Sunday, January 30, 2011

Defunct biodiesel plants get new lease of life

New owners recycle plants on Jurong Island to make other products, like chemicals
Ronnie Lim Business Times 31 Jan 11;

(SINGAPORE) A new wave of 'recycling' is taking place on Jurong Island.

Defunct first-generation (1-G) biodiesel plants - which became uneconomical when palm oil prices soared - are being revived as new owners upgrade them to make other products like chemicals used for oil and gas drilling.

The 'rejuvenation' of Northfield-based Stepan Company is the first of these. After acquiring Peter Cremer's 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) methyl ester plant in July last year, the American chemicals company is currently upgrading it and installing another fractionation column at the Singapore plant to potentially double its capacity to 200,000 tpa.

The plant's upgrading and expansion, scheduled for completion in February next year, will enable Stepan to produce surfactants used in oilfields. Stepan's surfactants are used in three major oilfield market segments, including drilling, production and stimulation. Methyl esters are for instance used as solvents in drilling fluids.

Another Jurong Island 1-G biodiesel plant which looks set to go the same route is the $130 million Jurong Island plant (once touted as the world's largest biodiesel facility) of Australian-owned Natural Fuel Pte Ltd. The plant which folded up in late-2009 is understood to have changed hands recently. But no details are available at this time.

President and CEO of Stepan, F Quinn Stepan Jr said at the time of its acquisition of Peter Cremer that: 'Methyl esters are a core building block of Stepan's surfactant business and the acquisition of this asset on Singapore's Jurong Island provides a great opportunity to reach our global customer base with methyl esters (ME) and value added derivatives.'

'Our plan is to install methyl ester fractionation capability on the site in order to supply our customers and our internal surfactant needs globally with fractionated methyl esters and derivatives made from tropical oils available in the region.'

The financial terms of the acquisition of the US$20 million plant - previously a joint venture involving Germany's Peter Kremer and Malaysia's Kulim Berhad - were not disclosed.

Stepan just over a week ago awarded a $14.6 million contract to Rotary Engineering to build a new four-storey 50,000 tpa (expandable to 100,000 tpa) fractionated ME plant and also upgrade the existing plant. The plant is expected to tap raw materials like palm oil and coconut from this region.

The early 1-G plants here like Natural Fuel and Peter Cremer, and a third plant belonging to Continental BioEnergy, essentially fell victim to soaring palm oil prices. Palm oil prices had tripled to US$1,400- plus a tonne by March 2008 from US$450 a tonne around 2005/06 when the Jurong Island plants first started.

Given also stiff competition from the many rival biodiesel plants in neighbouring palm oil producing countries, Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore has been promoting more advanced 2-G plants, or second generation plants, with biofuels developed from non-edible or discarded plant parts.

Finland's Neste Oil which expects to ramp up its just-started $1.2 billion biodiesel plant at Tuas to full production by mid-year, exemplifies such 2-G technology.

Its 800,000 tpa Singapore plant - the largest in the world, with an identical new twin plant in Rotterdam starting up also around mid-year - produces biodiesel from 100 per cent renewable materials like palm oil and animal fat. Its advanced 2-G refineries allow Neste Oil to produce biodiesel from straight processing of the raw materials.

The Economic Development Board, in a background note to a recent tender for a consultant, said: 'EDB believes bio-based feedstocks could add a new dimension of chemical feedstock option on Jurong Island. The fast-growing bio-based chemicals industry would also create new economic opportunities for Singapore.'

Jurong Aromatics complex to start building in March

Its US$1.56b finance package will be inked in mid-Feb
Ronnie Lim Business Times 31 Jan 11;

THE coming two months will see a couple of earlier-planned multi-billion dollar investments on Jurong Island finally fall into place.

Jurong Aromatics Corporation (JAC) is set to start construction of its US$2.4 billion aromatics complex in March, sources said, once its US$1.56 billion financing package is signed by the middle of February.

And Sembcorp - which has been contracted by JAC to supply it with steam, water and wastewater treatment services - is also set to sign off on a $900 million EPC deal with Alstom to expand its cogeneration capacity by some 800-megawatts this quarter, BT understands. This will double its cogen capacity to 1,615 MW, giving it economies of scale to better compete.

A source said that JAC has scheduled a debt package signing after the coming Lunar New Year holidays with 'some 11 banks, plus two Korean governmental groups' - with the latter being the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Korea Trade Insurance Corp.

This follows a roadshow last November which saw the JAC financing deal, jointly led by ING Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, being fully subscribed to by apparently mainly European banks.

'Construction of the JAC complex will now start in March, with completion expected in 36 months,' the source added.

This means that the world-scale project - which will produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum of aromatics and 2.5 million tpa of transport fuels - will now come on-stream in early-2014. This is some three years later than it had earlier planned, as the project ran smack into the global credit crunch in 2009.

Sembcorp - which earlier indicated it would not build new capacity pending securing customers - now has the justification, with the JAC project steaming ahead, and Germany's Lanxess already building its synthetic rubber plant.

