he Energy and Chemicals (E&C) industry is an important pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing sector. In 2018, the E&C industry accounted for S$97 billion in total output. Jurong Island alone hosts over 100 international companies with cumulative investments of over S$50 billion that provide good jobs to over 25,000 people. As the sector continues to attract investments over the year, Singapore remains committed to the long-term competitiveness and sustainable development of the E&C sector.
Achieving long-term competitiveness and sustainable development hand-in-hand
Recent new investments that are contributing positively to the long-term competitiveness and sustainable development of the sector include SABIC’s ULTEM™ resin production plant, and Arkema’s biosourced polyamide 11 manufacturing facility – both are high value-added and high-performance materials. Arkema’s biosourced polyamide 11 also represents a diversification away from oil-based feedstocks.
For the incumbents, the government has been working with companies to improve the competitiveness of their facilities, for example, by encouraging companies to deepen their digitalization efforts and pushing towards advanced manufacturing. The government is also committed to working with companies to improve the energy efficiency of existing plants. The Resource Efficiency Grant for Energy (REG(E)) was enhanced to support industrial facilities in the manufacturing sector to be more energy efficient and improve competitiveness.
Singapore is committed to doing its part to fight against climate change–one way is through innovation focused system-level initiatives aimed at developing long-term sustainability solutions. Today, Novacap uses CO2 from neighbouring plants to produce sodium bicarbonate for niche food and pharma applications. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) is headquartered in Singapore and has committed more than S$1.5 billion to reducing plastic waste. The government has also conducted several feasibility studies to develop Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (“CCUS”) technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.
Pursuing new opportunities through diversification and capability development
To remain as one of the world’s leading E&C hubs, Singapore plans to capture growth opportunities by diversifying into new growth areas and developing new capabilities. Singapore is committed to investing in its innovation ecosystem and workforce, so that companies can leverage the capabilities here to develop new products and services to meet regional and global demand.
In the industrial biotechnology space, our strong ecosystem of innovation and research partners include the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI), and Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory.
In the advanced materials space, EDB and A*STAR have been developing the research ecosystem through the Accelerated Materials Development for Manufacturing (AMDM) programme, and the Polymer Matrix Composites Programme (PMCP). The AMDM aims to reduce the time needed to develop materials by ten times, through machine learning, high-performance computing and automation. The PMCP pulls together capabilities across A*STAR and institutes of higher learning, for R&D into polymer matrix composite materials for use in key industries such as aerospace, automotive and marine & offshore.
Amidst the changing landscape, Singapore is committed to the E&C industry, and we will continue to work closely with the industry to develop the ecosystem and its capabilities in Singapore.
Mr Khalil A. Bakar
Director (Energy & Resources),
Director (Chemicals & Materials),
Singapore Economic Development Board