ExxonMobil has announced that all of its 2020 sulphur cap compliant fuels will be compatible with one other – thereby easing widespread industry fears about mechanical failures.
The vast majority of the global fleet is expected to switch to using low sulphur bunkers when IMO’s regulation comes into force. But because a vast range of refinery feeds will be blended to create these fuels, it’s believed that there will be issues with compatibility.
Sludge can form when incompatible products mix together inside engines, and potentially result in a loss of propulsion and damage to fuel systems.
“It is crucial that operators have access to not just compliant fuels, but quality compliant fuels prior to the IMO deadline,” says said Luca Volta, marine fuels venture manager at ExxonMobil. “We are continuing to work on new streams that will provide availability to additional ports and markets.”
The oil major has also revealed that the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Genoa and Marseilles, along with Singapore, Laem Chabang in Thailand and Hong Kong, will all offer 0.5 per cent sulphur fuels prior to the IMO’s 1 January 2020 implementation deadline.
According to ExxonMobil, the fuels have all undergone stringent fit-for-use assessments. The specifications will range from RMD 80 to RMG 380, with a density of between 900 and 970 at 15 degrees Celsius. Catalytic fine content will meet the level set out in ISO 8217:2017.
“These fuel formulations have passed stringent testing protocols, helping to ensure the highest level of quality during challenging times,” Volta says. “With so many new grades being developed ahead of the sulphur cap implementation, compatibility is rightly a concern for the industry.”