Wednesday, July 2, 2014

SINGAPORE: Afton Chemical starts building chemical additive plant on Jurong Island

(EnergyAsia, July 3 2014, Thursday) — US-based Afton Chemical Corporation has started construction of a new chemical additives manufacturing facility on Singapore's Jurong Island.

The plant is expected to start up in January 2016 to add to the Richmond, Virginia company's global supply network of additives to meet growing demand in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets.

To support Afton's engine oil business, the plant will begin producing detergents for commercial use in 2016. Construction and startup of additional units to produce dispersants and anti-wear components will follow with full operation expected by 2019.

Afton said it will review opportunities to expand the plant based on future market conditions.

Afton said it selected the site after an extensive analysis based on local infrastructure, market access, economics, safety and logistics. Foster Wheeler Singapore will manage the engineering and construction.

"In recent years, we've intensified our focus on this important region, and our strategy to meet its needs. Since 2008, we've opened two new sales offices, four local warehouses, and expanded our R&D facilities. We'll continue to explore opportunities to better serve the region," said Damian Barnes, Afton's supply vice president.

"Afton Chemical has been a key player in the lubricant and fuel additive industry for more than 90 years. We have a strong commitment to Asia's fast-growing economy, and this plant means we can improve service levels to all of our customers in the region and security of supply to all customers worldwide," " said Rob Shama, Afton's President.

Afton Chemical Corp, a subsidiary of the NewMarket Corp, develops and manufactures petroleum additives that help fuels burn cleaner and more efficiently, engines run smoother, and machines last longer.

 




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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ASIA: China leads region in power grid modernisation and efficiency improvement plans, says GlobalData

(EnergyAsia, May 8 2014, Thursday) — Led by China, Asia is investing heavily to modernise its power grid while deploying smart grid technology and improving the efficiency of power distribution systems across the region, according to a new report by consultant GlobalData.

The region's economies have bounced back strongly from the global recession of 2007-08, with energy demand surging to new highs, forcing governments across the region to invest in new technology, and transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure to increase the efficiency of their power distribution systems.

GlobalData said China's utilisation of ultra-high-voltage (UHV) transmission, along with its increasing UHV technology adoption and growing focus on renewable energy sources, is playing a key role in developing robust T&D infrastructure in the country.

"China decided to invest in UHV transmission in 2004 due to the distant location of energy resource sites from its southern and eastern load centers. This technology was a logical choice for keeping the country's T&D losses low over such long distances," said the company's senior analyst, Siddhartha Raina.
China's fourth largest UHV project, a 1,000 kilovolt alternating current transmission project, which starts from Anhui province and extends to East China, started up on September 25 last year.

According to GlobalData, these projects are part of the State Grid Corporation of China's (SGCC) plan to invest US$75.5 billion to construct UHV power transmission lines by 2015. Both the SGCC and China Southern Power Grid Company are rapidly utilising the UHV transmission lines to expand the country's grid system. The creation of an integrated synchronous national grid will facilitate the efficient transfer of electricity to meet the nation's growing power demand.

"The focus of the Chinese government clearly lies on grid modernisation and improving efficiency. The government set a target to interconnect its existing grids and form an integrated synchronous national grid by the end of 2020. This will help to facilitate the efficient transfer of electricity in order to meet growing power demands, as well as demands from the renewable energy sector," said Mr Raina.

 




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SINGAPORE: PacificLight Power starts up S$1.2 billion power plant on Jurong Island

(EnergyAsia, June 4 2014, Wednesday) — PacificLight Power Pte Ltd, a company jointly owned by Filipino and Malaysian interests, has started up the first power plant in Singapore to be fired entirely by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

PacificLight Power, which is 70% owned by Manila-based FPM Power Holdings Ltd, invested S$1.2 billion in the state-of-the-art 800MW plant on a 11.3-hectare site on Jurong Island. (US$1=S$1.25). Petronas Power, a subsidiary of Malaysia's state energy firm Petronas, owns the remaining 30% stake.

The company said the plant accounts for 6.2% of the nation's installed power capacity and is capable of ramping up to operating capacity in 60 minutes, making it one of the most efficient and flexible power plants in Asia.  Its use of LNG will contribute to Singapore's plan to diversify its energy sources as well as decrease the nation's reliance on piped natural gas from Malaysia and Indonesia.

The plant, which was completed early this year, features the latest energy-efficiency F-class gas turbines from Siemens, which PacificLight says are designed to meet stringent international emissions standards.

A consortium comprising Germany's Siemens AG, Singapore-based Siemens Pte Ltd, and South Korea's Samsung C&T started work on the plant in 2011 shortly after it was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project.

Chee Hong Tat, chief executive of Singapore's Energy Market Authority, officiated at the plant's opening ceremony yesterday that was attended by government officials, shareholders, industry representatives and business partners.

Yu Tat Ming, CEO of PacificLight Power, said:

"The launch of the plant is a momentous occasion for our organisation. This has been made possible due to the support received from the government agencies, our contractors, shareholders, customers, lenders and most importantly, our unwavering and dedicated team of staff. With our state-of-the-art power plant in place, we are committed to become the preferred energy solution provider in Singapore, offering tailored energy solutions and excellent customer service to our customers."

First Pacific managing director and CEO, Manuel V. Pangilinan, said:

"Today is a significant day for investors. We expect steady and growing demand for electricity in the coming years and PacificLight Power will be key to meeting that demand."

