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A year of change and transition

Total Lubmarine - A year of change and transition
Total Lubmarine - A year of change and transition

From the virtual platforms of recent maritime events to the way industry has pushed through the wave of economic, political and environment challenges – not least the impact of the health pandemic – Robert Joore, Total Lubmarine General Manager reveals his insight in to this turbulent year and discusses his outlook for 2021.

From the outset of 2020, it has been a year focused on endeavoring to mitigate risks challenged by a triple whammy of (1) IMO regulations, (2) a health pandemic, and (3) the severe variance and impact of the oil price, which collectively has had a huge impact on the industry.

Key responsibilities

Our number one priority this year has remained the safety and well-being of everyone across the Total Lubmarine Network. We are proud to have reached a decade of zero incidents which reflects on our robust operational strategies and safety practices, and we look forward to continuing our efforts for the next decade.

It's hard to mention the last 12 months without mentioning a couple of newsworthy market and credit related events, though we [Total Lubmarine] haven't really been impacted by that as a company. We have closely monitored the extent of the supply chain and its logistics, and the degree to which we’ve taken responsibilities throughout the year has been based on predictability and consistency. Quality has been an essential ingredient to our success, and not least in how lubricants are manufactured, supplied and delivered.

Data and digitalization have been a core part of our strategy this year with “current, reliable, timely and trusted data” to help us all understand the changing world in which we live. Data on how our lubricants work has helped our customers improve the operational performance and integrity of their engines 24/7. We have developed new ways in which we obtain information from our product data that provides us with a deep dive in to how customers use our lubricants versus engine cleanliness, operating parameters, and engine wear damage protection. We have also advanced our drain oil service offer and adapted it to the new OEMs’ guidelines.

We have improved the way we use additional vessel operating information such as engine condition, engine load, fuel type, running hours and temperature, to gain real insight in to how engines and their lubrication perform.

2021 will be no different as we continue on our journey to invest in data and statistics to help our clients make informed and preventive decisions that are needed to respond and anticipate to operational issues.

Market leading endorsements

Earlier in May, we were delighted to announce that MAN ES endorsed the use of TALUSIA UNIVERSAL, with a No Objection Letter (NOL) confirming TALUSIA UNIVERSAL’s 57 BN [SAE 50] approved use in MAN B&W two-stroke engines operating on <0.50% S VLSFO, and fuel with a sulfur content ranging from 0.5 to 1.5%.

TALUSIA UNIVERSAL 57 BN [SAE 50) received a NOL from Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) adding DF Validation for the WinGD range of DF engines. It confirms the validation across the full range of WinGD - including legacy Sulzer - engines. The NOL was awarded following the successful completion of extensive field tests comprising more than 8,000 hours – including 4,000 hours performed onboard an SK Shipping vessel with a 6X62DF engine burning LNG.

This DF validation adds to the existing TALUSIA UNIVERSAL NOL, issued on March 3, 2020, for use in WinGD X, WinGD X-DF, WinGD RT-flex, WinGD RT-flex-DF, Wärtsilä RTA, Wärtsilä RT-flex and Wärtsilä X engines, as well as in Sulzer 2-stroke engines operating on fuels with a sulfur content from 0.00 % m/m up to 1.50 % m/m. This means TALUSIA UNIVERSAL is seamlessly compatible and proven for any IMO 2020 compliant fuel strategy such as LSFO, VLSFO, ULSFO and LNG. It represents the true single cylinder oil solution for the lubrication of modern 2-stroke diesel and DF engines using IMO 2020 and ECA compliant fuels.

A recent and major step forward in the development of LNG logistical infrastructures is the launch of Gas Agility, the world’s largest LNG bunker vessel (LNGBV), which is chartered by Total and is beginning to help the world’s shipping industry make the move to a more sustainable fuel solution in LNG.

Strengthening delivery capability

We were delighted to announce the introduction of a new second barge in the port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to further support the increased demand for our range of marine lubricants and from a growing customer base. Our announcement of the new second barge provides additional networked support for our customers in the UAE, and improves our capabilities to supply our leading Main Grade Lubricants in bulk, including TALUSIA UNIVERSAL BN57.

It has been an exciting time both for our customers and our business as the IHS Markit’s data revealed we are the second largest port network in the international marine lubricants segment, with a total of 797 ports at end-2019, covering a total of 93 countries, more countries than any other operator – In addition to its officially listed ports, Total Lubmarine also makes its products available via non-listed ports, bringing total coverage to 1,000 ports in about 100 countries.

Working through the pandemic

Seemingly no matter where we are in the world, the Coronavirus Pandemic has had a massive impact on life – both personal and business. One of the Total Group’s core values is safety and this has been, and continues to be, a major priority for us, extending to everyone across the Total Lubmarine customer and supply chain network.

At the height of the pandemic our teams remained available in a ‘business as usual capacity’ to help with any of our customers’ needs – and we used technology to provide that immediate, real-time support for all our customers. Daily contact with ports and port operations provided a level of reassurance for our customers on product supply and logistics, as many of the challenges we face are centred on how vessels, ports and ship to shore operations can operate 24/7. This includes our International Port Directory which is updated with the latest information on each port’s delivery status, and on-demand downloadable listing. 

