Forum: Vital to prepare for a post-oil economy

In a photo taken on Jan 2, 2017, an oil refinery at Pulau Bukom can be seen from Sentosa.
In a photo taken on Jan 2, 2017, an oil refinery at Pulau Bukom can be seen from Sentosa.PHOTO: ST FILE

In discussions about green energy transitions, the sensitive topic of economic trade-offs and impact on the population cannot be swept under the carpet (Can S'pore really transit to a post-oil economy?, Jan 10).

We should be thankful that since World War II and Singapore's independence, demand for fossil fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) has brought in foreign investments in oil refineries here.

This has given rise to our oil-related sectors and contributed greatly to our gross domestic product and economic growth all these years.

The movement towards green and clean energy has been set in motion and there is no turning back. It would affect the oil-related sectors of our economy, and could cause some of our oil refineries to shut down. It is a question of when and how soon.

It might happen 30 years or 50 years from now, but should we kick the can down the road, or plan for the possible or inevitable impact on our economy when oil and gas lose their prominence and influence?

We must face reality when demand for fossil fuel and LNG declines, and the use of green energy becomes more dominant. Singapore will have to be ready for the change and be prepared to move in tandem with the world or be left behind, unable to compete globally.

We must face reality when demand for fossil fuel and LNG declines, and the use of green energy becomes more dominant. Singapore will have to be ready for the change and be prepared to move in tandem with the world or be left behind, unable to compete globally.

Moving quickly towards green energy to stay economically competitive is an important consideration. I hope this topic will be raised in Parliament for an open and robust discussion.

Tan Kok Tim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2020, with the headline 'Vital to prepare for a post-oil economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe