Chevron Marine Lubricants made its first delivery of a 40 BN Category II lube oil on 30 August, in a breakthrough moment for operators of MAN ES Mk9 and above two-stroke engines, when it supplied a stem of its new Taro Ultra Advanced 40 to SIEM Car Carriers.
“We are very pleased that Taro Ultra Advanced 40 is now available to our customers and that we have successfully made the first delivery,” says Pat McCloud, General Manager, Chevron Global Marine Lubricants. “From September, it will be available at major ports across Europe and Asia Pacific, including Singapore and Rotterdam. The product will be rolled out across our global network over the next couple of months,” he adds.
After IMO’s 0.5% sulphur cap came into effect on 1 January 2020, MAN ES defined two performance standards for lube oils intended for use in its two-stroke engines. Existing oils were dubbed Category I lubes and can be used in MAN ES Mk 8 and earlier engines, but it set a higher Category II standard for Mk 9 and later engines.
With less sulphur in the fuel, lubes with lower base numbers would be needed, but they also had to match or exceed the cleanliness achieved when using typical two-stroke lubes of around 100-140 BN. Until suitable 40 BN oils were developed, MAN ES advised operators to alternate between 100 BN and 40 BN oils, based on scavenge port inspections and its analysis of oil drainage samples.
In April 2022, Taro Ultra Advanced 40 became one of the first oil to be granted a no-objection letter (NOL) by MAN ES, confirming that it can be used continuously, without the need to switch to high-BN lubes. This reduces operational complexity for ships’ engineers and removes the need to carry multiple grades of oil.
“We have been working with our supply chain to set up blending and supply of the product and it is now one of the first 40 BN category II lubricants to be available in major shipping hubs in commercial volumes,” comments McCloud.
“We successfully completed the development of Taro Ultra Advanced 40 and met the MAN ES Category II requirements through thousands of hours of development work in the lab and field testing in collaboration with our technology partner and customers,” McCloud says. A key requirement in MAN ES’ assessment of candidate oils is that they provide the same level of engine cleanliness as high-BN lubes.
Those development and approval tests took place on vessels with MAN 8G80ME-C9.2 engine burning VLSFO, but Taro Ultra Advanced 40 is also suitable for use with other low-sulphur fuels, such as ULSFO, LNG and methanol. This versatility is crucial for SIEM car carriers, which will be using the oil in the LNG-fuelled MAN ES 7S60 ME-C GI 12,614-kW low-speed engines installed in its 7,500-car capacity sister ships, SIEM Aristotle and SIEM Confucius.
These are deep-sea car and truck carriers equipped with dual-fuel engines, designed to operate on LNG and marine gas oil, which helps provide economic efficient operation.
“SIEM is a deep-sea pioneer in using LNG to help reduce carbon emissions in the automotive logistics chain. It made sense to switch to Taro Ultra Advanced 40 as soon as it became available, enabling us to operate our engines in a more versatile way,” comments SIEM Car Carriers.
Taro Ultra Advanced 40 joins Chevron’s existing range of Taro Ultra oils, including Taro Ultra 100 and Taro Ultra 140, which are already rated as Category II oils and suitable for use in Mk 9 engines and above, but with higher-sulphur fuels. Chevron’s five-oil Taro Ultra range also includes Taro Ultra 20 and Taro Ultra 70 to cover the full range of fuel sulphur content.