FPM Power Holdings Ltd is a 60:40 joint venture between two companies, First Pacific Company Ltd and MERALCO PowerGen Corp. First Pacific Company Ltd is a Hong Kong-based investment management and Holding Company with operations located across Asia while Meralco PowerGen Corp (MGen) is a wholly-owned subsidiary and the power generation arm of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the largest privately-owned distribution utility in the Philippines.

Pramod Kumar Karunakaran, Petronas's Vice President for Infrastructure & Utilities, Downstream Business, said:

"Petronas is pleased to see the successful completion of the state-of-the-art operating facility, which delivers clean energy to its customers. The project has enabled Petronas to build upon its existing capabilities and establish its presence in Singapore's merchant market."

 




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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SINGAPORE: Futures trading, solar energy to increase competition in electricity market

(EnergyAsia, March 12 2014, Wednesday) — Futures trading and solar energy will debut on the Singapore electricity markets later this year as part of a plan to increase price and supply competition.

Following a six-month trial starting April, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) will aim to launch its electricity futures contract that will allow consumers to lock in their power purchases and prices for up to two years, said the exchange's commodities director Matthias Obert.

He said the contract will allow consumers to take a longer term position of their electricity purchases to cancel out short-term fluctuations in spot market prices.

"Electricity can be bought on the market, but prices are uncertain and very volatile. These can be balanced out by purchases of futures contracts," said Mr Obert at last month's Seraya Energy forum.

Singapore's electricity prices have become more volatile on account of weather conditions and geopolitical events that cause fuel oil prices to move sharply.

Consumers will be further empowered by the government's move to allow smaller retail consumers choose their suppliers as well as admit the use of solar-generated electricity.

Speaking in Parliament, Second Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran announced that those who use at least eight megawatt-hours (MWH) of electricity per month will be allowed to choose their supplier from April 1, a market privilege now opened only to those who consume at least 10MWH. From October 1, that bar will be lowered to those whose electricity consumption exceeds 4MWH.

Mr Iswaran said at least 15,000 consumers will benefit from this change, while power producers will gain as they will be able to group demand from various locations to meet the lower threshold of this new contestable market.

To lighten dependence on fossil fuels, the government will step up its campaign to develop the production and use of renewable energy, especially solar power, in government buildings and state land.

It has set a target for Singapore's solar power capacity to reach 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2020, up from 15 MWp now. The new capacity will be sufficient to meet about five percent of the country's peak electricity demand in 2020.

"Among the various renewable energy options, solar has the greatest potential for wider deployment in Singapore," he said.

 




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Thursday, February 27, 2014

SINGAPORE: Selected comments by Trade Minister S. Iswaran on developments in the LNG markets

(EnergyAsia, February 27 2014, Thursday) — The following are excerpts presented this week by Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran on developments in the LNG markets. He spoke at the 9th edition of the LNG Supplies for Asian Markets (LNGA) Conference.

"On the supply-side, a tight market is anticipated in the next two years or so. However, this is expected to ease with new LNG supplies entering the market after 2015, coming from Australia, North America, and East Africa.

Over the long term, the International Energy Agency projects that global demand for natural gas in 2035 could be 50% more than 2010 demand. This represents annualised growth of 1.6% over the next two decades.  LNG demand growth is expected to be stronger, at around five percent per year through 2020. In particular, Asia has become the world's largest importing region, and its appetite for gas continues to grow in tandem with its economic development.

Against this backdrop, it is timely to discuss today's conference theme "Rising demand for LNG vs consumer price resistance: can there be a compromise?"

Historically, Asia's LNG contracts have predominantly been long-term contracts indexed to oil prices.  This has meant that Asian gas buyers are affected by movements in oil prices, even when the fundamentals of the gas market remain unchanged.  This is in contrast to the more liquid regional markets in North America and Europe, where buyers have access to gas-on-gas pricing.

With LNG playing a larger role in Asia's energy mix, Asian countries are pressing for more competitive LNG prices.  To this end, Asian buyers are contemplating and beginning to employ strategies such as buying gas as a bloc and investing upstream.  Some Asian countries are also seeking to develop an Asian trading hub to facilitate price discovery, and developing financial instruments such as LNG futures contracts to manage risk.

As Asia's demand grows and countries take concrete steps to develop the marketplace, I believe a competitive and more liquid gas market, so to speak, will emerge in Asia.  This will ensure long-term sustainable growth for the Asian gas market, to the benefit of both sellers and buyers.

Singapore
We have also put in place a comprehensive strategy to grow our gas market and support gas-related businesses in Singapore.

Singapore will introduce a Competitive Licensing Framework (CLF) to appoint new LNG importers to meet our domestic gas needs, beyond the first tranche of 3 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) awarded to BG.

Under the CLF, Singapore will award LNG import licences on a tranche-by-tranche basis to meet our growing demand.  This will allow us to respond flexibly to changing domestic needs, opportunities arising from global market trends, and the emergence of new suppliers.

Last December, the Energy Market Authority, or EMA, released its draft determination paper on this new import framework.  EMA has received feedback from almost 30 companies.  Overall, industry players support the proposed CLF.  Potential suppliers have also continued to express strong interest in the opportunity to supply LNG to Singapore.

EMA will release its final determination paper for the post-3 Mtpa LNG Import Framework shortly by the end of this week.

Taking into consideration industry feedback, EMA will launch a Request-for-Proposals (RFP) process in the second quarter of 2014 to invite companies to submit proposals to supply Singapore's next tranche of LNG.  The RFP will allow us to appoint LNG importers who can provide competitively-priced and secure LNG supplies.  It will be a two-stage process, to ensure that there is sufficient time for potential suppliers to first finalise and submit their proposals, and then to negotiate with gas buyers to aggregate demand.

