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  DIRECTORY OF SINGAPORE PROCESS & CHEMICALS INDUSTRIES 2022/2023
 Expansion of Singapore’s chemical noenergysuppliesofourown,notmuchland Association(Singapore)orPICAS,ithadsome
50 members led by Mr Frankie Tan from Hiap Seng.
The industry was on the cusp of its biggest expansion as Singapore had embarked on its plan to amalgamate seven islands off Jurong for petrochemicals. It was an ambitious undertaking as nothing of this scale had ever been attempted in Singapore.
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) officials began promoting the island to would-be investors in 1992 even while the concept was taking shape. It was a formidable task Mr Lee noted as they were selling “stretches of seawater, with only the promise of land sometime in the future”.
Even as the physical infrastructure was being put in place, the EDB saw the pressing need to build up industry capacity. The process construction and maintenance (PCM) sector was expanding along with the expansion of the chemical industry. From undertaking basic cleaning, welding, fitting and scaffolding in the 60s, companies had begun to assume more responsibilities in process construction and maintenance. But as the chemical industry was
industry over the last three decades has
been phenomenal. From under S$20 billion in the early 90s, the industry’s annual manufacturing output rose nearly fivefold to over S$100 billion at its height. Today, Singapore is a leading chemical hub and home to some of the world’s largest chemical plants.
Singapore has achieved its current status by design. While the chemical industry was making slow but steady gains since the first Shell refinery was open on Pulau Bukom in 1961, the potential was seen to be far bigger. By building on its refining capacity, already one of the top three in the world by the 1970s with the completion of three more facilities, it was felt that Singapore could be a regional centre for petrochemicals.
Reclamation work began in earnest in 1995 to merge seven islands in Singapore’s south into a single landmass to serve as a dedicated centre for petrochemicals. Through the creation of a cluster, the output of one company could become the input of another without the need to transport intermediates between chemical plants. By having common facilities, companies could also plug and play into shared utilities and services, and benefit from the economies of scale.
The bold decision paid off. Jurong Island is now home to over 100 companies in chemical manufacture and research, as companies have built on its sound foundation in refining and petrochemicals to expand into high-value specialty chemicals and derivatives. For a resource poor country, this is quite a feat.
It was a point noted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at JTC Corporation’s 50th Anniversary Dinner on 25 May 2018: “It is a huge achievement considering that we have
area, nor any other natural advantages except that we had the idea, we could execute and implement, and we made it happen.”
As an integral member of the chemical eco-system, the Association of Process Industry (ASPRI) has played a key role in the industry’s success. By working with government agencies, plant owners and other stakeholders on issues ranging from manpower and training to productivity and digitisation, it has helped to foster the development of industry members.
In this Silver Jubilee year, we take a trip down memory lane to trace ASPRI’s development over the last 25 years.
SHORT TAKE ON ASPRI
The beginning
ASPRI was formed on 7 March 1997 with the aim of upgrading contractors through workers’ training and technological advancements to meet clients’ requirements in the areas of productivity, quality and safety. Formerly known as the Process Industry Contractors’
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