Bunker Fuel Viscosity not an Issue: Total

Tuesday June 11, 2019

Low viscosity bunker fuel should not present a problem to ships' engines as the industry switches to low sulfur grades of fuel oil, according to French oil company Total.

Speaking to price-reporting agency Argus Media, Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions' managing director Jerome Leprince-Ringuet said that placing too many constraints on specifications would involve too many costs for the customer.

Low-sulphur fuel with a specific viscosity can be made available for buyers that need it but it will cost more, he was cited as saying.

Total has offered low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) to customers on a trial basis and no issues have been reported so far, the report said.

Total's sentiments were echoed by another European refiner which said that variation in viscosity should not necessarily become an issue. Galp, which is producing its own brand of 0.5% sulfur bunker fuel, has also made the point that a specific viscosity o fuel could be produced, at a cost.

A handful of suppliers in Singapore are currently offering 0.5% sulphur marine fuels with viscosity ranging anywhere from 10-360 cst, Argus said.

The new 0.5% sulphur fuel oil supplies in the market will comprise a number of different blends, mostly vacuum gasoil and low-sulphur residue, which is the main reason why the viscosity is closer to gasoil than to fuel oil.

The viscosity of LSFO in Singapore has gradually increased over the past months, according to suppliers' specification sheets obtained by Argus, according to the report.

From the start of next year, ships must use 0.5% sulfur fuel oil or have the necessary abatement equipment installed to enable them to continue to use 3.5% sulfur bunker fuel.