In the first stage, EMA will seek proposals that demonstrate supply security and price-competitiveness for the imported LNG.  Beyond the price formula, EMA will study other factors such as mechanisms to manage price volatility, price indexation diversity, and flexibility in contract terms, in evaluating the proposals.  EMA expects to shortlist up to three potential suppliers for the second stage of the RFP process.

In the second stage, shortlisted parties will be required to negotiate with potential buyers to secure binding commitments for LNG purchases.  These shortlisted parties will then be evaluated on their ability to successfully aggregate buyers' demand, and the attractiveness of their baseline gas sales agreement (GSA) for future buyers.

Ultimately, depending on the quality of the proposals and the strength of the demand, EMA will appoint up to two importers. Each appointed importer will have an exclusive franchise of 3 years, or until it has contracted up to 1 Mtpa of LNG, whichever comes sooner.

To complement the CLF, a new Spot Import Policy will be introduced to regulate spot import for domestic use.  Under the policy, domestic gas buyers will be allocated annual spot credits, as a percentage of their long-term gas import volumes.  These credits will have a validity period of one year, and will be tradable.
EMA proposes to start with a spot import cap of 10 per cent.  This is to strike a balance between the objectives of according buyers greater flexibility while allowing Singapore's nascent LNG market to develop and stabilise over the next few years.  EMA will review this cap as the market develops and gains more experience.

More than 20 companies have already established or expanded their LNG desks in Singapore, with activities ranging from market research, trading, marketing, origination, operations and risk management functions.  In addition, there are LNG service firms such as shipbrokers, law firms and price reporting agencies growing their operations here to support the LNG industry.

We hope to see more market players establish a presence in Singapore.  This will not only support the growth of the domestic gas market, but will also allow Singapore to contribute to efforts to build deeper regional gas markets by serving as a trading and pricing hub for LNG.

 




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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cool weather, competition lower electricity prices

Opening of new plants drove wholesale power prices down in Dec

 

A COMBINATION of cool weather and stiffening market competition, due to the start-up of new generating plants, has driven electricity prices here lower.

 

Energy Market Company CEO Dave Carlson said in its just-released bulletin that "towards the end of the year, Singapore typically sees cooler weather brought about by the north-east monsoon. In line with this, forecast demand dropped and the Uniform Singapore Energy Price in the wholesale electricity market reached a new monthly low for the year of $147 per megawatt/hour in December."

 

This follows the lower monthly wholesale electricity prices - of below $160/MWh - recorded by the wholesale market operator in October and November.

 

The year-end "cooling-off" was a marked contrast to the mid-year wholesale electricity price highs of around $200/MWh in June and August, when electricity demand soared as a result of the haze (in June) and scorching weather.

 

New genco PacificLight Power CEO Yu Tat Ming told The Business Times that based on the genco's own estimates, electricity demand grew about 3.3 per cent year-on-year last month.

 

"While the weather played a part in helping to cool electricity demand in December, it was competition from new plants that in fact drove wholesale electricity prices down," he said.

 

This downtrend looks set to continue, given this month's persistent "springy" temperatures here, with lows of 23/24 degrees celcius.

 

While electricity demand continues to grow this month - by about 2.3 per cent year-on-year in the first 21 days, estimates PacificLight - this will likely be affected "as the coming Chinese New Year will typically see most firms scaling back a week or so before the festivities, especially when their Malaysian workers head home," noted Mr Yu.

 

EMC recently indicated that the addition of more gas-fired generating units - including PacificLight's new 800MW station and those of Tuas Power and Keppel Merlimau Cogen - has raised Singapore's total gas-fired capacity to more than 9,000MW, or way above peak electricity demand here of around 6,600MW.

 

This follows the lower monthly wholesale electricity prices - of below $160/MWh - recorded by the wholesale market operator in October and November  




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Thursday, January 9, 2014

SINGAPORE: ExxonMobil officially starts up plant that converts crude oil into petrochemicals

 

(EnergyAsia, January 9 2014, Thursday) — ExxonMobil has officially started up what is claimed to be the world's first plant to convert crude oil directly into petrochemicals, bypassing the intermediary oil products stage, that will enable the Singapore plant to compete against Middle Eastern rivals who have the advantage of cheap feedstock.

The Singapore plant on Jurong Island, which now accounts for about one-quarter of ExxonMobil's global chemical capacity, incorporates more than 40 new proprietary technologies, making it one of the company's most energy efficient and flexible sites.

The US major said the new ethylene steam cracker can process a wide range of feedstock, from light gases to crude oil, to produce an expanded slate of premium and commodity petrochemicals. Existing petrochemical plants do not have this capability and are restricted to using finished refined oil products like naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as raw materials. Faced with surplus global capacity, the petrochemical industry is in the midst of a shakeout with many unable to compete against the giant plants in the Middle East who have access to cheap supply of feedstock.

ExxonMobil's Singapore complex includes the one million tonne per year (t/y) cracker and plants to produce a total of at least 1.4 million t/y of polymers and elastomers. The cracker, estimated to cost at least US$5 billion, began operating last May after a delay of nearly two years and cost over-runs purportedly to satisfy safety standards and checks during construction.

With the project's start-up, ExxonMobil has pushed its total investment in Singapore past US$10 billion.

Speaking at the plant's opening this week, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government will continue to support the growth of the country's energy and chemicals industry, which accounts for a third of the national manufacturing output.

Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corp chairman and CEO, who was also at the plant's opening, said:

"Global chemical demand will grow at a faster pace than GDP as people seek higher standards of living and purchase more household and packaged goods manufactured with chemical products.

"Two-thirds of that growth in chemical demand will be here in the Asia-Pacific region. ExxonMobil's expanded Singapore chemical plant is uniquely positioned to serve these growth markets, from China to the Indian subcontinent and beyond."

Mr Tillerson said the foundation for the advancements at the Singapore complex were established decades ago and strengthened through the company's relationships with and respect for the people and nation of Singapore.

"Government leaders here wisely pursued a stable policy course that encouraged international investment, teamwork and advanced technologies," he said.
Leo Yip, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said the expanded plant enhances the country's leadership position as Asia's energy and chemicals hub.

"This latest investment – the single largest manufacturing investment in Singapore's history – is testament to our ability to successfully attract and execute complex mega-projects. The expansion of ExxonMobil's chemical plant will create meaningful and exciting career opportunities for Singaporeans and also enable Singapore to broaden our chemicals industry with higher-value downstream chemical facilities," he said.

Png Cheong Boon, CEO of JTC Corp, the builder and landlord of Jurong Island, said:

"The opening of ExxonMobil's chemical plant is a testimony of the excellent infrastructure on Jurong Island and the strong partnership with ExxonMobil. We remain committed to work with the industry to ensure that Jurong Island remains a key energy and chemical hub in the region."

 




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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SINGAPORE: Vopak to build Southeast Asia’s first independent LPG storage facility on Jurong island

(EnergyAsia, December 10 2013, Tuesday) — Dutch oil and chemicals storage giant Royal Vopak has announced that it will be building Southeast Asia's first independent liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facility in Singapore.

Vopak said it expects to complete the refigerated import terminal on Jurong island with an initial capacity of 80,000 cubic meters (cbm) in the first quarter of 2016.

"The facility will be connected via pipeline to nearby plants and will allow for LPG import and distribution in Jurong Island in a safe and efficient manner," said a Vopak statement which added that it had signed up ExxonMobil as its first anchor customer for its latest project.
It did not reveal the cost of the project which will add to Jurong Island's feedstock flexbility.

"This project fits well in Vopak's overall strategy, as gas will become an interesting alternative for naphtha. This LPG facility not only caters to the rising petrochemical needs of alternative and cost effective feedstock in Singapore, it also has the potential to lead in the facilitation of regional imports," said Vopak chairman and CEO Eelco Hoekstra.

"Asia's appetite for LPG is growing. Supply developments in the US, the Middle East and potentially Australia will cover a growing LPG demand in Asia. As such, we see the opportunity to capture these imports with an independent LPG terminal in the region."

"Singapore is a natural choice as it is home to several large petrochemical complexes and we already have an established presence supported by excellent relationships with local authorities. Most importantly, building on the success of Singapore as an oil hub, there is potential for a regional hub for LPG and we are keen to be part of this growth."

Vopak and its partners currently own and operate LPG terminals in China, Pakistan, the Netherlands and Peru with a total capacity of 431,200 cubic metres (cbm).

 




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Monday, October 7, 2013

ASIA: Southeast Asia should focus on raising energy efficiency, says Brunei energy research chief

 

(EnergyAsia, October 8 2013, Tuesday) — This is an edited version of an article by Weerawat Chantanakome, CEO of the Brunei National Energy Research Institute (BNERI).

The energy efficiency practice in Southeast Asia is still in its infancy stage, even though the region's energy intensity – the amount of energy used to produce each dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) – has steadily declined in recent years.

Between 2005 and 2009, ASEAN countries reduced their energy intensity by 4.97%, bringing them closer to reducing regional energy intensity by at least 8% from 2005 levels in 2015.

However, according to a statement issued at the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (30th AMEM) last year, energy consumption looks set to rise by 4.4% per year till 2030 under business-as-usual conditions, driven by continued urbanisation and expanding populations. ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is the regional grouping for Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

With energy security taking precedence of late in national agendas, ASEAN governments are taking a harder look at energy efficiency. It is an untapped fifth fuel – that together with fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables and coal – can power ASEAN economies as they aim for sustainable economic growth, ensuring universal energy access for all and mitigating the onset of climate change.

The government as role model
Governments have to take the lead in furthering energy efficiency and for some of them, housekeeping is in order. Several ASEAN countries have existing policies and market incentives to promote energy efficiency, but must ensure better monitoring and enforcement.

There are also numerous best practices to follow, which have addressed consumer and industrial energy demand while ensuring that legal mechanisms support the above as well as new schemes to enhance efficiency.

In Thailand, in the 1990s, a fund was set up to support energy efficiency projects, using proceeds from taxes on petroleum products. Simultaneously, demand-side management plans such as public awareness campaigns and energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances were launched.

In 2002, the Thai government decided to offer credit lines to local banks to provide loans to developers of energy efficiency projects. By 2010, this revolving fund had financed projects worth a total of US$453 million, yielding energy cost savings of around US$154 million each year.

ASEAN should start by harvesting some low-hanging fruit including instituting building codes and fuel efficiency standards in the transport sector, using LED lights for street lighting and traffic lights, and labelling appliances to promote the purchase of efficient appliances. They can draw on existing multilateral funding to promote greater consumer awareness in energy efficiency.

The Asian Development Bank has consistently funded energy efficiency projects. Between 2005 and 2011, its investments in projects with a demand-side energy efficiency component totalled US$1.8 billion. It is also setting up a new Energy Efficiency Technical Support Unit to provide technical policy and financial support in accelerating energy efficiency investments in its developing member economies.

