Jurong Island, Singapore's Energy and Chemicals Hub

10.11.2010 -

Singapore aims to raise the competitiveness of its chemical industry by further developing Jurong Island, the 32 square km (12.4 sq mile) offshore hub, home to 96 petroleum, petrochemicals and specialty chemicals companies from around the world.

The man-made amalgamation of seven smaller islands southwest of Singapore is the centrepiece of the city-state's energy and chemicals industry, which has experienced considerable success over the past three decades.

The sector, valued at S$57 billion ($44 billion), contributed 28% of the economy's manufacturing output in 2009. Earlier this year, the government unveiled Jurong Island Version 2.0, a 10-year masterplan that aims to optimise usage of scarce resources such as energy, carbon, water and land.

New competitive feedstock and logistics options will also be explored.

The plan's focus is to give companies access to growing volumes and variety of competitive feedstock, which will manifest itself in a three-pronged strategy: better integration of refinery and petrochemical facilities, introduction of new feedstock such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and experimenting with bio-renewable feedstock.

Development Of Jurong Island

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, three oil companies decide to house their facilities on a group of sleepy islands just south of Singapore -- Esso in Pulau Ayer Chawan, Singapore Refinery Company in Pulau Merlimau and Mobil Oil in Pulau Pesek. Esso and Mobillater form part of Exxon Mobil Corp.

The Singapore government identifies the chemicals sector as a key growth area, and decides to develop the three islands, together with another four -- Pulau Pesek Kecil, Pulau Sakra, Pulau Seraya and Pulau Ayer Merbau -- into a petrochemicals hub that will be called Jurong Island.

In 1982, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) - a joint-venture between Japan-Singapore Petrochemicals Co Ltd (JSPC) led by Sumitomo Chemical, Shell Petrochemicals and Qatar Petroleum International -- starts its cracker, heralding the start of the country's petrochemical industry.

Land reclamation for Jurong Island begins in 1995 and the facility is officially opened in 2000.
Reclamation work is completed in 2009, 20 years ahead of schedule. The island has tripled in size from its original 9.91 sq km (3.9 sq mile) to 32 sq km today.

Central to the Jurong Island concept and vital for attracting players and ensuring efficiency is the so-called "plug and play" concept: a series of pipes connecting different facilities, allowing companies to feed off each other's feedstock.

Here are some of the key infrastructure projects being developed or under consideration on Jurong Island:

Integrated Petrochemical Complexes
In May, Royal Dutch Shell unveiled two new units and a revamp of its existing ones at its Singapore refinery on Pulau Bukom, a nearby island, to widen feedstock choices for its new 800,000 ton-per-year (tpy) cracker.

The refinery is linked to the oil major's cracker on Jurong Island.

ExxonMobil's second cracker, which is expected to come online in 2011, will also see a similar integration of its refinery. These two projects will double Singapore's ethylene capacity to 4 million tons per annum by 2012.

New Chemicals Projects
Germany's Lanxess broke ground on a butyl rubber plant in May with a capacity of 100,000 tons a year and slated to start production in 2013.

The Jurong Island plant holds the record of being Lanxess' single largest investment to date, at €400 million euros ($559 million). The $2.4 billion Jurong Aromatics project is expected to start in 2014 and involves the development of a condensate splitter and aromatics facility.

The plant will produce 1.5 million tons of aromatics per year and 2.5 million tons of transport fuels per year.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal
The first phase of the $1.05 billion project will be ready in 2013 and enable Singapore to position itself as an LNG hub, lowering its dependence on imported gas from neighbors to feed growing energy demand.

The terminal, which will have a capacity of 6.0 million tons per year, will also help encourage LNG spot trading, the government has said.

Jurong Rock Caverns
The S$890 million ($689 million) Jurong Rock Cavern (JRC) project will feature 1.48 million cubic meters (9.5 million barrels) of space comprising five underground caverns that could hold crude, naphtha, condensate and gas oil.

The first two caverns are expected to be operational by 2013, with Jurong Aromatics Corp's upcoming plant expected to be the first customer.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Terminal
The government, in consultation with industry players, is studying the feasibility of constructing an LPG terminal to facilitate the import of greater volumes of this feedstock.

Bio-Renewable Feedstock
The government and industry are looking at bio-renewable raw materials such as sugar and palm oil as a substitute for fossil fuel-based feedstock. Singapore has the advantage of being located in a region rich in bio-resources.