Uncertainty looms over the future of marine lubricants as the shipping industry looks to cut costs and regulations come to fruition requiring formulation changes, said an industry insider at a conference held in early August.
Marine lubricant marketers and their customers face several significant challenges in coming years, but the market is growing and still offers opportunities to new and existing suppliers, an industry insider said at a recent conference.
Starting Jan. 1, 2020 - just two years away - new pollution regulations will cap marine fuel sulfur at just 0.5 percent for oceangoing vessels worldwide. Given that it can take up to six years to get a new marine oil tested and approved, lube oil marketers are running short of time to prepare for this dramatic change, a Chevron Oronite official said recently.
Marine industry classification society DNV GL, in cooperation with three marine insurers, has initiated a project to study whether biodegradable lubricants play a role in stern tube bearing failures.
A Norwegian research group recently stated that overall emissions of greenhouse gases would be lower if ships installed exhaust gas cleaning systems and continued to use heavy fuel oil than if they followed other routes to comply with looming IMO 2020.
Chinas Belt and Road Initiative is set to disrupt the 2.3 million metric ton global marine lubricants market as investment pours into ports outside the existing supply chain serviced by major marine lubricant distributors, an industry veteran warned.
Marine mutual insurer Swedish Club found in a report on main engine damage that lubrication failure was the most expensive and most frequent cause of damage on vessels during the 2015-2017 period.
Seventy-two percent of vessels are projected to use very-low-sulfur fuel oil after the International Maritime Organizations IMO 2020 regulation goes into effect next year, a marine lubricant supplier said recently, and the shipping industrys shortage of experience using such fuels increases the level of uncertainty about implications for marine lubricants.
Marine fuels and lubricants supplier Aegean Marine Petroleum Network emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring last week under a new name - Minerva Bunkering - as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., an independent energy and commodity company based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Vessel General Permit created a global standard that has drastically affected the marine lubes industry by requiring environmentally acceptable lubricants, a United Kingdom-based industry insider told a conference in Chicago last month.