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FuelSpecifications

History
Priortoaround1970marinefuelqualitywasfairlypredictableanddidnotseemtobea
majorcauseforconcern.Firstlythen,letusconsiderthe'qualitydemand'atthattime.
Residualfuelswerepurchasedforbothboilerandlowspeeddieselengineconsumption,
notonlyatseabutalsoonland,inpowerandCOgasgenerationplantswhereitwasa
viablealternativetosolidfuelsorgas.Residualfuels,atthattime,weregivenmany
titlesor'short'namessuchas'BurnerFuel','HeavyOil','BoilerOil','BunkerC'and'Class
G'.Marinefuelpurchasersprobablybecamemorefamiliarwiththeterm'BunkerC'
whichcanberelatedto'ClassG'fuellistedintheBritishStandardBS2869:1970.
Theoriginal1957BritishStandardwasgivenagreatdealofattentioninthefirsthalfof
the1970'swithfurtherrevisionspublishedin1970,1972and1974.Thelastrevision
introducedasplitbetweenfuelsforburnersandengines.However,engineclassfuels
werebasicallygasoilsordieselfuelsandlittleattentionwasgiventothegrowingneed
forgradingofresidualfuelsbeingusedinlargedieselengines.
ToaddressthisneedaworkinggroupoftheBritishStandardwassetupand,after
lengthyconsultationwithinterestedparties,producedadraftspecificationformarine
fuels.WhilstthisworkwasinprogresstheInternationalOrganisationofStandards(ISO)
waskeptinformedofprogress,asweretheInternationalCouncilonCombustion
Engines(CIMAC).Itwascleartoallthesepartiesthatanydevelopmentsinmarine
matterswouldhaveanimpactontheinternationalmarineindustryandtherefore,an
internationalmarinefuelspecificationwasneeded.ThedraftBritishStandardwasthen
giventoanewworkinggroupwithinISO(ISO/TC28/SC4/WG6)whichwastofurther
developthedrafttoanInternationalStandard.
Developmentofanyinternationalagreementis,ofcourse,acomplexandslowprocess,
andtheworkinggrouprecognisedthatitwouldbesomeyearsbeforetheISOStandard
wouldbepublished.ProbablyrealisingthattheISOpublicationwouldbesometimein
themaking,theBritishStandardscommitteereleasedtheirdraftfuelspecificationearly
in1981.
Subsequently,theofficialBritishStandardBSMA100:1982waspublishedandbecame
thefirststandardtoaddressmarinefuelrequirements.Duringthe1980s,BSMA
100:1982becameareferencepointforbothfuelpurchasersandsellers,andclausesin
manycharterpartiesreferringtofuelqualitywereupdatedtoincludereferencetothe
BritishStandard.
Thetechnicaldepartmentsofshippingcompaniesbecamemoreawareoffuelrelated
engineproblemsandbegantoinfluencethefuelpurchasersontheirselectionoffuels.
Slowlythemarineindustrybegantounderstandthatthepracticeoforderingfuelby
viscosityalonewasinsufficientifdisputesandclaimsresultingfromuseofpoorquality
fuelsweretobereduced.

