12 December 2013

CHRISTMAS has come early for Singapore's petrochemicals industry. Royal Vopak, the largest independent storage operator here, said yesterday that it will be building an LPG terminal to import alternative liquefied petroleum gas feedstock, which will help boost the competitiveness of the largely naphtha-fuelled petrochemical crackers here.

Vopak's move - marking a crucial development in the Jurong Island 2.0 initiative - comes ahead of an earlier-than-expected Q1 2014 timeline for a government announcement on the potential project developer.

When completed in Q1 2016, Vopak's 100 per cent owned terminal will import LPG for the Republic's four petrochemical complexes, which have also been designed to use the alternative feedstock that can be cheaper than naphtha at certain times of the year. This will help put them on a better footing vis-a-vis gas-fuelled crackers in the Middle East, and emerging US ones which have advantaged shale gas feedstock.

Vopak said that the LPG terminal, with an initial 80,000 cubic metres capacity, had secured ExxonMobil, which operates two world-scale crackers on Jurong Island, as its first anchor tenant. Shell and the Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) operate the two other mega petrochemical complexes here.