Longer-term, as energy efficiency becomes a more widespread priority, new regulations can be formulated to take efficiency standards to the next level. This year, Singapore, which already has mandatory efficiency labeling for appliances, introduced an Energy Conservation Act requiring energy-intensive companies to appoint an energy manager, monitor and report energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and submit energy efficiency improvement plans to the government.

Breaking down barriers
While promoting efficiency, governments will have to address the long-standing barriers to more efficient usage of energy. These would range from the price of energy and the lack of political will to change this, the lack of human resources and finance to adopt innovative projects and a lack of coordinated efforts to promote efficiency in both the supply and demand side.

The failure to price energy at its market cost is probably the most-talked about impediment to energy efficiency in Asia, and it is also a drain on public resources that could have gone towards investment in electrification and integration into the ASEAN-wide power grid.

Hopefully, this will lead to further changes as a few ASEAN countries have recently demonstrated the political will to remove subsidies.

An ability to measure the effectiveness of energy efficiency programmes is key to their further uptake. ASEAN integration in the coming years and regional platforms for discussion such as the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) can facilitate the transfer of technology and know-how.

In addition, countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore that have developed capacity and standards for energy service companies (ESCOs) can assist others in creating ESCO accreditation systems.

While demand-side management efforts continue across the transport, residential and industrial sectors, supply-side efficiency solutions cannot take a backseat.
Lowering energy demand will mean less public infrastructure expenditure on power generation plants in the long-run but the impact of more efficient power generation in existing plants will be seen in the medium-term.

The power of five
Unfortunately even with its potential, energy efficiency on its own is not a silver bullet to ensure long-term energy security. Its key significance lies in reducing energy costs for businesses and nations alike while easing the growing burden on the environment.

Keenly aware of the importance of each element in the fuel mix, Brunei Darussalam has set up the Brunei National Energy Research Institute (BNERI) to look at paving the way for a future where oil and gas plays a smaller role in fuelling the economy and where energy efficiency and renewables carry significant weight in the kingdom's energy mix.

The rest of ASEAN too is making constant progress in pursuing resource diversification – a necessary strategy to prepare for the opportunities and uncertainties in an ever-volatile global energy landscape.

 




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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jurong Island to launch LPG project soon

 

JI 2.0 upgrades include 2nd road link aimed at boosting petrochem hub

[SINGAPORE] More upgrading additions to Jurong Island - including a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal to import the alternative feedstock for petrochemical crackers here, and a safety and risk management centre - are expected to be launched soon.

Studies are also well underway for longer-term projects, such as having a second road link to the petrochemicals island around 2022.

These latest projects, under the government's ongoing JI 2.0 initiative, are aimed at boosting the global competitiveness of Singapore's petrochemicals sector, even as new rivals emerge in the Middle East and the US, where new plants are being built to capitalise on cheaper feedstocks from shale gas projects.

Giving an update on JI 2.0, Eugene Leong, head of Energy & Chemicals at the Economic Development Board, told The Business Times that the projects follow the recent establishment of new utilities plants employing alternative fuels such as coal/biomass and woodchips by Tuas Power and Sembcorp respectively. The latter is also set to use waste materials to produce utilities for petrochemical investors there. EDB is also encouraging more companies to set up in-house utilities plants using gas from the newly started Singapore LNG terminal.

"By providing more such options, whether in feedstocks, logistics or in other areas, greater robustness will be added to the system," he said.

The LPG terminal, for instance, will provide the petrochemical crackers here with an alternative to naphtha feedstocks.

"Globally, the economics to support the LPG project have improved as the world shifts to lighter feedstocks," he said, adding that the project is in its final stages, with EDB in advanced discussions with a private-sector investor. Earlier estimates put its cost at US$100-120 million.

Also under implementation is the JI safety and risk management centre, which is a multi-government agency effort to set up a centralised planning and strategic unit to oversee issues, such as fires and the environment on the island. A technical adviser, the UK Health & Safety Laboratory, has been appointed to advise on this, and the centre is looking at staffing requirements.

Mr Leong said that since JI 2.0 was first mooted three years ago, there have been new emerging challenges such as that posed by US shale gas. "But there is still a role for naphtha crackers like those in Singapore," he said, explaining that Asian petrochemicals demand is still growing strongly by a 10 per cent compounded annual rate, "so the region still needs some 20 million tonnes per annum of cracking capacity, which works out to close to two crackers annually".

"Also, as gas is lighter, naphtha crackers are still needed to produce the heavier petrochemicals or olefins like butadiene," he said. This explains why Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore is carrying out a plant expansion for this.

"Jurong Island's big geographical advantage is also that we have the Asian market in our backyard," Mr Leong said. And it is not just China, but also the Asean region which has been growing very strongly economically over the past few years, making this a strong regional demand centre for petrochemicals, he added.

During the same interview, Dennis Tan, director for JTC Corporation's Biomedical and Chemicals cluster, disclosed that JTC is planning to build a second road link from Jurong Island to the mainland, with this crossing the Jurong West Channel to the Jurong West area. This will help alleviate the current checkpoint congestion especially during morning peak hours.

"It will be a major engineering challenge and we are studying options of where to connect, and how to connect, including whether it should be above or below the sea."

"The mainland part is also already developed, so there will be other key considerations like its impact on transport network flows and on industries already operating there, as well as other issues like financial, environment and the land involved," he said.

"At this point, the study will take a couple of years, then we go into the necessary government approvals, followed by construction, which will also take a couple of years. So the earliest this second link can be operational will be around 2022, or in nine years' time," Mr Tan said.

