Fuel Oil

The Group has been a key player in fuel oil in the Mediterranean region since 1972. Our trading activities have increased in the Eastern Mediterranean and trading opportunities have further expanded through term supplies in various geographical regions. BB Energy has mainly sourced from the Americas, Red Sea, the Arab Gulf and the Indian sub-continent regions, depending on arbitrage opportunities.

Fuel oil (also known as heavy oil, marine fuel or furnace oil) is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. In general terms, fuel oil is any liquid fuel that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash point of approximately 42 °C (108 °F) and oils burned in cotton or wool-wick burners. Fuel oil is made of long hydrocarbon chains, particularly alkanes, cycloalkanes and aromatics. The term fuel oil is also used in a stricter sense to refer only to the heaviest commercial fuel that can be obtained from crude oil, i.e., heavier than gasoline and naphtha. Small molecules like those in propane, naphtha, gasoline for cars, and jet fuel have relatively low boiling points, and they are removed at the start of the fractional distillation process. Heavier petroleum products like Diesel and lubricating oil are much less volatile and distill out more slowly, while bunker oil is literally the bottom of the barrel; in oil distilling, the only things denser than bunker fuel are carbon black feedstock and bituminous residue (asphalt), which is used for paving roads and sealing roofs.

Residual Fuel

Residual fuel oil is less useful because it is so viscous that it has to be heated with a special heating system before use and it may contain relatively high amounts of pollutants, particularly sulfur, which forms sulfur dioxide upon combustion. However, its undesirable properties make it very cheap. In fact, it is the cheapest liquid fuel available. Since it requires heating before use, residual fuel oil cannot be used in road vehicles, boats or small ships, as the heating equipment takes up valuable space and makes the vehicle heavier. Heating the oil is also a delicate procedure, which is impractical on small, fast moving vehicles. However, power plants and large ships are able to use residual fuel oil.

What We Did

For comparison, BS 2869 Class G heavy fuel oil behaves in similar fashion, requiring storage at 40 °C (104 °F), pumping at around 50 °C (122 °F) and finalizing for burning at around 90–120 °C (194–248 °F). Most of the facilities which historically burned No. 6 or other residual oils were industrial plants and similar facilities constructed in the early or mid 20th century, or which had switched from coal to oil fuel during the same time period. In either case, residual oil was seen as a good prospect because it was cheap and readily available. Most of these facilities have subsequently been closed and demolished, or have replaced their fuel supplies with a simpler one such as gas or No. 2 oil. The high sulfur content of No. 6 oil—up to 3% by weight in some extreme cases—had a corrosive effect on many heating systems (which were usually designed without adequate corrosion protection in mind), shortening their lifespans and increasing the polluting effects. This was particularly the case in furnaces that were regularly shut down and allowed to go cold, since the internal condensation produced sulfuric acid.

  • IFO380 & IFO180 are Max 3.5% Sulfur Bunkers (RME, RMF, RMG, RMH, RMK)
  • LS380 & LS180 are Max 1.0% Sulfur Bunkers
  • ULSFO is Max 0.10% Sulfur Fuel Oil for Compliance with 2015 ECA Regulations
  • MGO is, unless otherwise specified, a Max 1.50% Sulfur "Clear and Bright" Distillate (DMA, DMZ)
  • LSMGO is Max 0.10% Sulfur Distillate (DMA, DMZ) for Compliance with 2015 ECA Regulations
  • MDO is Max 1.50% Sulfur Distillate (DMB)