But as the genco's utilities deals with JAC and Lanxess are mainly for steam and wastewater treatment, Sembcorp will approach its expansion judiciously, and carry it out in two phases. 'The first 400 MW is expected to come on-stream end-2013, with the second coming later,' a source said, explaining that 'a 800MW expansion all at once will be too lumpy, especially given the many other power plants coming on at the same time'.

The 800MW cogen expansion is an addition to Sembcorp's announcement last August to build a $800 million multi-utilities complex next to an earlier-planned $40 million wastewater treatment plant at the island's Tembusu sector. The project, on a 5.3-hectare site, included initially a cogen plant producing 400MW of power and 200 tonnes per hour of steam.

The additional 400MW to be added will put Sembcorp on a stronger footing to compete with new power/utility plants coming up there.

China Huaneng-owned Tuas Power is currently building a $2 billion clean coal/biomass multi-utilities complex on Jurong Island to supply steam and cooling water to Lanxess, while on the mainland, it is also expanding its capacity to supply utilities to new investors like Renewable Energy Corporation and Neste Oil.

YTL-owned PowerSeraya has also entered the utilities game, having recently completed building 800 MW of new cogen capacity, while KepCorp is boosting its current 500MW of capacity in Tembusu to 1,300 MW. New player GMR is also building its new 800MW Island Power station there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Q1 '11 date set for building Island Power's new station

Q1 '11 date set for building Island Power's new station

CONSTRUCTION of the long-delayed $1.2 billion Island Power project here will start in the first quarter of next year, India's GMR Infrastructure announced yesterday, following its signing of an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) deal with a Siemens/Samsung consortium.

This makes it the third generating company, after Keppel Corp and Sembcorp, to announce new investments on Jurong Island in as many weeks.

Island's 800-megawatt station, when up and running in 2013, will mark the entry of the first new power player in years. It also gives India's GMR Group a long-awaited foothold in the Singapore market, after its earlier unsuccessful bids to buy one of the big gencos here now owned by other foreign players like China Huaneng and Malaysia's YTL Corporation.

The rash of power/utilities expansion here comes ahead of a scheduled Sept 15 deadline when all the gencos here will finalise their liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases with appointed aggregator BG Group.

That is also when they are supposed to commit to their new 'planting' with regulator Energy Market Authority (EMA), to qualify for 'vesting contracts' which essentially guarantee them a share of the electricity market here. This was a 'carrot' dangled by EMA - which took over the $1.5 billion LNG terminal project here - to get the gencos to commit to LNG feedstock supplies.

Island Power did not specify the value of its EPC contract with Siemens/Samsung, but previous indications put it at around $850 million. With the EPC finalised, Island Power will now proceed with securing financing for the plant.

Ng Quek Peng, GMR Infrastructure's Asean head, said: 'We have initiated discussions with both local and international banks, and there is strong interest in the project. We expect to secure our financing by December.'

Construction will then start by the end of Q1 next year, with the 800MW station ready by 2013, when the first LNG shipments come in.

The Island project - delayed for eight years by earlier gas pipeline transportation issues - will sign up with BG Group for its entire feedstock requirements, which is about 100 million BTU of regasified LNG daily, Mr Ng told BT.

'We have over three years to sort out custom for the plant,' he added, when asked if it had signed up any direct customers yet. Island will supply just electricity, and not other utilities like steam and cooling water.

Still, with so much planned new planting - the 800MW Island Power (at Seraya sector), Sembcorp (with an announced 400MW expansion at Tembusu) and KepCorp (with plans for another 900MW at Tembusu) - market competition is going to get intense.

This doesn't include expansion also by the three biggest gencos here.

'Repowering' of older oil-firing plants into new, more efficient, gas-firing cogeneration units has been completed at PowerSeraya (giving it 1,500MW of cogen capacity to also supply steam) while Senoko Energy is currently building 860MW of new combined- cycle plants.

Tuas Power has also started building its $2 billion clean coal/biomass plant to supply multi-utilities at Tembusu sector - with Germany's Lanxess butyl rubber plant being its first customer.

With the electricity market here growing just about 4 per cent annually, some industry observers are questioning if there is too much supply chasing demand, and whether all the planned projects will eventually get off the ground. On Jurong Island itself, there are apparently also technical constraints regarding the amount of new capacity that can be supported by the present power grid's 'fault levels'.

Still, for the smaller gencos here like Sembcorp, for instance, the expansion is critical if they are to compete with the big boys. Sembcorp CEO Tang Kin Fei, however, earlier stressed that it would only do so if it had secured custom - hence its announcement last week to build an $800 million power/ steam utilities expansion, after it clinched a 20-year utilities supply deal from Jurong Aromatics Corporation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

三年投资1亿美元 国际香料扩充亚洲业务


  亚洲市场对香料的需求日益增加,国际香料公司(International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.)因此宣布今后三年资1亿美元(1亿2800万新元)在亚洲扩充业务,包括在新加坡投资5000万美元(6400万新元)设立一个先进的液体香精与香料厂,新厂约是现有裕廊厂房的三倍大,而且新加坡雇员总数将增加50%,从目前的66人增至101人。

  国际香料公司主席兼首席执行长道格拉斯・塔夫(Douglas D. Tough)昨日宣布这个消息时表示:“随着本区域的增长持续加速,我们需要使我们的基础设施跟上产能需求,这是一件重要的事。我们今天作出的投资,反映我们对在本区域的增长策略继续有信心,以及我们对这些非常重要的崛起市场的长期承诺。我们的顾客日益加大在本区域的投资,我们承诺提供他们世界级的支援。”

  该公司生产的香料和香精(调味料),用于生产各种消费产品,从香水、食品、饮料、洗洁剂,到个人护理产品(例如肥皂和洗发剂)等,顾客包括主要的大企业,例如宝洁(Procter & Gamble)、联合利华(Unilever)以及可口可乐。它在新加坡营业已有40年历史。新厂房坐落于该公司现有已30年历史的厂房的附近,新厂将有1万2000平方公尺的楼面和世界级的自动化与控制设施,它预定在2012年第二季落成启用,允许该公司在新加坡的总产能最终扩充到每年2万公吨。




Thursday, January 20, 2011

Zeon's New Capacity of SSBR in Singapore

December 22,2010

Zeon Corporation (Naozumi Furukawa - President & CEO) has announced the new construction of Solution Polymerized Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SSBR) plant in Singapore. The plant location, Singapore, has been selected in view of 1) Suitable surroundings for the synthetic rubber production, 2) Availability of Butadiene long term basis, and 3) Accessibility for the market.

As worldwide concerns on environmental protection grow, it is anticipated that the regulations as to energy saving on automobiles and carbon dioxide emission will be becoming more severe for the future. Under this situation, fuel-efficiency is regarded as one of the most important functions for the tire application, and the fuel efficient tire market is expanding accordingly. Introducing "Tire Labeling System" accelerates this stream even quicker too.

Zeon is a pioneer of the high performance SSBR development in the world and its most advanced products give tire a high plane of balance of two conflicting key functions, low rolling resistance and good wet grip. Zeon's SSBR, which is designed to be suitable for Silica compound, wins great customers' confidences worldwide indeed. Zeon continues developing new products that meet the customers' demands to improve total performance including fuel efficiency and supply sufficient volume customers require as well.

Zeon pursuits the high performance on SSBR with its original and innovative technology, which has been cultivated through long term experiences in the rubber industry, in order to meet every expectation from the global market and society.

= New Zeon SSBR Plant =
Location: Jurong Island, Republic of Singapore
Capacity: Phase 1 30,000 - 40,000 mt/year
Phase 2 30,000 - 40,000 mt/year (additional)
Process: Solution Polymerization
Product: SSBR & BR
Start of production: July, 2013

Stepan Purchases Peter Cremer's Singapore Manufacturing Assets

 NORTHFIELD, Ill., July 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Stepan Company (NYSE: SCL) today announced it has acquired the manufacturing assets of Peter Cremer GmbH's 100,000 ton per year methyl ester plant located on Singapore's Jurong Island.

"Methyl esters are a core building block of Stepan's surfactant business and the acquisition of this asset on Singapore's Jurong Island provides a great opportunity to reach our global customer base with methyl esters and value added derivatives," stated F. Quinn Stepan Jr., President and CEO of Stepan Company.  "Our plan is to install methyl ester fractionation capability on the site in order to supply our customers and our internal surfactant needs globally with fractionated methyl esters and derivatives made from tropical oils available in the region.  The site acquisition and the further planned capital investments will firmly position Stepan for continued global growth leveraging our strong position in methyl esters."

Stepan intends to re-start production of the Jurong Island plant by the end of 2011 after adding fractionation capabilities to the plant's current production capabilities.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Stepan Company, headquartered in Northfield, Illinois, is a leading producer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in household, industrial, personal care, agricultural, food and insulation related products.  The common and the convertible preferred stocks are traded on the New York and Chicago Stock Exchanges under the symbols SCL and SCLPR.  For more information, visit Stepan's website at

ExxonMobil refinery fire: Seven charged over fatal oil refinery fire

Straits Times 21 Jan 11;

FIVE employees of ExxonMobil Asia Pacific and two other workers employed by the oil company's contractor were charged in court yesterday with breaching workplace safety laws in relation to a fire at the oil refinery about four years ago.

The fire at the Jurong oil refinery on May 3, 2007 claimed the lives of three workers and injured one. A fifth managed to escape unharmed.

The three who died worked for Mun Siong Engineering, which has since been accused of failing to take measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees at work.

The company, which was engaged by ExxonMobil to provide services for mechanical works, faces a fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction.

Its case will be next mentioned on Tuesday.

The five from the oil giant accused yesterday of contravening the Workplace Safety and Health Act are: fuels manufacturing coordinator Yeo Soon Yong; operation supervisor Poonis Iswaran Ganesan; and senior operation technicians Soh Beng Thong, Ng Kim Seng and Lim Joe Ann.

Mun Siong's two employees accused of a similar offence are its site supervisor Anowar Hossain Khan Shahadatali Khan and process and maintenance worker Hannan Abdul Jalil Monowara Begum.

If convicted, each faces a fine of up to $1,000.

The men's cases will come up for mention again on Feb 17.