Logistics-wise, a new Jurong Island barging terminal is also supporting movement of hazardous chemicals from plants there.

Complementing the usual overland trucking of containers or tanks from the petrochemicals island, the terminal, which started up last year, allows barges to take the chemicals directly to the port for onward export, he said.

On the $890 million first phase of the underground Jurong Rock Cavern oil storage, Mr Tan said that testing and pre-commissioning has started on the first two of the five caverns, with the entire phase set for completion next year, in time for its first customer, Jurong Aromatics Corporation, which is starting up then.

An operator for the JRC project is expected to be picked by year-end, he added.

 




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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Singapore ramps up LNG investment

SINGAPORE: Singapore is ramping up efforts to become Asia's hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Temasek Holdings LNG unit, Pavilion Energy, says it wants to raise its investments in infrastructure and assets, with the aim of trading LNG in Asia within the next three months.

Already Asia's energy hub, Singapore has big ambitions to become the go-to market for LNG in the Asian region.

Pavilion Energy, set up by Temasek Holdings in April this year, wants to tap soaring Asian demand for energy.

The company is set to increase funding to its initial authorised capital of S$1 billion and invest in LNG infrastructure, terminal and assets in Asia.

Seah Moon Ming, CEO of Pavilion Energy, said: "I can say with confidence that Singapore will devote itself into a major LNG trading hub soon in the region. I believe we have what it takes to attract growing LNG volume into Asia, and will be in a position to set LNG prices in the region."

According to the International Energy Outlook 2013, natural gas is the world's fastest-growing fossil fuel.

Global demand is also keeping pace, and is expected to soar 64 per cent by 2040, compared to 2010 levels.

In line with economic growth and increasing wealth, developing Asia is expected to account for much of that demand, led by China, India and Southeast Asia.

Mr Seah highlighted the need for cross-border collaboration to tackle global energy issues.

"We value long-term international partnerships that will build new markets, enhance shipping logistics and regasification facilities. We shall support innovative processes and technology that enhance production, storage, delivery and trading."

Gaurav Tiwari, president of VGS Cavallo Energy Group, said: "I think that's the right way to deal (with LNG), to have not only the downstream or market focus, but to have the global LNG portfolios - companies like Pavilion. India being there comes under the Asian region too. We will look forward to work with companies like Pavilion where there is a global exposure on the projects we are developing."

In 2012, the Asia Pacific accounted for 70 per cent of total global energy trade.

Singapore commissioned its first LNG cargo in March this year.

Commercial operations at the three million metric-ton-a-year terminal on Jurong Island began in May while the completion of a third tank is expected in 2014. This will expand its capacity to six million tons.

- CNA/fa

 




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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oil refiners face profit squeeze

SINGAPORE: Oil refining companies are expected to see a profit squeeze.

Overcapacity in the sector and slower demand from developed economies are weighing down their margins.

Analysts said this means dimmer business prospects for refineries and other downstream oil and gas players.

OCBC Research, for instance, has an underweight call on the sector.

Global oil refining margins are under pressure, with more refining capacity being created.

This after oil refining majors expanded their capacity with new investments following the oil boom in recent years.

At the same time, oil demand growth, particularly in the developed economies, has slowed.

This is due to flagging economic growth rates, saturated car ownership rates, as well as the use of fuel-efficient technology like electric vehicles.

As a result, the world's net refining capacity is forecast to grow by 8.7 million barrels per day by 2016.

However, demand is expected to grow by seven million barrels per day, said the International Energy Agency. 

Ravi Krishnaswamy, vice-president of Energy & Power Systems Practice at Frost & Sullivan (Asia-Pacific), said: "We see a massive build-up in the Eastern hemisphere, so looking at China and India, they've been rapidly expanding. India was about 193 million tonnes per annum last year. They're expected to go up to about 300 million tonnes in the next six to seven years."

Almost all of the oil refining capacity growth is from developing Asia, and analysts said this trend is likely to continue.

"It is mainly funded by national oil companies as part of a greater government initiative. Although global refining margins are relatively low compared to the past, they are less sensitive to near term market price movements, so we expect the refining capacity to continue to increase in the near future," said Low Pei Han, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research.

This is expected to push refining margins on brent crude oil marginally down next year to around US$6 per barrel.

Singapore's Economic Development Board has recently said that it has no plans to attract any more green-field refinery investments, according to an analyst report by OCBC Research.

Analysts said this means Singapore-based downstream oil and gas players such as engineering, procurement and construction companies will be under greater pressure to look overseas for business opportunities.

They added that the SGX-listed companies that could be impacted include PEC, Rotary Engineering and Ezra.

 




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Petronas to Delay $19 Bln Petrochemicals Project to 2018

State oil firm Petronas will start up its $19 billion petrochemicals complex in Malaysia in 2018, the company told Reuters on Tuesday, signalling a further delay in the country's largest-ever infrastructure project.

A delay to the project in southern Johor state could deal a potential blow to the economy of the Southeast Asian nation as well as local oil and gas services firms hoping for work on the massive complex.

A source familiar with Petronas' business strategy told Reuters the project had been complicated by a need to secure water supplies as well as cater for proposed international partners.

Petronas had already put back the project from late 2016 to early 2017 in June and revised the final investment decision (FID) to the first quarter next year, citing state government problems in relocating villages and graves from the 2,000 hectare-site, five times the size of New York's Central Park.

"As a result of the revised FID date, the RAPID refinery is scheduled to be ready for start-up in Q4 2017 and the remaining plants within the complex is scheduled to be commissioned in 2018," Petronas said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.

