The oil industry has been an integral part of Singapore’s economy, ever since oil trading activities started in 1891. Over the years, oil has been the catalyst for which the refineries provide advantaged feedstock, therefore maintaining the competitiveness of the chemical industry. Today, Singapore is the undisputed oil hub in Asia and is one of the world’s top three export refining centres.
Moving forward, Singapore is actively exploring opportunities in promoting sustainable growth for the energy industry. The focus has been to kick-start bio-diesel production and to develop next-generation technological capabilities in harnessing renewables. Leveraging its strengths in oil, Singapore is well positioned as the platform in Asia to capitalise on these emerging energy trends. Its geographical advantage, coupled with other competitive advantages including a superior storage infrastructure and presence of first-rate financial institutions, are critical qualities that reinforce Singapore’s leading position in refinery, trading and logistics.
In November 2007, the Singapore Government launched the National Energy Policy Report. Titled “Energy for Growth”, the report outlined a holistic national energy policy framework that balances the four policy objectives of economic competitiveness, energy security, environmental sustainability, and industry development.
Singapore is the region’s premier hub for oil & gas – a valuable sector that contributed almost 5% of Singapore’s gross domestic product in 2007. As we continue to strengthen the competitiveness of the energy industry in Singapore, the government is looking to develop innovative logistics solutions to enhance the synergies of refining, trading, and logistics activities to meet global energy demand.
The clean energy sector is also an increasingly important area for Singapore as the global market for clean energy technologies stands poised for high-octane growth in the next decade. Singapore’s experience and capabilities in the semiconductor, industrial equipment and chemicals sectors place the country in good stead to capture opportunities in the solar, fuel cells and biofuels markets.
In moving the energy industry up the next level, Singapore seeks to increase its refining capacity from the current 1.3 million barrels per day. The expansion of existing refineries and optimisation of refinery operations will not only help to maintain Singapore’s share of global refining capacity but more importantly, put the country in good stead to enhance the growth of its oil trading activities by creating the critical volume of export-oriented refining throughput.
Singapore is a strong base in the region for R&D. Within the energy sector, it is fast gaining leadership as an R&D base for alternative fuels and the next generation of biofuels. It is also channelling its R&D capabilities towards developing high-value products such as lubricants. In its efforts to extract more value from refineries, Singapore has achieved headway in key R&D areas such as process optimisation and catalyst development which maximise the use of existing refinery assets.
Singapore offers extensive oil storage facilities on Jurong Island, its integrated energy and chemical hub, to facilitate trade and manufacturing activities. Our storage capacity is set to multiply with the advent of Jurong Rock Cavern, a massive underground facility. By 2010, it will offer 1.47 million cubic metres of space for the storage of crude oil, condensates and naphtha. Singapore is also embarking on its first receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas, in our drive to diversify our energy sources and leverage on the economic spin-off of this increasingly-traded energy resource. Such innovation in infrastructure solutions are crucial in ensuring that the energy industry continues to grow and remain competitive.
To address climate change concerns, Singapore is raising the bar in energy efficiency and accelerating the development of new, sustainable feedstock and technologies for the industry.
Singapore’s success as a leading global energy and chemical hub is, to a large extent, attributed to the quality of its people. As the industry constantly upgrades capabilities to operate state-of-the-art technologies, companies can tap on a highly-skilled workforce capable of managing high-end complex manufacturing and research projects.
Through the liberalisation of the electricity retail market in Singapore, users have the flexibility to buy electricity from any retailer, and this creates a competitive playing field for the consumers. Furthermore, genco divestment among the power generation companies here has contributed to an increased presence of international players, therefore enhancing the competitiveness of Singapore’s power market.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- The oil industry accounts for 5 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product.
- Singapore is one of the world’s top three export refining centres, accounting for 68.1 million tonnes of oil exports in 2007 (BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2008).
- The oil industry is not a standalone industry. Refining has been the catalyst for the chemical industry, providing advantaged feedstock as well as other spin offs including oil & gas equipment and oil rig manufacturing sectors.
- Singapore is Asia’s leading oil trading hub.
- It is also Asia’s oil and oil product pricing centre.
- It is the leading bulk liquids logistics hub in Asia and ranks amongst the top three in the world.
- It is the world’s busiest marine bunkering centre, accounting for 31.5 million tons in 2007 (Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore).