Biofuels, Singapore, Transportation

Singapore Buys into Biofuels

September 12, 2007 (Biofuel Review) In a speech given at the 23rd Asia-Pacific Petroleum Conference in Singapore yesterday (11th September) Mr S Iswaran, the Minister of State for Trade & Industry, for Singapore highlighted the importance Singapore places on the development of biofuels, as part of its long term energy strategy.Mr Iswaran said it was important to recognize; “that biofuels have a material role within the oil industry. Sustained high oil prices have increased the attractiveness of biofuels as an alternative fuel for transportation. Although biofuels might account for only one to two per cent of overall energy demand, its future potential should not be underestimated. Biofuels are likely to be an enduring aspect of the oil industry.”

He explained that the oil industry is an integral part of the Singaporean economy, but to ensure its future there had to be some key initiatives put in place, one of which was to integrate biofuels within the sector.

“We will endeavour to integrate biofuels into our oil industry”, said Mr Iswaran. “In the last 3 years, the Economic Development Board of Singapore has made considerable headway in the biofuels sector by jump-starting biodiesel manufacturing on Jurong Island. With these efforts, Singapore’s biodiesel production output is expected to exceed one million tons per annum by 2010, and reach three million tons per annum by 2015.”

He continued; “A number of new biodiesel plants on Jurong Island are close to commencing operations. Therefore, we are embarking on the next phase of industry development for biofuels, which is biofuels trading. One key step in this direction would be Platts’ upcoming plans to commence price assessment for biodiesel loaded out of Singapore. Knowing the price of biodiesel is vital to exporters who are planning to establish their production bases here in Singapore to serve both regional and global markets. However, until now, there has been an acute lack of biofuels pricing information, which has hindered the development of the biofuels industry in Southeast Asia.

“I am happy that Singapore will be one of the first locations in Asia where biodiesel price assessment will be launched. Singapore’s well-established, stable, transparent and reputable trading market, coupled with the robust price assessment processes of companies such as Platt’s, would provide investors with a reliable benchmark for the price of biodiesel. This will enable investors to accelerate the development of this new and important industry. Consumers, too, will have a clearer picture of the cost of biodiesel, fostering a more open trading environment. Consequently, the mix, diversity and hedging opportunities for the energy trading community in Singapore will become more vibrant.”

In closing the Minister said; “We are confident that these initiatives – growing refinery capacity, entrenching biofuels and advancing technologies – will position Singapore competitively in the global industry landscape.

“Singapore’s energy landscape is also becoming more diversified and exciting. While we continue to develop our oil industry, we will also pursue new thrusts such as natural gas and alternative energy. With these and other efforts, I am confident that Singapore will continue to play an important and useful role in helping the world overcome the twin challenges of energy security and climate change.”

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