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  Business Times 27 Sep 07
Singapore: A hub for everything connected with oil

SINGAPORE has no hydrocarbon, yet it is widely recognised as a key refining and petrochemical hub.

Among industry players, it is 'the Houston Of the East', a smaller version of the American city that's the world's leading centre for building oilfield equipment and petrochemical complexes.

As a refining centre, Singapore churned out 1.3 million barrels of refined oil daily last year, the third largest output in the world.

Singapore is not just a top oil refiner, it has also distinguished itself in related industries in the oil and gas sector. Alongside the oil refineries is a thriving marine and offshore industry which has grown to a $9.8 billion business by 2006. Oil trading is active, again the third largest centre in the world.

What's more, Singapore is currently the key price discovery centre in Asia. And in the upstream segment, Singapore builds 70 per cent of the world's jack-up rigs used for oil exploration.

'A less known fact is that Singapore is a major producer of oil and gas equipment in Asia,' says Tham Poh Cheong, director of infrastructure and environmental services division at International Enterprise Singapore.

'Seven out of 10 global players manufacture more than 60 per cent of their Asian production volume in Singapore,' he says. 'Many SMEs in Singapore are also involved in the manufacturing and distribution of oil and gas equipment and products - and these companies play an equally important role in the development of (Singapore's) oil and gas sector.'

Through the years, the oil and gas business here has expanded strongly, boasting a number of well established shipyards and a supporting industry made up of contractors providing engineering and specialised services as well as equipment manufacturers and distributors.

'Singapore has now become a leading manufacturing and logistics hub for oilfield equipment in the Asia-Pacific region,' Mr Tham says.

And with the boom of the oil and gas sectors in various parts of the world, more Singapore companies are also beginning to venture beyond Singapore's shores.

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