Higher demand for low-BN-lubricants. Roman Miroshnichenko's comments for HANSA magazine
As a result of tightening of the SOx limits, the strongest impact Gazpromneft Marine Lubricants felt, was a significant increase in demand for low-BN cylinder lubricants. In 2019, their share in MDCL sales structure was only 27 %, at the end of 2020 it reached 75 % and in the first quarter 2021 it stabilized at level of 80 %. In TPEO (trunk-piston oils) section BN30 SAE 30/40 oils are the most requested. Their share in 2021 retains at level of 45 %.
»Ahead of 2020, we aimed to accurately forecast the shift in demand«, says Roman Miroshnichenko, Managing Director at Gazpromneft Marine Lubricants. »It was essential to adjust the production schedule and provide the stable products availability in every country of our presence. It was also necessary not to accumulate excessive stock for less demanded products to avoid additional expenses and to offer the best prices to our customers.«
Due to the new limits the Russian company came into 2020 with a brand new product line. Gazpromneft Ocean engine oils were developed in 2017 to meet all the upcoming IMO 2020 requirements. Therefore when the 2020 had to come Gazpromneft Ocean two-stroke and four-stroke oils were already approved by key OEMs.
»We have also provided our customers with Professional Technical Service PLUS that was highly demanded. Between November 2019 and May 2020, the number of requests for technical specialists assistance increased by 1,75 times compared to the average, and seven out of ten shipowners ordered unscheduled laboratory tests of working oil for at least one of their fleet‘s vessels,« Miroshnichenko says. He continues, »Diesel engineering actual trends put in a constant request for new lubricants grades with extended properties. Therefore, the developing new products is one of the permanent processes in our company. We expect to provide the market with cutting-edge improved cylinder oils in 2022«.
As with other companies, the pandemic also thwarted some plans at Gazpromneft Lubricants. »Since 2019, we worked hard to enter the USA market and were close to accomplish it. However, we decided that it is to adventurously expanding to another continent during the pandemic. Therefore, we postponed the exit first to 2021 but as the situation in global is still unstable, we look towards 2022,« says Miroshnichenko.
At the same time, the company is succeeding in Asia. In October 2020, they entered China’s market and did it distantly. »This country is very special for us, as the very first announcement of the Gazpromneft Ocean product range took place on Marinetec China forum. Nowadays we look ahead to the zero emission future. Quite soon, the whole industry will start preparing for IMO 2030 and IMO 2050«, Miroshnichenko believes.
The greatest challenge for manufacturers is a question of the direction that the industry will choose to achieve the decarbonization goals. »There are uncertainty and too many fuel options on the market and every one of them will require a special product solution«. Miroshnichenko expects that in the medium term, LNG may become one of the main fuels that will be widely used in international shipping, as it is already quite demanded. »Nevertheless, we have to determine the clear line of new developments in three to five years perspective to stay relevant«, he concludes.