Updated: 01/09/2014 00:04

Singapore to continue supporting energy and chemical industries

Photo: ExxonMobil

Photo: ExxonMobil

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has pledged to continue supporting Singapore's energy and chemicals industry. 

Speaking at the opening of ExxonMobil's chemical plant expansion on Jurong Island this morning, he outlined three strategies to maintain Singapore's lead in the energy and chemicals industry. 

First, Jurong Island will be upgraded to enhance Singapore's attractiveness to new investments. 

He says that this includes introducing alternative feedstock sources to increase competitiveness, and using waste heat for water desalination to save energy. 

But apart from upgrading the hardware, Mr Lee added that Singapore will also need to upgrade its software, or capabilities, by growing the pipeline of science and engineering graduates, and creating knowledge through R&D.

And Singapore will continue to encourage industry to set up research centres.

He also says that Singapore has to play its part in tackling climate change, by working closely with the industry to be more environmentally friendly, and using more energy efficient equipment.

It must also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants like sulphur dioxide. 

Mr Lee also assured all energy and petrochemicals companies in Singapore that the government stands fully behind them and will continue to help them succeed. 

"These companies, including Exxonmobil, depend on us to maintain a predictable environment for their investments to succeed in the long term, to make it worthwhile for them to operate in Singapore despite our natural constraints, and we fully understand these considerations, and we will fully honour our commitments to these companies which have placed their trust in Singapore."

ExxonMobil's new facility is their largest integrated petrochemical complex globally, and represents about a quarter of their global chemicals capacity. 

It also incorporates more than 40 proprietary new technologies. 

While the expansion's a big step forward, Chairman of ExxonMobil Chemical, Stephen Pryor, says that's not the end of the story. 

"ExxonMobil views this site as a platform for future growth. In fact we are already developing plans for additional specialty products here. With this expansion, we have certainly reaffirmed our confidence in Singapore and our commitment to supplying the chemical products that support the region's economic growth."

-By Lianne Chia

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