Inthelate1970'sandearly1980'swhiletheBritishStandardsandISOworkinggroups
weredevelopingtheirfuelstandardsCIMAC(TheInternationalCouncilonCombustion
engines)wasalsoactive.CIMACretainedapermanentcommitteewhichasearlyas
1978settargetstoproduceheavyfuelrecommendationsformarineandlandbased
enginesusingthesefuels.
CIMAC'srecommendationsregardingrequirementsforresidualfuelsfordieselengines
werepublishedandintroducedintheirfirstversionin1986,withafurtherdevelopment
oftheserecommendationsin1990,whilethepresenteditionwaspublishedin2003.
ThemaindifferencebetweentheISO/BSapproachandtheCIMACperspectivewasthat
ISO/BSwereconcernednotonlywithsettingqualitystandardsfordifferentgradesof
fuel,butalsotoensurethatsuchfuelstandardswerepracticalandthatsuggested
gradeswouldbelargelyavailabletopurchasers.CIMAC,predominantlyrepresenting
enginemanufacturersandusers,concentratedonproducingaseriesoffuelgrades
whichwouldbesuitableforbotholderandnewenginesandtookintoconsideration
thatoldervesselsmaynotbeequippedwithfueltreatmentplantwhichcould
adequatelydealwithsomeofthelowergradefuels.
TheISOworkinggroupcompletedallitsdraftdocumentstagesandthefirst
InternationalStandardformarinefuelswaspublishedin1987:InternationalStandard
ISO8217PetroleumProducts'Fuels(classF)Specificationsofmarinefuels'.Atthis
particulartimeafuelpurchaserwishingtorefertoafuelspecificationorstandardmay
havebeenratherconfusedastherewerethreespecifications(BSMA100:1982,ISO
8217andCIMAC).
InadditionISOstandard8216/1aclassificationformarinefuelswasalsoavailable.This
classificationdescribedthefueltypesandprescribedthesymbolsbywhichthedifferent
categoriesaredesignatedinISO8217.
EventuallyBritishStandardswithdrewBSMA100:1982andreplaceditwithBSMA
100:1989whichwasidenticaltotheISO8217:1987Standard,reducingsomeofthe
confusion.
In2003,CIMACreleasedrecommendationno21whichwaspracticallyidenticaltothe
laterissuedISO8217:2005.
AsCIMACissuesrecommendationsratherthanstandards(asISO8217does),CIMAChas
theoptionofbeingmorerestrictiveandtoincludeanumberofadditional
characteristics.

Currentsituation(August2010)
ThethirdeditionoftheISO8217StandardwascompletedandpublishedinNovember
2005.Usuallyanewrevisionissome9yearsintheworkingprocess,however,duetoa
requestfromIMO(InternationalMarineOrganisation)toISOtomakearevisedstandard
beforeJuly2010,theISO/TC28/SC4/WG6hasworkedhardtoagreeonafourth
editionintime.

TherevisedstandardcontainsamendmentstotheISORM(ResidualFuel)andDM
(DistillateFuel)grades.ItspecificallyincorporatesthefollowingchangesfortheISORM
grades:

Thenumberofgradeshasbeenreduced
DMCgradeisnowRMA10grade
500cStat50CgradeshavebeenincludedasRMG500andRMK500
Maximumdensityhasbeenreducedforthelightestgrades(RMA10,RMB30and
RMD80)
Sulphurhasbeenremovedasitisnowastatutoryrequirement
ThevanadiumlimitshavebeenreducedexceptforRMG380(increasefrom300
ppmto350ppm)
Sodium(Na)limitshavebeenintroduced
Catfines(Al+Si)limitshavebeenreduced
H2Sintroducedwillbepartofthestandardfrom2012
CCAIhasbeenincluded
LimitstoacidNumber(AN)hasbeenintroduced
UsedLubeOil(ULO)limitsarenowbasedoneitherCalciumandZincorCalcium
andPhosphorous

ThefollowingchangescanbefoundfortheISODMgrades:

MinimumviscosityforDMAandDMBgradehasbeenincreasedto2cSt@400C
NewgradeDMZ.IdenticaltoDMAgradeexceptforaminimumviscosityof3cSt
@400C
LimitstoLubricity,AcidNumber(AN)andOxidationstabilityhavebeen
introduced
H2Sintroducedwillbepartofthestandardfrom2012

