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November 2002

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Singapore is a major refining center for Southeast Asia, with refining capacity of nearly double its rate of petroleum products consumption. It also is strategically located near the Strait of Malacca, a major route for oil tankers.

Note: The information contained in this report is the best available as of November 2002 and can change.

Map of Singapore.  Having problems contact our National Energy Information Center on 202-586-8800 for help. GENERAL BACKGROUND
Singapore’s strategic location at the entrance to the Strait of Malacca has helped it to become one of the most important shipping centers in Asia. The Port of Singapore, the world's busiest in terms of shipping tonnage, is a key component of Singapore’s prosperity and economic health. Singapore also is a leader in new biotechnologies, petroleum refining, and the manufacturing of computer components.

Recognizing that Singapore’s future growth depends on overcoming resource limitations and a small domestic market, the Singaporean government has vigorously encouraged local firms to regionalize their operations and to invest abroad. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong has identified China, India, and the ASEAN countries as priority countries in the regionalization drive.

Singapore's economy has suffered, though, from the global economic slowdown of the last two years. In the short term, its heavy concentration in computer hardware and consumer electronics exports has been a liability. Singapore's real GDP fell by 1.9% in 2001, and growth in 2002 is projected at only 2.2%, well below the phenomenal technology-led growth rates of the 1990's. Real GDP growth is projected at 4.8% in 2003, largely on an expected recovery in demand for computer components and consumer electronics exports.

Singapore is one of the major petroleum refining centers of Asia, with total crude oil refining capacity of nearly 1.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d). The Asian economic crisis of 1997-98 had a negative impact on Singapore’s refining industry, and Singapore’s refining companies lost significant business due to declining demand for oil products in the region. While the region staged a recovery from the financial crisis in 1999 and 2000, the construction of new refineries in Singapore's traditional export markets has had a more enduring negative effect.  Recent refinery expansions in several of its traditional markets also are hurting Singapore's exports. New refineries in India, particularly the 540,000-bbl/d Reliance Petroleum refinery at Jamnagar which began production in 2000, have reduced Indian demand for imports of refined products.  The Melaka refining complex in Malaysia also has become a competitor.  While there has been a short-term recovery in refining margins in 2002, the overall outlook for Singpore's refiners is still uncertain, with so much capacity being built elsewhere in Asia.

In response to these pressures, individual refinery operators in Singapore have been exploring different restructuring measures.  For instance, Shell has centralized control of its Asian refining operations in Singapore. Caltex has followed a similar strategy.  Other Singaporean refiners are exploring approaches ranging from large run cutbacks to cost cutting in an effort to boost margins.

Some owners of refineries in Singapore reportedly have expressed interest in selling their stakes in 2002. BP has had discussions with Malaysia's Petronas about its interest in the Singapore Refining Company, but no sales agreements have been reached.

The rapid growth of Singapore’s petrochemical industry has been a direct result of the country's strong base in petroleum refining. A large project to reclaim seven islands to form a 12-square mile petrochemical complex on Jurong Island is in progress. This project will provide more land to support the growth of petrochemicals and chemical industries.

Recent major developments in the petrochemical industry in Singapore include the start up of a second naphtha cracker by the Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore and its downstream partners, Phillips Petroleum, The Polyolefin Company, Hoechst, and Seraya Chemicals. In addition, Germany’s Messer Group and U.S.-based Texaco have built a $200-million synthetic gas plant on Jurong Island. The synthetic gas is being used for industrial purposes and as feedstock for petrochemical and refining customers on Jurong Island.

Singapore imports all of its natural gas, which is mainly used for power generation and as a feedstock for petrochemical production. Natural gas use is rising rapidly, as the Singaporean government promotes policies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide and sulfur emissions, ensuring energy security, and promoting the country as a regional hub for an integrated gas pipeline network.  Singapore Power currently imports 155 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of natural gas through a pipeline from Malaysia, its first natural gas supplier. This pipeline was the first transnational natural gas pipeline built in East Asia.

Singapore has embarked on a diversification strategy so it will not become dependent on a single source for gas imports. In January 1999, the Singaporean gas consortium, SembGas, (which consists of SembCorp Engineering, Tuas Power, EDB International, and Belgium’s Tractebel) signed an agreement to purchase West Natuna gas from Indonesian state energy company Pertamina. SembGas has agreed to purchase 325 Mmcfd of natural gas for 22 years, through a pipeline from the West Natuna natural gas fields to Singapore.  Deliveries of natural gas through the pipeline began in January 2001.

Another firm contract was signed for supplies to PowerGas from Pertamina in February 2001. The 20-year contract calls for supplies of 150 Mmcf/d to begin in 2003, rising to 350 Mmcf/d by 2009. The natural gas will come from deposits on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The subsea pipeline linking Sumatra to Singapore is expected to cost $300 million. Construction on the pipeline began in June 2002.

In addition to natural gas imports from Malaysia and the two pipelines from Indonesia, Singapore has plans under discussion to build an LNG import terminal, thereby freeing itself from complete dependence on neighboring states for its gas supply. The Singaporean government announced in September 1999 that it has set aside land at Tuas View for the project. In the last three years, however, the project has made little progress. While it would have obvious energy-security benefits for Singapore, LNG currently would cost more than piped natural gas.

One new use for natural gas in Singapore is as a fuel for motor vehicles. Singapore has launched a program to convert public buses in some areas to compressed natural gas (CNG), and the first SembGas CNG filling station opened in April 2002. The CNG vehicle program may later expand to taxis.

Singapore may eventually become important as a regional natural gas hub for Southeast Asia.  The idea of a regional gas grid for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been under discussion for several years, and international links already exist or are under construction between Burma and Thailand, between Malaysia and Thailand, and between Indonesia and Singapore.  Singapore has an ideal location to function as the hub of such a system if it comes to fruition.

Singapore is in the process of restructuring and privatizing its electric power sector, which is to transform what was a monopoly into a competitive market. Two subsidiaries of state-owned Singapore Power, PowerSeraya and PowerSenoko, along with Tuas Power, are currently generating electricity. PowerGrid, another subsidiary of Singapore Power, maintains and operates the country's electricity transmission and distribution system. The Singaporean government currently owns majority stakes in all of these firms through holding companies. The process of privatization has been repeatedly delayed, and current plans call for the Singporean government to divest its stakes in the electric utility sector in 2004.

A regulatory agency for the country's electric utility sector, the Energy Markets Authority (EMA) was created in April 2001.  It is working out the details of the privatization process.

Natural gas importer SembCorp already has entered the power generation business as an independent power producer (IPP), completing the construction of a 815-megawatt (MW) gas-fired plant under the name SembCorp Cogen.  The facility began operation in September 2001.  Malaysia's Tenaga Nasional  has expressed interest in entering Singapore's power market after deregulation.  It would either sell power from its grid in Malaysia to customers in Singapore, or possibly purchase generation assets in Singapore.

Most of the state-owned utilities' generating capacity has been converted from fuel oil to natural gas as it has become available.  Most new planned capacity also will burn natural gas.  Tuas Power awarded a contract to Mitsubishi in 2001 for two 367-MW combined cycle generating units, which are to be completed in 2006.  The current economic slwodown, however, has largely stalled expansion of electricity generating capacity in Singapore.

Sources for this report include: Business Times Singapore; CIA World Factbook 2002; Dow Jones News Wire; Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire; Global Insight Asia Economic Outlook; Oil & Gas Journal; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; Platt's Oilgram News; Reuters News Wire; Straits Times; U.S. Energy Information Administration.

President: Sellapan Rama Nathan (since 1999)
Prime Minister: Goh Chok Tong (since 1990)
Senior Minister: Lee Kuan Yew
Independence: August 9, 1965
Population (2002E): 4.5 million
Location/Size: Singapore lies in Southeast Asia, with Peninsular Malaysia to the north, East Malaysia to the east, and Indonesia to the south. The country consists of one main island and 54 islets located approximately 77 miles north of the equator.
Major Cities: Singapore
Language: Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil
Ethnic Groups: Chinese (77%); Malay (14%); Indian (8%)
Defense (1998): 53,900 total active armed forces (221,000 reservists). Army: 45,000 personnel (210,000 reservists); Navy: 2,900 personnel (3,600 reservists); Air Force: 6,000 personnel (7,500 reservists)