This is at least six months later than market expectations after local media had cited Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas in June as saying the start date for phase one of the RAPID project had been pushed back to early 2017.

BIGGEST INVESTMENT

Delays in the project - a cornerstone of Prime Minister Najib Razak's Economic Transformation Programme aimed at doubling Malaysians' incomes by 2020 - could slow an economy whose oil and gas sector makes up a fifth of GDP.

The complex is the largest single investment in Malaysia, and aims to grab a chunk of the $400 billion global market for speciality chemicals used in products from LCD televisions to diapers.

Its location at the southernmost tip of the peninsula, just 10 km (6 miles) from Singapore's east coast, is part of a vision for a "Greater Singapore" energy trading hub that would rival competitors such as China.

"This massive project is getting more complicated as we move forward," said the source, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

"We will need to spend to secure the water supply and now parts of the project may need to be redesigned to cater for incoming project partners," he added.

Petronas, Malaysia's only Fortune 500 company, has signed heads of agreements with Italy's Versalis SpA, Japan's Itochu and Bangkok-listed PTT Global Chemical to build speciality chemical plants.

Germany's Evonik also stepped in to the project after rival BASF - the world's top chemicals group - pulled out after differences in business strategy.

NOT SO RAPID?

Petronas unveiled the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project in May last year. The plan was to construct a 300,000 barrel per day refinery, which would supply naptha and liquid petroluem gas to the chemical plants and produce gasoline and diesel for European markets.

France's Technip was awarded the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract, which was slated for completion in the second quarter of 2013. The financial value of the job was never disclosed.

Petronas will use the design specifications to reach a final investment decision, after which the major construction works usually begin. BNP Paribas is the financial advisor for project financing

The June decision to postpone a final investment decision to Q1 2014 knocked the shares of local mid-sized oil and gas services companies, and analysts said the latest delay could weigh on firms like SapuraKencana and Wah Seong .

Petronas has yet to award the engineering, procurement and construction jobs, although preparation work for the site started on Oct. 18.

It is expected to award about 20 construction job packages valued at about 2-3 billion ringgit ($620 million-$930 million) each, two other sources familiar with the company's plans said.

The contracts for the refinery are expected to be awarded in November or December this year.

"Anyone with a licence from Petronas will benefit, if they can meet the specifications," said one of the sources.

"Delays just means the party starts a little late for some of these companies. These projects are generally complicated and can have a longer gestation period." ($1 = 3.2260 Malaysian ringgit) (Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage and Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Richard Pullin)

 




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New Upgrades to Keep Jurong Island Fresh

Jurong Island continues to bask in sunshine. Despite the attraction of cheaper gas feedstock in the Middle East and also that from new shale gas projects in the US, oil giants like ExxonMobil and Shell are still growing their integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in Singapore to boost their sophistication and competitiveness.

ExxonMobil is ramping up its spanking-new second petrochemical complex here to full commercial operations, while Shell has just announced a raft of expansions, said to cost additional billions of dollars, to its facility.

Their expansion projects here - clearly focused more on high-value specialty chemicals rather than oil refining - are fuelled by Asian economic growth, especially in China and India. The latter has sparked industrial demand for a whole range of chemicals needed to make end-products from heat and oil-resistant plastic car parts and high-performance tyres to textile fibres, high-end foam bedding and surfactants or cleansing agents for the offshore oil industry, just to name a few. But it raises the question of why the investments are coming to Singapore, rather than going directly to the heart of the mega markets, like China. Apart from well-known pluses like Jurong Island's superb infrastructure and synergies for the chemical players on the island, industry players say that a big draw is also Singapore's iron-clad, intellectual property protection regime.

This has given the oil giants the confidence to incorporate state-of-the-art technologies in their mega-billion dollar plantings here. It also extends down the chemicals chain to specialty chemical makers which have brought their latest proprietary technologies here, fully assured that potential copycats are effectively fenced out.

The fact that the "big boys" are here to stay, in turn, provides assurance to the downstream players. New investor Solvay Novecare, for instance, said that the guarantee of long-term feedstock supplies from Shell clinched the deal for the surfactants maker to follow suit here. All this must be sweet music to the Economic Development Board, which, as it moves into the next phase of development on Jurong Island, aims to draw in more of such new investors producing higher value-add downstream derivatives and specialty chemicals. It was the increased availability of butadiene feedstocks from the petrochemical crackers here, including an expansion at Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore, which recently spawned a whole new chain of downstream synthetic rubber plants here.

These include projects by Germany's Lanxess, Japan's Zeon Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemicals and Asahi Kasei Chemicals, and Taiwan's Dairen Chemicals. And right now on EDB's to-do list is the establishment of a similar "high purity chemicals corridor" of downstream plants which will make use of feedstocks like high-purity ethylene oxide, polyols and ethoxylates from Shell's latest investments. These latest developments will ensure that Jurong Island continues to stay attractive.

 




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Thursday, September 5, 2013

SINGAPORE: Asia’s largest jet fuel trader lease storage tanks to build up fuel oil business

(EnergyAsia, September 6 2013, Friday) — Asia's largest physical jet fuel trader said it is venturing into fuel oil, the region's main oil product, with the signing of a three-year lease to store refined products on Singapore's Jurong Island.

China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd (CAO) said it will lease five tanks with a combined capacity of 174,000 cubic metres from Horizon Singapore Terminals Private Limited (HSTPL) from September 1 to store fuel oil and blending components.

HSTPL is a subsidiary of Horizon Terminals Limited, a leading independent bulk liquid storage company owned by the UAE's state Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC).