Inaddition,12informativeAnnexeshavebeenaddedtotherevisedstandard,including
amongstotherinformationaboutthenewlyintroducedparameters,ignition/
combustionpropertiesandinterpretationontestresults.
Forshipswherenogradeorcategoryhasbeenadvised,theappropriategradebasedon
orderedmaximumviscosityandtypeofengineswillbeusedforspecification
comparison.
Inordertousethemostsuitablespecification,weurgeallclientstoclearlyindicatethe
specificationagainstwhichtheyarepurchasingtheirfuelforeachindividualshipin
ordertoupdateourdatabaseaccordingly.
WealsourgeallclientstoobtainacopyoftheISO8217:2010Standard,whichis
availablethroughISO(www.ISO.org)ortheirrespectiveNationalStandardsInstitute.On
theISOwebpage,youwillfindthenamesandaddresses,includingemailsandURL,of
thememberbodies.
AlthoughISO8217:2010,tables1and2arethepartofthestandardmostlyused,itis
importanttoemphasizethatthestandardcontainslotsofusefulinformation,for

exampleClause5dealingwithcontaminantsandAnnexBdiscussingthisissueinmore
details.
Tables1and2ofthepreviousaswellasthelatestISO8217specificationsareavailable
inBunkerMaster.PleaseclickherefortheISO8217:2010standard.

OilCompanyFuelSpecifications
Someofthemajoroilcompanieshaveproducedtheirownfuelspecifications.The
marinefuelspecificationsissuedbyShellareprobablythemostcomprehensiveand
provideShellcustomerswithdetailsoffuelswhichtheyshouldexpecttoreceivewhen
orderingdistillateandresidualfuels.Inadditiontoprovidinggeneralcharacteristics
Shellalsoindicateswheregeographicalvariancesmayexist.Fulldetailscanbefoundin
theirbooklet'Knowyourfuels'.Otherfuelsuppliersalsoproducefuelspecificationsfor
internalqualitycontrolandforinformationtocustomers.Fuelbuyersareadvisedtoask
theirfuelsupplierforthesespecifications,however,theyshouldalwaysbereadin
conjunctionwiththe'termsandconditionsofsale'ofthesupplier.

SelectingaFuelGrade
Residualfuels
Marinefuelsshouldneverbeorderedonthebasisofviscosityalone.Thiscanleadto
prolongedandcostlydisputesandclaims.Therefore,carefullyevaluatethe
requirementsoftheshipandrefertothecurrentInternationalStandards.Thestarting
pointshouldbeacarefulstudyoftheheatingcapacitiesoftheshipregardingstorage
tanksandfuelsystemheaters.ThisshouldprovidelimitsforviscosityandPourPoint.
Amaximumlimitfordensitycanbeestablishedbycheckingthedesigncriteriaofthe
centrifuge.
TheShipowner/Managershouldbeabletoestablishthemanufacturer'srangesorlimits
foratleastthefollowingparameters:Water,Ash,Sulphur,CarbonResidue,Vanadium,
Sodium,Aluminium+Silicon.Sometimesthemanufacturermayalsoreferto
Vanadium/Sodiumratios.
Mostoften,180cStfuelsarenobetter'than380cStor500cStfuelswiththelatter
beingcheaperandageneralpolicyshouldbetousethehighestviscositypossiblewith
respecttotheheatingcapabilityandcentrifugecapacityofthetotalfuelsystem.Infact,
themarineenginesaredesignedtooperateonhighviscosityfueloilswhich(provided
theyarenotcontaminated)willoftenneedlessconsiderationthanoperationon
distillatefuels.
Oncetheabovereviewhasbeencarriedout,theshipownerormanagerhastodecideif
hewishestopresentindividualfuelspecificationsforeachvesseltofuelpurchasersor
asclausesinacharterparty.

