A point of reference in a changing world

Over the last few years the international marine industry has experienced significant change. Vessel owners and operators are under pressure to reduce operating costs and drive efficiency like never before. New, ever larger vessels are now commonplace – with container ship capacity increasing to almost 20,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU). New highly efficient engines have been introduced by the major manufacturers and new emissions controls have come into place with low sulphur ECAs being introduced in Europe and North America. This period of uncertainty is unlikely to end soon. Fuel prices remain volatile – so operating conditions such as slow steaming and turbo-charger cut out are still widely deployed. In addition the focus on reducing sulphur and NOx emissions and increasing the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) of ships will continue well into the future.

Cost pressures and changing legislation make investing in new and modified engine designs more attractive. However, both new and older engines that are highly de-rated or regularly operated on low-load or with turbocharger cut-out can suffer from excessive acid stress. Under certain slow steaming conditions, almost 300% more acid can be produced compared with older-generation engines. Unless acid production is controlled, this level of acidity can cause severe corrosive wear that leads to high maintenance costs. In addition vessels are now likely to see very different types of fuel during a single voyage – having a single lubricant on board may no longer be a viable option.

At Shell Marine Products, we understand and anticipate the various challenges that shipping companies face. This has led to us developing four Shell Alexia cylinder oils designed to cover all operating conditions. Shell Alexia cylinder oils can help to prevent corrosion, can be used to minimise feed rates and, ultimately, contribute towards reduced operating costs. The technical DNA of these oils is underpinned by our rigorous scientific understanding of oil stress and their proven performance in the field.

A team of technical experts is ready to help you to overcome operational complexities by recommending the right lubricant. Our experts are ready to work with you on identifying the right lubrication strategies to help simplify your operations and on tailoring our services to your requirements, thereby helping to reduce your operating costs.

Oil stress and your engine

Oil stress in a lubricant can cause the product to degrade and become less effective. Two-stroke engine cylinder oil is exposed to four oil-stress factors:

  • acid stress
  • thermal stress
  • insolubles stress
  • humidity stress.

These stresses increase significantly under slow-steaming conditions because of the longer oil residence time in the cylinder. In fact, a reduction in engine load from 90% to 30% was found to cause a threefold increase in lubricant residence time. For some oils, a slightly longer oil residence time could cause rapid deterioration in lubricant performance, thereby affecting your engine’s performance.

Shell alexia portfolio

“Whatever your engine, fuel or operating conditions, there is a Shell Alexia cylinder oil you can rely on.”


Base number (BN)

SAE engine viscosity grade

Product features

Shell Alexia S6

100 50 High-performance cylinder oil providing enhanced protection in the most demanding new or modified engines1

Shell Alexia 50

70 50 Shell’s main grade cylinder oil for the majority of engines using heavy fuel oil. Millions of running hours have seen Shell Alexia 50 deliver exceptionally clean pistons and rings

Shell Alexia S42

60 40 Suitable for low-sulphur, heavy fuel oil applications1

Shell Alexia S3

25 50 For use in Emission Control Areas (ECA) with low-sulphur and distillate fuels with up to 0.5% sulphur1. Excellent cleanliness and protection for all engine types

1For detailed application advice based on your specific engine type and operating conditions, please refer to manufacturers’ guidelines.

2Available at selected ports. For further information, please contact your Account Manager.

Shell Alexia S6 – BN 100: developed to protect engines from cold corrosion and designed to reduce the cost of maintaining new and modified engines

Shell Alexia 50 – BN 70: suitable for the majority of low-speed, crosshead diesel engines running on heavy fuel oil with up to 3.5% sulphur

Shell Alexia S4 – BN 60: suitable for two-stroke engines operating on low-sulphur, heavy fuel oil1,2

Shell Alexia S3 – BN 25: formulated specifically to protect low-speed, two-stroke diesel engines operating with low sulphur fuels, including marine gas oil and distillate fuel, and fuel oil containing up to 0.5% sulphur1, in ECAs

1For detailed application advice based on your specific engine type and operating conditions, please refer to manufacturers’ guidelines.
2Available at selected ports. For further information, please contact your Account Manager.