MANUFACTURED locally at Viva Energy’s Geelong Refinery, its new very low sulphur fuel is the first of its kind to be produced in Australasia. The fuel, which has been in development for over 12 months, has been successfully trialled by a number of customers and is now available in Melbourne and Geelong.

The VLSFO is designed to meet new International Maritime Organization regulations that will limit the sulphur content in marine fuels to 0.5% from the current level of 3.5%. Vessels worldwide will be required to comply with the regulation from 1 January 2020.

Viva Energy CEO, Scott Wyatt said, “The introduction of this new fuel is a significant milestone for Viva Energy and our shipping customers.

“By leveraging our technical and local refining expertise, we have created a high-quality fuel that ships can rely on to ensure compliance with the new regulations, with no detriment to operational safety and efficiency, while driving significant savings versus other fuels such as marine gas oil.”

Viva Energy supplies approximately a quarter of Australia’s liquid fuel requirements and is the exclusive supplier of Shell fuels and lubricants.

In comparing Viva Energy’s new VLSFO to other IMO2020 compliant fuels, namely diesel and MGO, the company said the new fuel has some notable advantages, including an expected price benefit.

Thys Heyns, Geelong Refinery’s general manager said, “Viva Energy’s VLSFO is expected to be cheaper than diesel and MGO.

“Its viscosity and lubricity are better than diesel’s, and it is higher in density meaning ships have the ability to run further on VLSFO.”

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The company said compared to high sulphur fuel oil, VLSFO is superior in terms of fuel economy, ignition characteristics and the environmental benefits it has through reduced emissions.

“Because we manufacture the fuel locally ourselves, we have full control over the process and can guarantee a high quality and consistent product. This means less risk and no surprises for our customers who use the fuel,” Mr Heyns said.

“It is compatible with most existing fuel systems on board, meaning ships can use the fuel without having to make significant upgrades.”

TT-Line, operator of Spirit of Tasmania I and II, is the first customer to make the switch to Viva Energy’s VLSFO following a successful trial in July and August this year.

Spirit of Tasmania general manager marine operations Captain Stuart Michael, said, “Based on trial conditions, VLSFO has shown itself to be a suitable fuel for burning in the main engines and the auxiliary engines of Spirit of Tasmania vessels.

“The trial proved the fuel to be volatile and allowed the engines to reach maximum power output. Operating pressures and temperatures were within acceptable limits and similar to those when operating on MGO or MFO380.

“Adverse wear to fuel injection equipment has not occurred under trial conditions. The ME’s fuel oil circulation and filtration system was not compromised with the change to VLSFO. Trial conditions have recorded a minimum 3% saving in consumption overall compared to MFO380, ” Captain Michael said.

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