Themainprobleminissuingalongfuelspecificationtoasupplieristhathewillprobably
replythathisfuelwillbetoISOstandardsandthatisallhewillguarantee.Some
supplierswillnotevenguaranteeasmuch.Inreality,thesupplierprobablydoesnot
haveadetailedanalysisreportonthefuelhehasforsaleandthebuyerwillactasthe
qualityassuranceadvisor.(Ifheisusingafuelanalysisservice).
Averylonganddetailedfuelspecificationinacharterpartymaynotbedesirableasthis
maydeterpotentialchartererswhomayselectasimilarvesselwithlessrigidfuel
requirements.However,thispointisdebatableandtightfuelspecificationsinacharter
partyareimperativeshouldadisputearise.
Withalltheaboveinmind,itissuggestedthattheInternationalFuelStandardISO
8217:2010andsubsequentrevisionsshouldbeusedasabasisforallorderingand
charteringstatementsonfuelquality.
Usingallthedatacollectedfromthereviewofthequalityrequirementsfortheengine
storageandfueltreatmentplant,theownershouldthenstudytheISOstandardand
selectagradewhichgivesparametersnearesttothevesselrequirements.
Asanexample,anOwnermayhavedecidedthatISORME180wouldsuitaparticular
vessel,butalsowishestoexpresslystatealimitforFCAECN(FuelCombustionAnalysis
EstimatedCetaneNumber),whichisnotcoveredintheStandard.Thefollowingclause
wouldthenbesuitableintheCharterParty:
'FuelformainenginetomeetISO8217:2010RME180andsubsequentrevisionsthereof.
AdditionallyFCACNnottobebelow18.'

Selectingfuelsforauxiliaryengines
Onmostships,auxiliaryenginesaredesignedtousethesameresidualfuelasthemain
engine.InwhichcasetheShipownershouldensurethatthefuelbuyermakespurchases
withreferencetothecorrectISO8217fuelgradeasdiscussedabove.
Althoughtheseenginesmayhavebeendesignedtooperateonresidualfuels,care
shouldbetakentoavoidlongperiodsoflowloadoperation.Thiscouldleadtofuel
ignitionandcombustionproblemsresultinginadditionalenginefoulingand
consequentialhighermaintenancecosts.
Fuelblendershavebeenfittedtosomeauxiliaryenginefuelsystemswhichallowthe
operatortoblendresidualanddistillatefuels.Asthequalityoftheresidualanddistillate
blendcomponentswillvaryoneachdelivery,theoptimumblendrationeedstobe
frequentlycalculatedandadjusted.Toassisttheircustomerswhouseblenders,DNV
PetroleumServicesoffera'BlendOptimisationProgram'.Afteranalysisofboththe
residualanddistillatefuels,theauxiliaryenginefuelspecificationlimitsarereferenced
inordertocalculatetheminimumamountofdistillaterequiredintheblend.Significant
savingsindistillateconsumptionhavebeenmadebyShipownersusingthisservice.In
additiontheywillbeassuredthatthecorrectfuelqualitylimitsfortheenginearebeing
maintained.

DistillateFuels
SomemarineauxiliaryenginesoperateonMarineDieselOilorMarineGasOil.Although
distillatefuelsaremoreexpensivethanresiduals,theyrequirelesstreatmentand
heatingisnotnecessary.TheMarineDieselOilsmayhowever,containasmallamount
ofresidualcomponent.
ISO8217:2010providesfourdistillatefuelgrades,DMX,DMA,DMZandDMB.

DMXisapuredistillatefuelandduetoitslowerflashpointmayonlybestored
andusedoutsidetheshipsmainmachineryspace.Itisusuallypurchasedforuse
inemergencyengines.
DMAisalsoapuredistillateandshouldbeabrightandclearproduct.Thisfuel
maybereferredtoasMarineGasoil.
DMZisalsoapuredistillatebutwithahigherminimumviscositythanDMA.
DMBissimilartoDMAbutmayhaveaverysmall(trace)amountofresidual
componentandthereforecanbeblackinappearance.

DNVPetroleumServicessuggeststhatDMXisorderedforemergencyequipment.Ifthe
OwnerwishestooperateauxiliariesonMarineGasoilthisshouldbeorderedonthe
basisofDMAorDMZ.Theenginemanufacturersrecommendationsaboutminimum
viscosityshouldbefollowed.
SomefuelpurchasersdonotusetheISOgradesbutmerelystatethattheywishto
purchaseMarineDieselOil,Inwhichcasethesupplierwouldmostlikelyassumethisto
beISODMB.
RecentdatafromDNVPetroleumServicesshowthatmostorderedanddeliveredDMB
gradesareinfactDMAgrades.Forexampledensity,viscosity,sulphurandflashpoint
areoftenlowerforDMAgradesthanforDMBgrades.