ExxonMobil has released best practice guidance for oil and gas operators in selecting Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants that help limit environmental impact without compromising performance.
Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants are based on three main base stocks: polyglycols, vegetable oils and synthetic esters. When purchasing such lubricants, consider three things:
- Lubricant base stock: Those based on synthetic esters perform well across a wide range of temperatures, have a high viscosity index, possess good lubricity, provide excellent corrosion protection and have high oxidative stability.
- Lubricant compatibility: Most based on synthetic esters are compatible with mineral oils, so long as less than 2% of the previous oil change remains. Using a compatible lubricant when converting from mineral oil products will also reduce the need for solvent flushing. ExxonMobil recommends draining the system as much as possible to maximise the new product’s technological benefits.
- Lubricant performance: Those based on synthetic esters possess very good low and high temperature properties and can have good hydrolytic stability depending on the ester. And because of the polarity of ester molecules, Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants based on synthetic esters tend to create a film that requires additional energy load to wipe it off.
Last year, ExxonMobil launched Mobil SHCTM Hydraulic Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant, a synthetic ester-based readily biodegradable hydraulic oil that protects equipment and can help improve energy efficiency of hydraulic equipment by up to 3.6%. The high-performance lubricant also carries Blue Angel, Swedish Standard, EU Ecolabel claims and has low toxicity, making it ideally suited for equipment used in sensitive environments, such as offshore oil and gas applications.