Natural gas sector 'offers good prospects'

The LNG terminal on Jurong Island is to be expanded and its annual throughput capacity will almost double from six million to 11 million tonnes by next year. A fourth tank will be completed in 2018.
The LNG terminal on Jurong Island is to be expanded and its annual throughput capacity will almost double from six million to 11 million tonnes by next year. A fourth tank will be completed in 2018.PHOTO: COURTESY OF SLNGCORP.COM
Dr Koh Poh Koon
Dr Koh Poh Koon
Mr Seah Moon Ming
Mr Seah Moon Ming

Its cleaner nature and relative abundance likely to fuel global demand: Minister

The natural gas sector offers valuable business and job opportunities in the longer term, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Koh Poh Koon said yesterday.

He added that new developments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) technologies and floating offshore solutions also present good prospects. The floating offshore solutions include gas storage facilities which can be located on a barge.

Opening an inaugural Gas Roundtable held at the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore headquarters at Bugis Junction, Dr Koh said: "The advantages offered by natural gas, such as its environmental advantages and relative abundance compared to other fossil fuels, are expected to help (it) make up 30 per cent of the global energy mix by 2035."

International events over the past few years have presented a challenging period for companies in the natural gas sector, including supporting industries such as the offshore and marine sector, he said.

But Dr Koh added that there are opportunities for companies which remain resilient while priming themselves for future growth.

GLOBAL DEMAND

The advantages offered by natural gas, such as its environmental advantages and relative abundance compared to other fossil fuels, are expected to help (it) make up 30 per cent of the global energy mix by 2035.

DR KOH POH KOON, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development.

"The timing is right for companies in traditional oil and gas services, as well as engineering businesses, to consider diversification and building their capabilities to harness long-term opportunities."

He urged companies to continue innovating to remain relevant in the developing LNG sector, including overseas markets.

GAINING PROMINENCE

Worldwide, natural gas is gaining prominence as a primary fuel source for power generation and as transportation fuel on land, and progressively on sea.

MR SEAH MOON MING, IE Singapore chairman.

The Government has taken significant steps in growing the LNG sector, he said. Singapore's LNG terminal, operational since 2013, is being expanded, he added. Its throughput capacity will almost double from six million to 11 million tonnes a year by 2017. A fourth tank will be completed in 2018, which will lift the terminal's ability to support storage, reloading and break-bulking of LNG for the region.

Dr Koh said Singapore is taking the lead in LNG bunkering. He said two licences have been awarded by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) for the development of infrastructure for the delivery and supply of LNG bunkers. In addition, the MPA will fund up to $12 million to build six LNG-fuelled vessels.

The private sector has a big role in developing Singapore as a pricing hub for LNG. "The Singapore Exchange and the Energy Market Company have launched the SGX LNG Index Group (SLIng), a weekly spot price index that can serve as an Asian gas price," said Dr Koh.

He urged Singapore companies to develop their capabilities in the LNG sector and capture value along the supply chain.

The Asia-Pacific is projected to see the largest rise in natural gas demand, with Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines offering good prospects, said IE Singapore chairman Seah Moon Ming.

"Worldwide, natural gas is gaining prominence as a primary fuel source for power generation and as transportation fuel on land, and progressively on sea," said Mr Seah. "While we are excited about renewables, gas remains the practical fuel of choice to reduce global carbon emission for the next 30, if not 50 years."

Natural gas emits 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal and about 20 per cent less than fuel oil.

Mr Seah said Singapore's shipyards, and construction and engineering companies involved in offshore oilfield services and plant and marine civil engineering, are well positioned to innovate to meet global standards.

He said the firms can adapt their know-how for small-scale LNG infrastructure, transportation and distribution. Local firms should also consider opportunities in India, Central America and Africa, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Natural gas sector 'offers good prospects''. Print Edition | Subscribe