The Bottom of the Barrel Drives Global Trade – Residual Fuel Oil
Residual fuel oil is something that is not admired or wanted by many. However, did you know that the transport of many consumer goods is dependent on it? Residual fuel oil is used to power the majority of vessels and large ships.
World trade is reliant on these cargo ships that use residual fuel oil. Residual fuel oil is basically the leftover fuel when oil is being produced.
The majority of oil is of very high value. However, the bits at the bottom of the barrel that aren’t of great value, which are often called scraps are the residual oils. Other names for these fuels are number 5 fuel oil, number 6 fuel oil, bunker fuel or maritime fuel oil.
The main expense for a vessel is generally fuel. For example, a large vessel making a long journey can easily spend up to £1 million on fuel. Depending on its speed and size, a ship can use between 60,000 and 400,000 litres of fuel in one day. However, bunker oil is more economical as it is less expensive than other fuels, such as diesel. This is good news for shipowners because as we saw above they consume a huge amount of fuel. That’s why ships use residual fuel. A journey may not always result in a profit for a ship; therefore it is important that the shipowner calculates the price of the fuel before making the journey.
To improve flow properties and viscosity, number 5 fuel oil also known as Bunker B is frequently blended with lighter oils.
Marine fuel oil or Bunker C is the oil that is left in the barrel after all the valuable oil has been removed. Therefore, it can be said that it is the 100% true residual oil. It is also referred to as number 6 fuel oil.