June 19, 2018

Shell and ExxonMobil Come to Blows Over Sub-Standard Oil

Sub-Standard Oil

Sub-Standard Oil

Mobil-branded Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 Under Fire

Historically, major players in the Big Oil arena have refrained from taking shots at one another, maintaining a relatively cordial level of competition. But recently two industry giants took aim at one another – Shell and ExxonMobil – over heavy duty diesel engine oil not passing industry standard testing. The product in question – Mobil-branded Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 is said to have failed a test for oxidation stability, making it supposedly non-compliant. In a recent press release, and according to a Lubes’N’Greases article, Shell claimed that “Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 failed the Volvo T-13 test, which is part of API CK-4, as well as specifications of engine manufacturers, Volvo, Cummins and Detroit Diesel.”

Sub-Standard Oil – The Failed Test

The industry test that Shell claims the Delvac 1300 product failed is the Volvo T-13 – a test that set the formulation setting for the PC 11/API CK-4 specifications. These specifications test the boundaries of lubricant performance for oxidation stability for trucks to extend drain intervals and improve bearing protection. Driven by the EPA, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and key engine manufacturer’s goals for increased fuel economy standards and to decrease emissions, PC 11 (now referred to as CK-4 and FA-4) heavy duty engine oils are a new generation of diesel engine oils. Shell’s claim that the ExxonMobile-branded Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 is a sub-standard oil that does not meet industry standards is a major blow to the integrity of the product.

ExxonMobile’s Response

In response to Shell’s claims, ExxonMobil is insisting that the Delvac 1300 product did indeed pass the Volvo T-13, along with other required tests, stating:

“ExxonMobil stands by the quality of our products and has re-affirmed for our distributors and customers that Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 carries valid OEM approvals and API CK-4 licensing. In addition, Volvo has confirmed that the Volvo VDS-4.5 and Mack EOS-4.5 approvals for Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40 remain intact based on the fully compliant data set originally submitted, which includes passing the Volvo T-13 engine test results for oxidation and viscosity increase at the more stringent Volvo limits. Beyond valid API licensure and OEM approvals, Mobil Delvac 1300 Super and Mobil Delvac Super FE have proven on-road performance in ExxonMobil controlled field trials utilizing 69 representative trucks accumulating 23 million miles. ExxonMobil cannot address the specifics of the test results Shell produced, because we do not have the data, but we are conducting a thorough investigation.”

The Bottom Line

Shell claims that their branded Rotella product line meets industry standards, and they are sticking to their guns regarding the non-compliance of the ExxonMobile Delvac 1300 Super 15W-40. With an investigation underway, the sub-standard oil issue has yet to be resolved. More information will most likely roll out over the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for more information.

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