vessel operators, and the parameters below should be noted.
The initial impact of the first six months of the 0.1% sulphur limit for marine fuels has not been as drastic as some predicted. Most concerns were understandably focused on the cost of compliance; however, the steep and sustained drop in global oil prices offered relief at just the right time.
Ship operators have known for centuries when embarking on a voyage that extensive preparations must be made for a successful voyage, and from the beginning, a clean source of potable water has always been a critical priority.
Having reviewed the fuel analysis data on a quarterly basis for a number of years, it is clear that for some time now the general quality, as measured by compliance with the specification limits, has been fairly steady. This does not mean there have not been instances of non-compliance, sometimes serious in nature. These instances have, however, tended to be localised and relatively few in number.
Visualize the following scenarios: There has been an emergency and crew/passengers have had to abandon ship. It is dark and freezing cold. The sea is rough. Lifeboat with full complement already on board is still alongside the vessel. Suddenly the lifeboat engine splutters and stops.
The regulatory change from 1.00% to 0.10% sulphur fuel requirement has resulted in a significant shift in the shipping operations in Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in the first quarter of 2015.
The dawn of the ultra-large containership (ULCs) is one of the biggest changes that container shipping and ports have undergone in recent times.
Charlotte Rojgaard explores the impact the 0.1% sulphur ECAs will have on ship operations and bunkering
Veritas Petroluem Services Leornardo Alphonso looks at 0.1% sulphur fuel limits will mean to the shipping industry
Bill Stamatopoulos of Veritas Petroleum Services explains the working fo fuel management
The biggest change facing the bunkering market in the near future is the 0.1% aulphur limit for North European and Baltic Sea emission control area (ECA) from 1 January 2015
Edwin Bloemen from VPS takes a look at the impact of IMO's environmental regulations on the bunkering industry
As time draws closer to an IMO regulatory deadline in 2020, concerns over the strictest fuel sulphur content limit regulation have continued to heighten, market players were heard saying at a industry seminar.
With 0.1% sulphur fuel becoming mandatory across North European and Baltic waters in 2015 enforcement will be a key factor says fuel tester Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS).
John Gilligan of VPS looks at how you buy the best value for money fuel
Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) Jeroen de Vos examines the importance of testing distillate fuels.
Global Fuel testing services firm DNV Petroleum Services has changed its name to Veritas Petroleum Services after it detached itself as a subsidiary of Norway's Det Norske Veritas (DNV) less than a year ago.
DNVPS takes a look at the quality and operational considerations of the European ECA.
DNV Petroleum Services Mathews George asks are they a cloak and dagger mystery or a vital necessity.
DNV Petroleum Services' Sunil Nair examines the quality issue in Fujairah and Kohor Fakkan.
DNV Petroleum Services, Keith Forget examines the impact higher distillate fuel demand will have on the global market.
DNV Petroleum Services’ (DNVPS) Charles Stucky takes a look at the development of Emissions Control Areas (ECAs).
Dafni Lionaki from DNVPS explains why it is necessary and how to ensure water quality.
A round-up of fuel quality trends in key bunkering ports of the world by DNVPS' Jeroen de Vos
Charlotte Røjgaard from DNV Petroleum Services shares her views on investigative testing to achieve operational cost savings
A bunker surveyor's job: Mathews George of DNVPS explains why it is more than
John Gilligan from DNVPS explains the ins and outs of paperwork in bunkering.
Fritz Jakob Fredriksen of DNVPS looks at extracting the ‘true value’ of bunkers
Qamar Hussain examines the fuel management challenges for marine industry since the introduction of North American ECA.
Thomas Tampi of DNVPS reviews the quality of global marine fuels from January to May 2013.
Rahul Choudhuri of DNV Petroleum Services explores the introduction of mass flow meters in bunkering.
We want to provide more value to our customers and to provide more specific and indepth analysis." - Eirik Andreassen, Managing Director DNVPS
Charlotte Røjgaard details the technical reasons to buy fuels with IS08217:2012 specifications
Petter Dehli of DNVPS reminds that engines do not consume more bunker fuel and lube oil than intended
Keith Forget of DNVPS looks at availability of fuel to meet the MARPOL global cap in 2020 or 2025
DNVPS readies surveyors for mass flow meters
Dennis Pronk and Edwin Bloemen from DNVPS examine how a well maintained system improves overall efficiency of the vessels’ fuel treatment plant
Fuel quality review, a comparison of the ECAs
Singapore's initiative to commercialise the use of mass flow meters will enhance the efficiency and transparency of the port's bunker delivery process, DNVPS explains
Fuel tester DNV Petroluem Services believes seafarers are critical link in the supply chain
Eirik Andreassen explores how ship operators should prepare for 2015 fuel regulations now
Fritz Fredriksen explores the operational risks involved in bunker buying
John Stirling explores the issues surrounding the short delivery of bunkers
DNVPS says in many cases crew are mistaken
Since the 1 January introduction of this limit, DNV Petroleum Services (DNVPS) has been monitoring global changes in marine fuel sulphur levels.
From 1 August 2012, the US will enforce the North American ECA, followed by Canada in November.
Eirik Andreassen explores how ship operators should prepare for 2015 fuel regulations now
The ISO 8217:2010 marine fuel specification, released on 1 July 2010, came with tighter quality limits and new parameters.
April Singapore Report for 2012
DNV Petroleum Services pushes value-added services
Ship operators today worry about stricter sulphur legislation impacting the cost and quality of heavy fuel oils (HFO), and the growing need to use low sulphur
distillate products more regularly.
A revolutionary change to the way ships are powered is within sight, though that change may well be ahead of its time due to the challenge of availability, says Erik Andreassen, managing director at DNV Petroleum Services (DNVPS).
Since July 2009, the US state of California has enforced a rule requiring incoming ships to run DMA marine gas oil.
A cursory glance at the DNV Petroleum Services statistics for the 2009-2011 period might not detect any important change in the overall quality of residual fuel oils.