Petroleum additives firm Infineum officially launched on Wednesday a new chemical manufacturing plant at Jurong Island.
The 2 ha facility is the British company's first salicylate plant in the Asia-Pacific region, and represents its biggest single investment to date at US$150 million (S$187.8 million).
Calcium salicylate, a critical detergent component of the company's passenger car, heavy-duty and marine lubricant formulations, has been produced by the facility since early last month (April) when it first started operations.
In a statement, the company said the new plant is an important addition to its global supply capability for additives, with an "integrated manufacturing process" comprising computer-automated operations and in-line systems to govern equipment functions.
The plant hires close to 200 staff, of which 95 per cent are Singaporeans or permanent residents. While production rates were not disclosed due to confidentiality reasons, Infineum's venture director for the project, Mr Xavier Leleux, said the plant was producing up to design expectations.
Infineum chief executive Xavier le Mintier said the firm aspires to expand its position as a "global leader in the transportation additive industry". "Today we have made a major step in that direction by bringing together the most advanced technology, process design, and best talents, here in the Asia Pacific region, here in Singapore," he added, speaking at Wednesday's opening.
Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, told Wednesday's ceremony that the new plant is well-placed to serve the "burgeoning demand" for fuels and lubricants in the region. He added: "Urbanisation, demographic trends and the growth of the middle class will translate into an increase in Asia's demand for chemical products...expanding consumption will also drive growth in marine traffic, and correspondingly, an increased demand for marine fuels."
Established in 1999 as a joint venture by global fuel giants Shell and ExxonMobil, Infineum hires over 1,700 people worldwide with sales in more than 70 countries, including Japan, Germany, the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom.