Energy giant expands Singapore footprint

(From left) Finland's Ambassador to Singapore Antti Vanska, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Neste president and chief executive Peter Vanacker and Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin
(From left) Finland's Ambassador to Singapore Antti Vanska, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Neste president and chief executive Peter Vanacker and Economic Development Board chairman Beh Swan Gin after the foundation stone ceremony yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Neste will boost renewable product overall capacity by up to 1.3 million tonnes a year

Finnish energy giant Neste will be expanding in Singapore, boosting its capacity to develop renewable and sustainable products.

The firm, which is ranked one of the top three most sustainable companies in the world by the Corporate Knights' Global 100 Index, held a foundation stone ceremony yesterday to officially mark the extension of its new production line in Tuas.

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who witnessed the ceremony, said innovations in sustainable energy such as Neste's renewable diesel are critically needed today.

He said: "It is a major step forward not only for Neste, but for Singapore's energy and chemicals industry, and for our two countries' mutual quest to grow, and help the world grow, in an environmentally sustainable way. Such innovations are critically needed today in our efforts to tackle climate change."

Neste's renewable diesel delivers a reduction of up to 90 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions compared with fossil diesel, and can be used directly by existing engines.

"Without innovations to create efficient, affordable and scalable forms of clean energy, the cost to economies and societies of transiting to clean energy will be far higher. It will then be far more difficult to secure the necessary political commitment in any democracy to make that transition," the minister said.

Mr Tharman was joined by dignitaries from the Finnish Embassy, Economic Development Board and JTC Corporation as well as Neste president and chief executive Peter Vanacker.

Neste's expansion will boost the firm's renewable product overall capacity here by up to 1.3 million tonnes per annum, bringing the total renewable product capacity close to 4.5 million tonnes annually in 2022. It will make the Singapore plant Neste's largest renewable product plant and account for about half of its global production capacity, Mr Tharman noted.

INNOVATIONS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

It is a major step forward not only for Neste, but for Singapore's energy and chemicals industry, and for our two countries' mutual quest to grow, and help the world grow, in an environmentally sustainable way. Such innovations are critically needed today in our efforts to tackle climate change.

MR THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, on the importance of Neste's renewable diesel.

The expansion follows an investment of $2.1 billion by the company. Construction on the expanded facilities started at the beginning of the year and the firm is to commence the new production line in Singapore during the first half of 2022.

Mr Tharman added that the Neste facility here will help the firm to move along in its sustainability journey. It will expand its product slate beyond renewable diesel to jet fuel.

Mr Vanacker said the expansion will enable the production of over one million tonnes of renewable jet fuel.

The Singapore facility will also be equipped with innovative capabilities to process a wider range of feedstock, including dirtier waste animal fat and residual plant oils, to make the process more cost-efficient as well as environmentally friendly.

Mr Tharman said: "Neste will also add to our efforts to develop the circular economy. I understand that in its next phase of development, the company is exploring ways to use liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for its refining processes. We are very keen to partner Neste in this new and exciting possibility for converting waste to energy."

Mr Vanacker said Neste chose Singapore because of its high technological capabilities, infrastructure and good logistics systems.

"This is important not only in terms of rising product volumes, which will be increasingly shipped and flown around the world but also because of an increasingly complex demand and flow of raw materials... Singapore's extensive and excellent trade relations all around the world are an extremely important asset."

He added that Singapore also has an ideal workforce pool that the firm can tap. Once completed, the facility will employ more than 100 new local professionals.

"We are determined to serve our customers and the industry in reducing carbon emissions," Mr Vanacker added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Energy giant expands S'pore footprint'. Print Edition | Subscribe