A Guide to the Oil & Gas Sector

By Deanna Bonaparte

Despite having a lack of domestic oil and natural gas reserves, Singapore is one of the leading petrochemical hubs in the world. Investors place full confidence in and are attracted to Singapore’s bustling oil and gas hub because of the country’s political and economic stability.

Furthermore, government agencies like the Economic Development Board (EDB) and JTC Corporation (JTC) work to ensure that infrastructure, technology and support services are in place to support new and existing petrochemical companies.

World-Class Infrastructure

Singapore’s Jurong Island is one such example – the entire island is a specialised industrial park for the petrochemical industry. Furthermore, the Jurong Rock Caverns (located 130 metres below the Banyan Basin of Jurong Island) is Southeast Asia’s first commercial underground storage facility for liquid hydrocarbons and has a storage capacity of over 1.4 billion cubic metres. Jurong Island is home to more than 80 chemical companies specialising in petroleum refining, petrochemical and speciality chemical manufacturing and other related functions. Collectively, Jurong Island has successfully attracted investments in excess of S$35 billion.

A well-trained core of engineering, management and technician jobs, as well as a plethora of supporting roles, is thus required to help run and move this dynamic industry forward into the future.

Developing this Burgeoning Sector

To help prepare and groom talent for this dynamic sector, there is a need to keep up with the rest of the world through constant innovation. The Singapore government understands this and is promoting more research activities, developing more research-related talent and expanding local R&D capabilities. In fact, this is evidenced by the SkillsFuture Study Awards scheme introduced by the Government, through which workers belonging to any of Singapore’s five growth clusters will be given the chance to develop and strengthen their skills. The Award will give qualified recipients a monetary award of up to $5,000 to help defray the costs associated with work-related education and training, and other related competencies.

Furthermore, EDB has made significant investments to develop industry-relevant R&D capabilities and talent by helping to launch the Petroleum Engineering Professorship programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in October 2014. This new programme will partner various companies to participate in R&D projects. These partnerships have the potential to strengthen Singapore’s R&D capabilities and further collaborations between industry and academia.

A Slew of Opportunities

Singapore’s enviable position along international trade routes and its highly-rated living environment is a boon for international organisations seeking a location to both engage with their customers and manage their operating entities in Asia. This will, in turn, see ever more investments being pumped into this growing sector and lead to a rise of job creation and opportunities for those who wish to seize a career within it.

Future graduates looking to pursue a career in the sector can explore offerings from a wide range of multinational petrochemical companies based in Singapore, such as Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Evonik Degussa, Mitsui Chemicals and Sumitomo Chemicals. Given their impressive successes, these companies are indicative of an industry that has flourished and will only continue to.

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