Singapore Marine and Offshore Engineering



It may be in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico or in the Middle East – but there's a good probability that an offshore jack-up oil rig extracting oil and gas was designed or made by a Singapore-based marine engineering company. Singapore is the top player in the global market for oil and gas drilling units and offshore support vessels. From their humble beginnings as regional ship repair centres, our local conglomerates Keppel and SembCorp have become renowned names in the global industry.

Today, Singapore is the largest manufacturer of jack-up rigs, and commands 70 per cent of the world market. It also has 70 per cent of the global market for the conversion of Floating Production Storage Offloading units.

The future of the industry remains bright, driven by a global increase in energy demand. In particular, emerging markets such as China and India as key energy drivers are estimated to account for more than half of the global incremental energy demand from 2010 to 2040.

To meet future demand for energy, offshore deepwater along with unconventional offshore oil & gas exploration and production activities will increase, to address the shortfall in conventional onshore oil & gas resources worldwide. More sophisticated marine technologies and products will be required to enable this new play in oil & gas exploration.For example, drilling rigs operating in the North Sea need to be designed for harsh environment and need to meet stringent specifications. These trends present exciting opportunities for Singapore’s marine & offshore sector.


The marine and offshore industry is on a roll, buoyed by high oil and gas prices and an ageing offshore fleet. Singapore has been a big beneficiary of the boom, having carved a reputation for consistent high quality and timely delivery. An expert cluster of marine-related service companies such as those providing classification services, maritime law and insurance services, and offshore support services has developed here. The industry also reaps significant gains from the country's robust and dynamic supply chain and precision engineering infrastructure. In 2011, total output from the marine and offshore industry grew to S$12.9 billion.


To take the Singapore marine & offshore industry to a new level, we are building upon our strength in production and engineering to develop knowledge and innovation capabilities. Singapore continues investing in R&D to address the challenges of offshore oil & gas exploration & production.

For example, EDB, together with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research have established the Singapore Maritime Institute to co-ordinate R&D across the various research centres and institutions of higher learning in this sector and to promote collaboration with industry. Focus areas include naval architecture, marine engineering and offshore and subsea systems.


Technology is a key driver for the marine engineering sector. To stay at the leading edge of the industry, Singapore actively promotes R&D collaboration between its educational institutions and the private sector. Key initiatives to develop marine and offshore technology include the Centre for Offshore Research & Engineering and Centre of Innovation – Marine & Offshore Technology. Additionally, both the Marine Centre of Innovation @ Singapore Polytechnic and Maritime Research Centre @ NTU work closely with local yards, such as Keppel, SembCorp, and ST Marine, to develop new capabilities.


Well-trained manpower is a key ingredient for the growth of the technology-heavy marine engineering sector. With its marine industry stretching back to 1963, Singapore has built up a pool of skilled and experienced marine professionals. Meanwhile, its tertiary institutes have stepped up efforts to groom manpower for the sector. The National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University have final-year specialisations and Master's degree courses in Marine & Offshore Engineering. EDB is also working with the universities to introduce Subsea Engineering and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering studies at the postgraduate level. In addition, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic are working with University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, to roll out a full-fledged Bachelor's degree in naval architecture and marine/ocean engineering.


Singapore's reputation for reliability and speed in delivery is made possible by its world-class logistics infrastructure. The country's world-class sea ports and air freight facilities, superior warehousing and delivery channels, and unparalleled connectivity regionally and globally make it an optimal base for global sourcing and complex manufacturing. Efficient supply chain management is especially critical for rig building, where the equipment can come from various parts of the world, including Japan, the US and Europe.

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  • Singapore has 70 per cent of the world market for jack-up rigs and 70 per cent of the global market for the conversion of Floating Production Storage Offloading units.
  • In 2011, Singapore’s marine & offshore industry’s total output grew to S$12.9 billion and its value-added was some S$4.5 billion.
  • The marine and offshore industry employed almost 75,000 workers in 2011.


Singapore Offshore Oil Rig

Keppel Offshore & Marine
Oil Rig Manufacturing

Singapore builds 70 per cent of the world’s oil rigs. Homegrown firm Keppel Offshore & Marine is a leading company in offshore oil rig manufacturing – it’s working on projects at its 20 oil rig and shipbuilding yards everywhere from the Philippines to China. At home, technological innovations are put to the test at Keppel’s flagship oil rig yard in southern Singapore (as well as its other six local yards). Here engineers tinker away on the new generation of floating semi-submersible and jack-up rigs (self-elevating oil rigs on movable legs). The future for the maritime offshore industry is bright. “We are not resting on our laurels,” says Chow Yew Yuen, COO of Keppel Offshore & Marine. “By innovating our technological competencies we’re able to stay ahead of the game.”


Singapore Marine Engineering Technology

Deepwater Technology centre
Oil and Gas

Thanks to Norway’s large oil and gas reserves the Norwegians are world leaders in pioneering technologies that help us unearth energy riches hidden beneath the seabed in a safe and sustainable manner. Luckily, they’re not afraid to share their knowledge. DNV GL, technical advisor to the oil & gas industry runs its Deepwater Technology Centres – technology-based solutions for exploring the deep seas – in Oslo, Houston, Rio de Janeiro and in Singapore. The Singapore centre, established in 2012, has more than tripled its staff strength and delivered several key innovative projects covering the entire value chain from sea surface to the reservoir. “Singapore has a strong ambition. Our deepwater technology centre together with our newly enhanced lab facilities opened early 2014 is a great example for the common ambition of Singapore and DNV GL to create an environment where innovation and technology are exchanged and a proof of DNV GL’s strong commitment to a sustainable development in Singapore” says Brice Le Gallo, managing director of the deepwater technology centre.

In association with Monocle, EDB brings to you a selection of people, places and products that make Singapore a nation that is punching far above its weight despite its relatively compact size and population (content first published in Monocle).


Mr TAN Kong Hwee

Mr TAN Kong Hwee

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