Maritime industry lubricant specialist Lukoil Marine Lubricants Ltd. reported that it expanded sales in the 2012 business year by 74% to around $200 million.
Established in 2008, the subsidiary of Russian oil group Lukoil continues to grow rapidly. As Lukoil Marine Lubricants CEO Victor Zhuravskiy recently explained in Hamburg, “Totally supported by our parent company, we have succeeded in developing an efficient, global enterprise that is currently leading the sector in terms of growth.”
As for operative and technical expertise, since entering into the global lubricating oil business Lukoil has relied on its Hamburg site. “Here we are in close proximity to our customers, because Germany, and Hamburg in particular, remains one of the world’s most important shipping hubs. The combination of Russian raw materials, worldwide leading additive technology and German engineering has become a total success factor for us.” To round off the connection to Hamburg, shipping line Hapag-Lloyd’s Hamburg Express also uses Lukoil products for lubrication.
Stefan Claussen, technical and marketing director at the Lukoil Marine Lubricants Hamburg office, sees two factors as being the main reasons for success: “In contrast to our rivals, we are constantly further expanding our global network. The worldwide availability of our lubricants is now better than that of the other suppliers. In addition, we were the first company to recognise the requirement for new, high alkaline cylinder lubrication oil and began development at an early stage.” According to Claussen, rival companies failed to recognise the technical coherences at an early stage and have only just started new developments to simultaneously reduce high wear and consumption.
The practice today of reducing ship speeds (slow steaming) can significantly reduce fuel consumption costs. However, the constant partial and low burdening of a ship‘s engines requires high alkaline cylinder lubrication oils with a base number of at least 70 mg KOH/g – a measurement of the capability for neutralising acidic residue that forms during the combustion of heavy oil. The performance, consumption and emissions of ship engines have been further optimised in recent years, resulting in ultra-long-stroke engines that are operated at even lower rpms. At full load, the disadvantages of the recently launched lubricating oils with reduced base numbers of 50 mg to 60 mg KOH/g are indistinct. “The new operating conditions and new engines require a higher than ever level of alkalinity in the cylinder lubrication oil, which can be achieved either through increasing consumption or increasing cylinder lubrication oil alkalinity to, ideally, 100 mg KOH/g,” explained Stefan Claussen. “Whether under slow steaming conditions or in the new consumption-optimised engines, the consumption of cylinder lubrication oil with a higher base number is significantly reduced by up to 25 to 45 percent and protection against wear is also enhanced.”
Lukoil consequently recommends the use of cylinder lubrication oils with base numbers of 70 and 100 mg KOH/g to its customers. The ‘flagship’ product amongst these is the newly developed LUKOIL NAVIGO 100 MCL. “We can see ourselves as the global market leader with this product. It not only reduces the rate of wear, but also the operating costs,” declared Claussen. “In cooperation with the engine manufacturers MAN and Wärtsilä, we have demonstrated the new oil’s performance capability on a variety of ship engines. As an example, the wear rate was improved and cylinder oil consumption reduced in a state-of-the-art MAN S80ME-C Mk 9.2.