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Risk of tanker engine damage magnifies post 2020

Wed 14 Jun 2017

Risk of tanker engine damage magnifies post 2020
Iain White (ExxonMobil): We can slice and dice the data

Data analysis of more than 400,000 oil samples has highlighted a range of potentially damaging engine issues facing tanker operators.

ExxonMobil’s MobilGard Cylinder Condition (CCM) programme showed that 50 per cent of vessels of various types are not operating at optimal feed rates, cold corrosion is present in 15 per cent of samples and 43 per cent of vessels have a potentially catastrophic issue with cat fines.

43 per cent of vessels have a potentially catastrophic issue with cat fines

This data indicates that there are some serious problems with the skills and expertise of the crew said ExxonMobil global marketing manager Iain White in an exlusive interview at this year's NorShipping Conference in June. “If you’re running your purifiers properly, you shouldn’t have a problem with cat fines.”

Mr White also alluded to a likely increase in cat fine issues as a greater range of fuel blends come onto the market in 2020.

There was also a sobering warning on cold corrosion. The 50,000 or so cases of cold corrosion that were identified in the analysis foreshadow a more pervasive problem over time. Typically cold corrosion was seen in new engines. As fleets are renewed the industry can expect increased incidence of this problem.

The data gathered by ExxonMobil also revealed that 9 per cent of vessels see high levels of iron in the scrape down oil, something that is indicative of engine wear. 25 per cent of the samples evidenced water washing problems.

The MobilGard CCM programme allowed ExxonMobil to slice and dice the data generated by vessel type, engine type or by vessel route. This type of data analysis is currently only in its infancy, explained Mr White, but at the same time sufficiently mature to base a new service around it.  

Operators on the programme receive a tailored lubrication recommendation, based on data samples that benchmark their specific engine and operating conditions. According to Mr White, it is possible to fine-tune this data even further and refinements will be incorporated into the service.