In our laboratories in Belgium, Singapore, Shanghai, Panama and the newly opened Chicago laboratory, we closely monitored and followed local Government mandates and guidance. To minimise potential disruption for our customers, we also modernized and restructured our range of Tech Care kits for use onboard vessels to ensure engine maintenance and performance can be frequently assessed and diagnosed with immediate and localized decision making with online support from our experts when needed.

Key highlights of 2020

With IMO2020 regulation transitioning the shipping industry towards lower sulfur fuel oils, the industry has been encouraged with exploring options to meet stricter emission reduction targets. Added to that is the introduction of VLSFO fuels through IMO2020 which is further increasing the risk of engine deposit build up as highlighted in the findings of the 2020 Fuel Oil Quality and Safety Survey published by BIMCO, The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO. For our teams, engine cleanliness is by no means a superficial concern.

Fouling and deposits can impact engine efficiency and risk malfunction which often leads to more serious problems down the line.

As the industry explores deeper in to the options for meeting IMO’s greenhouse gas emission reduction ambitions – most crucially the aim of cutting emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels – more new fuels will come into play.

It is why we launched a series of new videos to raise the importance of drain oil analysis in helping achieve optimized lubricant oil feed rates to identify and prevent potentially costly engine damage.

Covering the WhyWhat and How of drain oil analysis, the new video series highlights the benefits vessel operators can reap by ensuring analysis is regularly undertaken.

And, when you factor that in with changing fuel trade and fuel availability, we believe the case strengthens for TALUSIA UNIVERSAL.

It was also a year which marked the launch of WT SUPRA – a coolant with an environmentally friendly inhibitor concentrate that delivers extended service life and superior corrosion protection for both engine manufacturers and operators.

Driving change

We’ve been very active making investments in Europe, in USA and across Asia in terms of our lubricant infrastructure which we believe is needed to assist our ship operating clients as part of the expected energy transition towards IMO 2050. Factors such as supply chain infrastructure, product performance, and price are the key forces driving lubricant use as the marine industry’s viable and sustainable focus on clean engine technology prevails not just for today, but for some time to come. And that’s kind of what 2020 has been about – setting the foundation for tomorrow’s viable cleaner engine operations.

Supporting industry campaigns

In terms of environment focus and sponsorships, we have supported a number of campaigns – from celebrating World Oceans Day to actively taking part in beach cleans. Every effort to further initiatives that contribute towards Total’s corporate and environmental ambitions, and provide wider benefits to industry and communities have been taken. An example of our work in this area is Total’s membership of the Getting to Zero Coalition provides a unique commitment to help achieve the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) target to reduce GHG emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050. This initiative is fully aligned with the Group’s new climate ambition to get to net zero by 2050, together with society, for its global operations. It also reinforces our commitment to support our customers in their own emissions reduction so that together we can act on their energy demand.

We also are acutely aware of the ongoing challenges our industry’s seafarers face as the ‘front line’ to the shipping world, transporting food, medicines, goods and supplies, safely and sustainably across the world. We took part in a number of campaigns to recognize the invaluable contribution seafarers make and joined the IMO 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign to say ‘thank you’. And, we were delighted to be able to support the International Seafarers Welfare & Assistance Network (ISWAN) – ‘SeafarerHelp’ Programme in its role to provide critical support for seafarers globally.

2021 and beyond.

We expect a sharp rise in the use of TALUSIA UNIVERSAL as industry’s only single cylinder oil solution that can be used with all IMO 2020 compliant fuel – including LNG.  The global demand for LNG bunkering in the next few years is forecasted to expand. The market is on track to reach our estimated demands of 10 MT by 2025, driven by an active transition to cleaner marine fuels in Europe and Asia with steady investments in LNG infrastructure.

Looking ahead, this year and next, the transition to cleaner shipping highlights many of the challenges in efficiently managing the fuels and lubricants necessary to ensure safe and cost effective operation of vessels. It is clear that we will continue to face changes with initiatives that deep dive further in to energy efficiency, emissions and greenhouse gas targets. A key focus in 2021 across industry will be who to partner with. Total is an integrated group which provides expertise and assets in refining, trading, LNG, bunkers and of course lubricants, so whether you are looking at LNG, low sulfur fuels, marine gas oil – which are all routes to compliance – Total Lubmarine has a complete portfolio of compatible, OEM approved lubricants in the right locations to suit all needs.

One of the key initiatives we would like to see extended next year is the further development of digital tools to help better support engine monitoring. By extracting more data on how engines perform, we can gain deeper insights of the health and performance of an engine which feeds in to better and informed maintenance and aftercare.

We will continue to develop high-quality lubricants, supported by investment in technical support, advanced lubrication management into a strategy that addresses customers’ most pressing operational concerns whatever their situation. We understand fully that new fuel and new engine technologies need new types of lubricants. With engine technology continually evolving, the need to remain agile and continue to understand and find efficient and cost-effective solutions to the challenges ship owners face in 2021 and beyond is more important than ever before. We are excited about the future and as the responsible energy major, are determined to continue to drive forward ambitious change in the way we operate to embrace new opportunities. We also commit to provide quality solutions to give customers, and their supply chains, confidence that they are addressing tomorrow’s economic, legislative and corporate responsibilities, effectively, efficiently and responsibly.

“There is still much work to do in supporting the supply chain in the new era of a cleaner, leaner, smarter shipping industry, but Total Lubmarine is well on its way to feeding the 2021 debate on how its solutions can better support industry.”

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