MT: With another round of emissions standards just around the corner, engine manufacturers require some help to meet the new standard. Ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) is required in addition to a new formula of engine oil to lower Nox and PM to EPA-approved levels in 2007. Where are you in terms of ULSD development?
JP: We were scheduled to start producing ULSD according to specifications at the Petro-Canada Edmonton and Montreal Refineries on June 1, 2006.
MT: How about PC-10? Where are you in terms of developing the new engine oil specification?
JP: Our Mississauga lubricants plant was one of the first in the world to produce hydro-treated low sulphur lubricant base stocks almost 30 years ago. We are well prepared for this new specification and aim to have PC-10 (API CJ-4) heavy-duty engine oils available to our customers this year, in advance of when they acquire their 2007 EPA-compliant engines.
MT: Earlier this year you held a seminar in Winnipeg for customers, where you were very candid about your expectations for ULSD and PC-10. What kind of feedback have you received? Are customers more or less concerned about the implications of ULSD and PC-10?
JP: From the ULSD perspective, there has been customer concern about how long it will take to turn the product over in their tanks to meet the 15 ppm sulphur spec’ required in their new engines.
In terms of PC-10, lubricant consolidation is critical to fleets in terms of reducing costs and the risk of misapplication. Fleets have publicly stated that they will resist carrying two heavy-duty engine oils – one for their 2007 engines and a CI-4 Plus quality oil for their legacy engines. The American Petroleum Institute (API) requires that PC-10 heavy-duty engine oils be backserviceable and from what we have observed in field trials, our PC-10 prototypes have shown very good extended drain capability and excellent soot control and wear metal performance. Combine this with the introduction of ULSD and we feel confident that fleets will see good performance out of a premium PC-10 heavy-duty engine oil like DURON.
MT: Petro-Canada has set an ambitious target of achieving 6 ppm at the refinery for its ULSD. At the Technology and Maintenance Council meetings in Tampa, I heard 8-12 ppm will be the target for US refiners. Is Petro-Canada being overly cautious?
JP: The target at the Refinery Blend Header is 6 ppm and the target at the Refinery gate is 8 ppm. This is an industry-agreed-to-limit in Canada. This only leaves 7 ppm allowable pick-up during distribution which can happen in four handoffs: the refinery; terminal; bulk plant; and station. We are minimizing pickup at each handoff point and will be checking to ensure we meet the 15 ppm maximum limit.
MT: Recent comments from engine manufacturers suggest that concerns about using 500 ppm fuel in the ’07 engines were initially overstated. Manufacturers are now saying there will be very little consequence from filling 07 trucks with 500 ppm fuel beyond premature clogging of the diesel particulate filter. Your thoughts?
JP: That is not my understanding. Higher sulphur fuel reduces durability. Running a 500 ppm sulphur fuel in a 2007 EPA compliant engine equipped with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) would shorten the intended life of that filter, leading to more downtime and increased maintenance costs for fleets.
MT: Getting back to PC-10, how much will the oil cost once it’s available on the market? Will there be an upcharge?
JP: Costs and pricing have not yet been finalized. Significant investment has gone into developing this category. A single PC-10 engine test program alone is now over the US$1M mark. As well, the move to lower phosphorus, sulphur and sulfated ash limits with PC-10 takes us into an area of very expensive additive chemistry.
MT: At what cost point does it make sense to stock entirely PC-10?
JP: In addition to cost, there are a number of other fleet-specific factors that would go into determining this tipping point. However, industry surveys suggest that fleets would consider carrying dual inventories if PC-10 heavy-duty engine oils are priced greater than 30% versus their current CI-4 Plus product.
MT: Petro-Canada has acknowledged that the ULSD may be “less-responsive” than today’s fuel, causing drivers to over-compensate, resulting in a loss of fuel mileage. What do drivers need to know about ULSD and how it will affect the operation of their equipment?
JP: A more refined fuel with less density can affect power (providing less power), causing overcompensation and decreasing fuel economy. However, it is anticipated that engine control systems will offset this loss.
MT: With the introduction of ULSD and PC-10, there is a lot of uncertainty and it can be expected that there will be plenty of additives introduced to the market. What would you advise customers in terms of what is and isn’t a safe additive for diesel fuel or engine oil?
JP: We will additize our diesel fuel with adequate lubricity additive to meet customer requirements; therefore an aftermarket lubricity additive is not required. Too much lubricity additive or a poor quality lubricity additive can cause injector sticking problems. DURON is a premium heavy-duty engine oil and we would strongly recommend against using engine oil additives – they are simply not needed.
MT: Why should the end-user be excited about ULSD?
JP: ULSD will benefit our environment – fewer emissions are a good thing!
JP: In addition to the benefits already mentioned, the PC-10 backserviceability and potential lubricant consolidation opportunities is exciting news for fleets.
MT: Finally, for cross-border truckers, what should they be aware of when filling up south of the border? There may be two grades of diesel fuel available.
JP: If you have a vehicle that requires 15 ppm sulphur diesel, make sure you do not fill with a higher sulphur diesel fuel. It’s as simple as that.