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US additives firm opens $222m plant expansion

The Straits Times by AW CHENG WEI

American additives company Afton Chemical officially opened a $222 million expansion of its manufacturing plant on Jurong Island yesterday.

With the expansion, the plant can produce advanced ashless dispersants and anti-wear components, which are critical in several of the firm's products.

"Our Jurong Island plant now has the full capability to produce core engine oil additives that we need for the Asia-Pacific region," said Afton Chemical president Regina Harm.

The products will help passenger and commercial vehicles meet performance standards of the future, added a company spokesman.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing described Afton Chemical's investment as significant. He said the firm's partnership with local small and medium-sized enterprises and their suppliers will create quality jobs for Singapore workers.

The company began its manufacturing operations in Singapore in May 2016, when it announced the first phase of its plant with an initial investment of $158 million. With yesterday's opening, Afton Chemical has invested a total of $380 million.

To do well in the energy and chemicals industry, Singapore's competitive advantage can come from its ability to translate research into enterprise, Mr Chan said.

"We need to connect our research with our enterprises so that we do not have to compete on price but on the quality of our products and the innovation in our system."

Mr Sean Spencer, Afton Chemical Asia's vice-president, said: "We continue to invest in Singapore because we see it as a central hub of the region."

"It has a strong record of safety, security and integration - conditions we value," he added. "Furthermore there is a strong talent pool and retention is very positive."