With demand for reliable energy supply ever more important, one of the biggest concerns among turbine users is unplanned downtime.

Below are five steps you can take to get the most out of your turbines and keep them operating at their maximum efficiency.


Turbine oil cleanliness is key to ensuring the longest equipment and lubricant life.

Contamination may result in the formation of deposits and varnish, which can significantly:

  • reduce the life of bearings and gears
  • affect servo valve operation
  • promote system foaming

That is why you need to inspect your system frequently and ensure that your filtration system is in full working order.


If water cannot separate from the oil, free water or an oil-in-water emulsion is created and may interfere with the oil film needed to support the loads carried by the bearings.

Water can:

  • promote rust and corrosion, 
  • speed up the rate of oil oxidation 
  • promote other degradation processes such as hydrolysis. 

Water levels should be monitored using a good oil analysis programme. Water contamination limits should be checked against manufacturers’ recommendations but, in general, water levels should be kept below 500 ppm for gas turbines and 1,000 ppm for steam turbines.


All turbine oils should be subjected to a proactive oil analysis monitoring.

Many published turbine oil condition monitoring guidelines are available from ASTM, ISO and various equipment manufacturers and lubricant suppliers


It is critical to trace any oil leaks to their source and to eliminate them as soon as possible.

The following culprits are common sources:

  • Bearing seals
  • Oil-supply lines
  • Valve connections
  • Cooler tube joints


Keeping accurate records will alert you to sudden changes, to enable quick investigation.


  • Oil and water to and from the coolers
  • Oil in reservoirs
  • Oil return from main bearings
  • Oil inlet to purification equipment.


  • Turbine operating hours
  • Oil condition, laboratory results and service hours
  • Time and amount of make-up oil added to system
  • Time of filter changes and service hours
  • Any repairs or replacements.




Shell Turbo - Turbine oils

The Shell Turbo range of turbine oil has been developed to ensure outstanding oxidative stability and to resist the effects of water contamination on turbines and turbocompressors.

Shell LubeChat

Our new Shell LubeChat tool puts a huge range of Shell knowledge at your fingertips. With 24/7 online chat, you can always get answers to your oils and lubes questions, enabling you to make faster, better-informed decisions that can ultimately help to bring down your total cost of ownership.

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