Keppel Corporation has set up a research laboratory to develop new technologies needed to build offshore rigs that can operate in ultra deep water and harsh arctic conditions.
The $75 million Keppel-NUS Corporate Lab will also undertake research to find new environmentally-friendly ways of mining minerals in the seabed, as well as to improve productivity of welders and painters in the company's shipyards.
The company is collaborating with the Engineering Faculty of the National University of Singapore (NUS) to set up this corporate lab, which will hire more than 130 people in the next five years.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean described the move as breaking new ground for Singapore. Keppel is the first local company to start a corporate lab.
"Keppel has decided to make this major research and development investment to sustain its lead in the marine and offshore industry and to advance its business position globally," he said.
Keppel had invested in technology and innovation activities such as KOMtech (Keppel Offshore & Marine Technology Centre) to develop specialised capabilities and new oil rig designs, among other things.
Its efforts have paid off as it has built close to half the world's jack-up rigs since 2000, said Mr Teo.
The new areas of research will "open up new commercial possibilities, create exciting job opportunities for Singaporeans, and add vibrancy to the marine and offshore industry in Singapore", he added.
"We hope that the Keppel-NUS collaboration will encourage other local companies to forge strategic alliances with our research performers to do future-oriented practical research that creates economic value for Singapore, and good jobs for Singaporeans."
The Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory is supported by the National Research Foundation under its Corporate Lab @ University scheme, which was launched in March this year.
British aircraft engine maker Rolls Royce set up the first corporate lab under this scheme with the Nanyang Technological University.