Currency: Singapore dollar
Exchange Rate (11/26/02): 1.77 Singapore dollars = 1 U.S Dollar
Real GDP Growth Rate (2001E): -1.9% (2002E): 2.2%
Inflation Rate (consumer prices) (2001E): 1.0% (2002E): 0.1%
Current Account Balance (2002E): $17.8 billion
Merchandise Trade Balance (2002E): $13.4 billion
Major Exports: Machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, telecommunications equipment, computer equipment, food and live animals, crude rubber, beverages, tobacco, clothing.
Major Imports: Machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, crude materials, foodstuffs, tobacco, textiles, iron and steel, aircraft.
Top Trading Partners: Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, United States
Total External Debt (2002E): None.

Oil Consumption (2002E): 722,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) (all imported)
Crude Oil Refining Capacity (1/1/02E): 1.3 million bbl/d
Natural Gas Consumption (2000E): 53 billion cubic feet (Bcf) (all imported)
Electric Generation Capacity (1/1/00E): 6.7 gigawatts (all thermal)
Electricity Generation (2000E): 27.9 billion kilowatt hours

Minister of the Environment: Lim Siew Say
Total Energy Consumption (2000E): 1.7 quadrillion Btu* (0.5% of world total energy consumption)
Energy-Related Carbon Emissions (2000E): 31.6 million metric tons of carbon (0.5% of world carbon emissions)
Per Capita Energy Consumption (2000E): 419.1 million Btu (vs. U.S. value of 351.0 million Btu)
Per Capita Carbon Emissions (2000E): 7.9 metric tons of carbon (vs. U.S. value of 5.6 metric tons of carbon)
Energy Intensity (2000E): 14,853 Btu/$1995 (vs U.S. value of 10,918 Btu/$1995)**
Carbon Intensity (2000E): 0.28 metric tons of carbon/thousand $1995 (vs U.S. value of 0.17 metric tons/thousand $1995)**
Sectoral Share of Energy Consumption (1998E): Transportation (61.2%), Industrial (30.8%), Commercial (4.8%), Residential (3.2%)
Sectoral Share of Carbon Emissions (1998E): Industrial (58.3%), Transportation (26.5%), Commercial (9.1%), Residential (6.1%)
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (2000E): Oil (96.7%), Natural Gas (3.3%), Coal (0.0%)
Fuel Share of Carbon Emissions (2000E): Oil (97.5%), Natural Gas (2.5%), Coal (0.0%)
Renewable Energy Consumption (1998E): 2.9 trillion Btu* (60% decrease from 1997)
Number of People per Motor Vehicle (1998): 6 (vs. U.S. value of 1.3)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (ratified May 29th, 1997). Not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
Major Environmental Issues: Industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia.
Major International Environmental Agreements: A party to Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection and Ship Pollution.

* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on EIA International Energy Annual 2000

State Energy Companies: Singapore National Oil Company; Singapore Petroleum Company; Singapore Power Company; PowerSeraya; PowerSenoko; Tuas Power; PowerGas
Major Refineries (1/1/02 Capacity): Esso Singapore Pty. Ltd. (265,000 bbl/d); Mobil Oil Singapore Pty. Ltd. (300,000 bbl/d); Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte.) Ltd. (405,000 bbl/d) Singapore Refining Co. Ltd. (285,000 bbl/d). Major Ports: Singapore


For more information from EIA on Singapore, please see:
EIA - Country Information on Singapore  

Links to other U.S. government sites:
U.S. State Department Background Notes - Singapore
U.S. State Department Consular Information Sheet - Singapore
CIA World Factbook - Singapore
U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Fossil Energy - Singapore
U.S. Embassy in Singapore

The following links are provided solely as a service to our customers, and therefore should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any position of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) or the United States Government. In addition, EIA does not guarantee the content or accuracy of any information presented in linked sites.

Singapore Department of Statistics
Singapore Power Company
Singapore - Energy Market Authority (EMA)
Links to Singapore's Government ministries
State of Hawaii - Country Trade Profile for Singapore

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File last modified: November 27, 2002


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