Calling this a "milestone" deal, Meng Fanqiu, CAO's CEO, said it represents the company's first venture into the fuel oil trade, which far exceeds the volume and value of jet fuel.

He said: "Singapore is the largest fuel oil market in the world and strategically located between the growing fuel oil markets of Middle East and China. Having access to fuel oil storage facilities in Singapore is essential to the growth and expansion of CAO's fuel oil business, as it enhances our flexibility and trading capability in this market, as well as opens up new business opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

"CAO will continue to execute the strategy of building up an integrated supply chain for its fuel oil business, so as to expand income streams and diversify into other oil products with jet fuel supply and trading as its core business."

Apart from trading oil products, CAO and wholly-owned subsidiaries, China Aviation Oil (Hong Kong) Company Limited and North American Fuel Corporation, supply jet fuel to airports outside China, including Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the Middle East. The company owns investments in various strategic oil-related businesses including Shanghai Pudong International Airport Aviation Fuel Supply Company Ltd, China National Aviation Fuel TSN-PEK Pipeline Transportation Corp Ltd, Oilhub Korea Yeosu Co Ltd and Xinyuan Petrochemicals Co Ltd.

A subsidiary of China National Aviation Fuel Group Corporation, CAO is listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.

 




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Sunday, August 18, 2013

SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Aramco orders US$967 million worth of components for 4,000MW gas-fired power plant at Jazan

(EnergyAsia, August 19 2013, Monday) — Germany's Siemens said it has secured a large order of components for the construction of a 4,000MW gas-fired combined-cycle power plant in Saudi Arabia.

State energy firm Saudi Aramco placed the US$966.8 million order for the plant which is expected to start up in 2016 to power up the industrial city including a 400,000 b/d refinery in the south-western city of Jazan. Comprising five units, the Jazan power plant will be fuelled with gasified refinery residues that will help preserve the country's energy resources.

The plant's first two units will start up in the spring of 2016, with the rest to follow in the second half of 2017.

Siemens said it will supply 10 gas turbines, including six to be manufactured in Saudi Arabia, that are designed to use synthesis gas (syngas) and diesel fuel for what will be one of the world's largest power plants.

The German firm, which said the SGT6-5000F gas turbine model has a successful track record of more than nine million operating hours, will also supply five steam turbines, 15 generators and 10 heat recovery steam generators.

"This is not only the largest order to date for Siemens from Saudi Aramco, but also a significant milestone in our successful cooperation with the biggest oil company in the world, and is proof of the success of our regionalization strategy," said Michael Suess, CEO of Siemens' Energy Sector and member of the Siemens AG managing board.

Nabil Aldabal, managing director of Aramco Overseas Company, a Saudi Aramco subsidiary, said:

"This new highly efficient combined cycle power plant is an important part of our major project in the new economic zone in Jazan, and for this we must have efficient and reliable technology. We are looking forward to working with Siemens on this strategic project."

Saudi Arabia, with its large oil and natural gas reserves, is the largest economy in the Gulf region with significant potential to grow demand for efficient fossil power generation. For the rest of the decade, the kingdom's power demand is projected to increase by six percent per year while its population is expected to increase from about 28 million to 34 million in 2020. The government is planning to increase the kingdom's installed power generation capacity from 67 gigawatts in 2012 to 140 gigawatts in 2020.

Siemens said it is investing in this growth market by constructing a facility in Dammam city to manufacture and service gas turbines and related equipment.





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Thursday, August 15, 2013

SINGAPORE: Sembcorp expands waste-to-energy capacity with S$250 million new steam production plant

(EnergyAsia, August 16 2013, Friday) — Sembcorp Industries said it plans to invest more than S$250-million to build a plant on Singapore that has the capacity to produce 140 tonnes per hour of steam using industrial and commercial waste while emitting 50% less carbon dioxide compared with a coal-fired facility. (US$1=S$1.26).

Located on Jurong Island's Sakra sector, the two-boiler plant is slated to start up in 2016 and will use 1,000 tonnes per day of industrial and commercial waste collected by Sembcorp's solid waste management operations. That amount equals roughly 14% of the daily total tonnage of waste incinerated in Singapore.

The company said the project, its second waste-to-energy (WTE) project, is in line with its objective to offer "the best and most competitive solutions" to its petrochemical plant customers on Jurong Island while helping them reduce their carbon footprint.

The investment will be funded through a combination of bank borrowings and internal sources.

Sembcorp Industries Group President and CEO Tang Kin Fei said:

"This new energy-from-waste plant increases our supply of energy from alternative fuel. It will reduce our cost of energy production on Jurong Island and enable us to provide our customers a competitively priced, environmentally-friendly source of steam.

"Sembcorp is also taking the lead in supporting the government's efforts to promote a greener, more sustainable Jurong Island."

Ng Meng Poh, Sembcorp's executive vice president and head of utilities, said:

This new investment demonstrates Sembcorp's unceasing focus on offering the best solutions for our customers. It will provide a reliable supply of steam to serve their needs and takes our investment in facilities to serve Jurong Island customers to nearly S$3 billion. In addition, this facility will also be environmentally-friendly and help our customers to reduce their carbon footprint."

Sembcorp's first WTE project in Singapore started up last year using woodchips from construction and demolition waste to fuel a steam boiler on Jurong Island.

The company, which has also developed WTE and renewable energy plants In the UK and China, has decided to delay the construction of a second 400 MW cogeneration plant on Jurong Island amid signs that Singapore is facing an oversupply of power generation capacity.





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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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