Bad bunker fuel

Bunker fuel supplied in Singapore are largely imported from refiners all over the world as local refineries are not able to supply more than a small part of the amount of bunker fuel sold in Singapore.

1 Like

Fracking chemicals in the oil which is not tested for?

Don’t know if this is in response to the above, but very timely introduction:

PS> It doesn’t say where the HSFO originated from.
It has been known that mixing it in Bunker Fuel has been used as a handy way to dispose of hazardous waste in some instances.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons are widely used in many industries and in many types of pesticides etc.

Incl. in Fracking Fluid??

All sounds similar to the fuel that sent a few vessels dark a few years ago.
One large container ship leaving Port Klang, blacked out.
Thats was fracking chemical in the oil that were not then tested for.

It state this was a “blended product”, but it doesn’t say where it was “blended” and what was the origin of the the fuels that went into the “blend”.

PS> PetroChina is a major bunker suppliers in Singapore;
They gets their supply from several sources, Glencore being one of them.

It could be spreading far and wide;

Chlorinated organics and many toxins dangerous to human health are not part of standard testing for ship fuel oils. Some of these compounds have been associated with wear and combustability issues, as well as incompatibility with fuel additives used in the blending process to adjust viscosity, flash and pour point.

Feedstock for HFO is widely varied. The API lists over 30 feedstock fuel oils by grade that are used as the base componant. At feedstock level for HFO, hydrocarbon content is widely varied, mostly being long-chain hydrocarbons, (20-50 carbon atoms long) but short chain hydrocarbons (7-20 C atoms) can be used too… the takeaway here is that at feedstock level, flash and pour points are the biggest concern chemically in both feedstocks AND addatives as the quality of the HFO is brought to final quality based on using the absolute minimum addition of the more expensive cutting stock (MGO or similar) to produce the required sulfur, viscosity, flash and pour points while diluting down levels of metals (which are only partially standardized in terms of testing).

It is common for suppliers to use low-quality feedstocks based on price and availability, and the results are quite varied. I can definitely see them being used to dispose of unwanted componants, as reprocessed (read:trash) oils are often blended into feedstocks. HAFO oils, heavy on aromatics, have a bad habit of plasticising (polymerizing), turning semi-solid because of low pour points, and there is NO standard for mixing feedstock and cutting stock to ensure consistent blending.  This is a critical point of failure! 

It is normal for suppliers to blend partially blended HFO with cutting stock in the tanks of bunker vessels just prior to sale, without adequate mixing. As a result, the cutting stock will not fully blend with the feedstock. This results in non-representative testing results- YMMV.

Imagine that a ship orders 2000 tons of VLSFO with sulfur under 0.5%. The supplier may purchase VLSFO from a refiner, or may only have a much cheaper high viscosity high sulfur fuel oil on hand like RMK-500, and cut it with a light oil like MGO or maybe they have some Jet fuel that can’t pass quality inspection because it was improperly stored or was slightly contaminated but is ‘good enough’ to be sold as MGO or cutting stock).
Maybe it has COC’s in it, like enormously toxic carbon tetrachloride (parts cleaner).
Maybe the refiner used HAFO oil as a feedstock, high in aromatics, including short chain hydrocarbons like ketone peroxides that will act like a catalyst and cause only a particular carbon molecule chain that makes up 1% of the feedstock to partially polymerize, and now you have solid lumps of feedstock hydrocarbons that settle in the bottom half of the tank; but hey, they also bound up some of the sulfur too, and the testing agency only pulled samples from close to the surface of the tank… and the sulfur is compliant there, but the bunker tanker only pumped out part of each tank to give to a ship, and the suction point on a bunker tank is the lowest point in a tank. Where all the solid uncombustable lumps and sulfur is. So now the end user has off-spec fuel that was on-spec when tested, and the 3rd AE now has fuel centrifuges with basically Bakelite that has to be chipped out to be removed.
That’s happening today, and not just in Singapore and Houston, and every case isn’t extreme; there are many subacute issues that can be dealt with before a crisis happens. Point being, feedstock componants and final quality are still too variable to ensure consistant quality ship fuels, and contamination issues will continue until a standardized quality control program and more stringent standards AND representative testing conyrols are established.

Glencore? What could go wrong? :joy:

Is that the fuel that comes with one stripper per 500 tons?

1 Like

MPA has completed their investigation of the case:

Never so bad it isn’t good for somebody. (Usually Lawyers):

You are warned!!: