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Announcement of changes to Process Enhanced R1 criteria

02 Jan 2020
Summary of MOM announced changes to Process Enhanced R1 Criteria: From now to 30 Jun 2020 Today, Process Work Permit Holders (WPHs) can continue to obtain R1 status through 2 pathways: Skills + Salary: WPHs who possess qualifications/ certifications which are recognised under the R1 framework[1] and paid a minimum Fixed Monthly Salary (FMS)[2] of $1,200 OR Experience + Salary: WPHs with a Period of Employment (POE) of at least 2 years in Singapore and paid a minimum FMS of $1,200. From 1 Jul 2020 to 30 Jun 2022 The R1 skills requirement for all pathways will be updated to at least 2 WSQ Statement of Attainment (SOAs) or equivalent. This requirement can be met through the Composite Assessment for Generic Manufacturing (Process), or with any 2 out of the existing 13 WSQ SOAs rolled out by Association of Process Industry (ASPRI). The list of skills tests for R1 recognition will also shift from the current list of qualifications/ certifications to only relevant WSQ programmes. The experience criteria will be raised to 3 years and a third pathway will be made effective. The options for the 3 pathways would be: Skills + Salary: WPHs who completed relevant WSQ programmes for Process sector and are paid a minimum FMS of $1,200; Experience + Salary: WPHs with a POE of at least 3 years in Singapore and paid a minimum FMS of $1,200; [NEW] Skills + Experience: WPHs who completed relevant WSQ programmes for Process sector and have a POE of at least 3 years in Singapore. For finer details, please visit MOM’s website via https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-worker/sector-specific-rules/higher-skilled-workers-for-process-sector ASPRI is committed to helping our members upskill their workforce and defray the training cost. With this new announcement, ASPRI 12th Executive Council has granted extension of the ASPRI Training Subsidy program, offering members 50% off the relevant WSQ programmes course fees, until 30 June 2020. [CLICK HERE] for the brochure with the terms and conditions. For enquiries on training related matters: Please contact: Service Quality Unit, ASPRI-IPI at 6795 5700 or enquiries@ipi.org.sg For other PCM enquiries: Please contact: Ms. Ouvai / Ms. Pei Ni at 6560 5051 [1] The recognised qualifications/ certifications can be found at https://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-worker/sector-specific-rules/process-sector-requirements. The list of skills tests for R1 recognition would shift from the existing list of qualifications/ certifications to only relevant WSQ programmes for the Process sector from 1 Jul 2020. [2] Fixed Monthly Salary (FMS) = Basic Monthly Salary (BMS) + Fixed Monthly Allowances (FMA). For more information, please refer to https://www.mom.gov.sg/faq/employment-pass/what-is-a-fixed-monthly-salary.

Oil prices flat with markets on hold for progress in US-China trade talks

18 Nov 2019
[SINGAPORE] Oil prices were little changed on Monday following steady gains in the previous week with investors awaiting fresh clues over prospects for a trade deal between the United States and China, shrugging off concerns over steadily rising oil supplies. Brent crude futures were down 5 cents, or 0.1 per cent, at US$63.25 by 0119 GMT. The contract rose 1.3 per cent last week. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at US$57.72 a barrel, unchanged from the previous session, having gained 0.8 per cent last week. “Despite the larger-than-expected (U.S.) inventory build … traders stayed primarily focused on US-Sino trade developments where optimism continues to build,” said Stephen Innes, market strategist at AxiTrader. “The market sees a trade deal between the US and China as more feasible, which is bullish for oil.” To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/oil-prices-flat-with-markets-on-hold-for-progress-in-us-china-trade-talks

Singapore Refining Co delivers first low-sulphur bunker fuel cargo

07 Nov 2019
The Singapore Refining Company (SRC) supplied its first cargo of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in October 2019, the company said in a statement on Thursday. “This milestone is in line with the refinery and wider industry’s readiness to supply 0.5 per cent sulphur marine fuels from Singapore, one of the largest international bunkering ports,” the statement said. Refiners around the world have been making adjustments at their plants to adapt to stricter marine fuel standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) coming into force on Jan 1, 2020., The IMO rules ban ships from using fuel oil with a sulphur content above 0.5 per cent next year, compared with 3.5 per cent now, unless they are equipped with exhaust “scrubbers” to clean up sulphur emissions. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/singapore-refining-co-delivers-first-low-sulphur-bunker-fuel-cargo

China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade Protocol

16 Oct 2019
China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade Protocol The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) Upgrade Protocol will take effect from 16 October 2019* onwards. The upgraded CSFTA will provide Singapore businesses with improved market access to the Chinese market, enhanced investment protection, as well as simplified customs procedures. Find out more about the CSFTA from the attached infographic below or contact enquiry@enterprisesg.gov.sg for more information. The Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) has also put up a post about the upgraded CSFTA on their Facebook page for your reference. You may access the Facebook post here. With the newly upgraded protocol, ASPRI believes that it would be a good opportunity for member companies to consider venturing their business further into China. This would also help to deepen Singapore’s trade and investment linkage with China. *except for the articles relating to Rules of Origin, which will take effect on 1 January 2020.

Key Changes to the Work Injury Compensation Act

06 Sep 2019
Ref No.: 060919 (1) UEN: S97SS0046G Dear Valued ASPRI Members, Key Changes to the Work Injury Compensation Act The Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) simplifies the process of employees making claims for work-related injuries or diseases without having to file a civil suit under common law. It is a low-cost and quicker alternative to common law for settling compensation claims. On 3 Sep 19, an announcement was made regarding several changes to WICA. ASPRI believes that it is crucial for member companies to note and understand these changes. For the key amendments, please refer to the images below. Appended herein are the following for your further reading: Annex A: Detailed information on the key amendments Annex B: Implementation Timeline

Linde breaks ground on US$1.4b Jurong plant expansion

28 Aug 2019
PHOTO: LINDE GLOBAL industrial gases and engineering group Linde broke ground on Tuesday for its upcoming US$1.4 billion integrated manufacturing complex in Singapore – the single largest investment in the company’s history. Slated for completion in early 2023, the complex will be located and integrated with Linde’s existing gasification facility on Jurong Island, and will quadruple Linde’s production capacity of hydrogen and synthetic gas in Singapore. The mega ramp-up of industrial gas production is in support of key partner ExxonMobil Asia Pacific’s multibillion-dollar expansion of its integrated manufacturing complex, said Linde chief executive officer Steve Angel at the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday. ExxonMobil has committed to increase production of cleaner fuels with lower sulphur content, including marine fuels, at its Singapore facility from 2023. This move comes on the back of new regulations by the International Maritime Organisation from 2020, which limits sulphur content in marine fuels to 0.5 per cent from the current 3.5 per cent. Linde’s plant will process residual fuel from ExxonMobil to produce hydrogen and other products. The hydrogen will then be returned to ExxonMobil to reduce the sulphur content of fuel produced at its refinery. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/linde-makes-big-bet-on-singapore-with-us14b-jurong-plant

Shell considers solar panels to power Singapore refinery site

07 Aug 2019
ROYAL Dutch Shell is considering to install solar panels to power its Bukom refining site in Singapore, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday. “We are exploring the potential of installing solar panels at our Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site,” she said, without providing further details. The Bukom manufacturing site includes a 500,000 barrels-per-day refinery, which is Shell’s largest wholly owned refinery. The oil and gas company has been exploring solar installations for its other sites in Singapore as part of its plans to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/shell-considers-solar-panels-to-power-spore-refinery-site

Singapore to house Neste’s biggest renewable products plant

01 Aug 2019
FINNISH energy giant Neste will be expanding its existing facility in Tuas, making Singapore the site of the firm’s largest renewable products plant. It will account for about half its global production capacity of 4.5 million tonnes annually by 2022. The company is currently the only one offering renewable diesel on a global basis, according to Neste chief executive officer and president Peter Vanacker. The expansion will increase renewable fuel output from 1 million tonnes per year to 2.3 million, while the plants in the Netherlands and Finland account for the rest of its production capacity. With the new facility, Singapore will also become Neste’s first site to produce renewable jet fuel at a commercial scale as the company expands its product slate beyond renewable diesel. This was announced by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam in his speech at Neste’s foundation stone ceremony on Wednesday to mark the extension of the new production line. In his speech, Mr Tharman said that the upcoming expansion will create over 100 local jobs, and commended the firm for its commitment and emphasis on training. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/singapore-to-house-nestes-biggest-renewable-products-plant

Full roll out of WSQ Process Skill (13 Skill)

02 Jul 2019
Ref No.: 020719 (1) UEN: S97SS0046G   Dear Valued ASPRI Members,   Full roll out of WSQ Process Skill (13 Skill) We are pleased to share with you the full roll out of WSQ Process Skill (13 skill) with effective from 01 Jul 2019.   This marks the full transition of ITE Skills Evaluation Test Certification (SETC) System to WSQ training & assessment certification.   Over a period of 2.5 years, from the development of 10 National Competency Standards, validated by industry stakeholders (i.e., Major Plant Owners, Key Contractors, Subject Matter Expertise and Government agencies) to the setting up of training infrastructure and development of curriculum. All the WSQ Process Skill (13 skill) are now ready for company’s registration, kindly refer to the 3-month schedule attached.   For more clarity, you may click here for the AITC Schedule (Jul to Sep 2019). If you have any enquiries, kindly contact ASPRI-IPI @ 6795 5700.

Linde investing US$1.4b to expand Jurong Island gas complex

26 Jun 2019
GAS and engineering giant Linde has signed a long-term agreement with ExxonMobil Asia Pacific which will see it investing US$1.4 billion to expand its existing gasification complex at Jurong Island and integrating it with ExxonMobil’s project to produce and supply additional hydrogen and synthesis gas. The deal will support ExxonMobil’s multibillion-dollar expansion project of its integrated manufacturing complex. It will also be the single-largest sale of gas contract in the history of the newly merged Linde and of its legacy companies. The agreement will see Linde producing and supplying additional hydrogen and synthesis gas to ExxonMobil by upgrading the heavy residue feedstock from its new facilities, it said in a media release on Tuesday. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/linde-investing-us14b-to-expand-jurong-island-gas-complex

Evonik expands Singapore footprint even as trade war bites into growth

18 Jun 2019
PHOTO: EVONIK INDUSTRIES THE trade conflict between the United States and China has led to slower growth for Germany-based chemicals giant Evonik Industries, a senior executive said. But executive board chairman Christian Kullmann still called business growth levels above economic expansion “a must” at the launch of the company’s new specialty chemicals plant in Singapore on Tuesday morning. Despite cooling in the Chinese market’s automotive and construction industries, business segments such as healthcare still see “good and steady growth”, he noted. “We consider Singapore our gateway to extend and expand our businesses, our growth, in the South Asian region,” Mr Kullmann added, while noting a target of “GDP-plus” business growth. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/evonik-expands-singapore-footprint-even-as-trade-war-bites-into-growth

ExxonMobil expands Singapore refinery to upgrade base-oil production

13 Jun 2019
PHOTO: EXXONMOBIL AMERICAN oil and gas giant ExxonMobil has completed an expansion at its Singapore refinery in Jurong to upgrade the production of its proprietary EHC Group II base stocks, it said in a media statement on Wednesday night. Base stocks or base oils are used commonly for blending finished lubricants used to oil engines in vehicles, ships, planes and industrial plants. They are produced from refining crude oil. The expansion will enable customers to blend lubricants that satisfy more stringent specifications, help lower emissions and improve fuel economy and low-temperature performance, ExxonMobil said. Supply to customers is expected in the third quarter of 2019. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/exxonmobil-expands-singapore-refinery-to-upgrade-base-oil-production

Shell boosts Singapore’s Bukom refinery storage by around 1.3m barrels

07 Jun 2019
PHOTO: SHELL   SHELL said on Thursday night that it has increased the storage capacity at its Singapore Bukom refinery by nearly 1.3 million barrels by building two large crude oil tanks. By increasing storage capacity at Pulau Bukom, Shell will have greater flexibility in optimising its oil trading activities. The move is also to improve competitiveness through storage and logistics investment at its core refineries, due to expected increases in demand for oil products in the region and globally over the next two decades. According to Shell, Singapore is its largest petrochemical production and export centre in the Asia-Pacific region. Similarly, it is also investing in storage and logistics for its other large, complex and integrated sites in Rotterdam and the US Gulf Coast. Robin Mooldijk, executive vice-president for manufacturing at Shell, said the new facilities will allow Shell to buy more oil when market conditions are attractive. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/shell-boosts-singapores-bukom-refinery-storage-by-around-13m-barrels

4 workers taken to hospital with burn injuries after fire at Jurong Island chemical plant

29 May 2019
Screengrab: Google Maps Four workers were taken to hospital with burn injuries after a fire broke out at a chemical plant on Jurong Island in the early hours of Tuesday morning (May 28). The fire occured at one of Mitsui Elastomers Singapore’s plants at around 2am, according to a Mitsui Chemicals spokesperson. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) deployed about 50 firefighters and 15 vehicles to the plant at 701 Ayer Merbau Road, it said, and the blaze was extinguished around 4am by the SCDF and the in-house company response team. According to SCDF, the fire involved a petro-chemical leak from a heat exchanger unit within the plant, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/jurong-island-fire-mitsui-chemical-plant-workers-burn-injuries-11575390

Consortium led by Keppel Infrastructure unit bags S$52.5m Jurong Island pipelines project

16 Apr 2019
JTC Corporation has awarded a S$52.5 million contract to a consortium consisting of Keppel Corp’s unit Keppel Infrastructure Holdings and Asia Projects Engineering for a Jurong Island pipelines project, following an open tender. Led by energy solutions provider Keppel Infrastructure through its subsidiary Pipenet, the consortium is tasked with designing and building two 48 inch crude oil pipelines and ancillary facilities along parts of Banyan Drive, Banyan Avenue and the Jurong Island Highway, Keppel Corp said on Tuesday in a regulatory filing. This will facilitate pipeline connection to the Jurong Rock Caverns on Singapore’s Jurong Island, which will help facilitate the transportation of crude oil between Jurong Rock Caverns and its users. The project is marked for completion by end 2020 and is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings per share and net tangible asset per share of Keppel Corp for fiscal 2019, the group added. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/consortium-led-by-keppel-infrastructure-unit-bags-s525m-jurong-island-pipelines

Energy industry faces climate and job hurdles: Chan Chun Sing

05 Apr 2019
BT PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN SINGAPORE faces the challenge of building a low-carbon world in the coming decades, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said at an energy and chemicals industry event on Friday morning. He said the Republic is committed to working with energy and chemicals industry partners on competitiveness and sustainability, such as by fostering the development of next-generation products. … The minister was at the official opening of global petrochemical giant ExxonMobil’s butyl and resins plants at its integrated refining and petrochemical complex on Jurong Island. The two new facilities, which were completed in 2017, add a resin production capacity of 90,000 tonnes a year and a butyl capacity of 140,000 tonnes a year. The resin plant, which makes glue used in packaging and diapers, was fired up in December 2017, while the butyl plant, which will make halobutyl rubber for tyres, began production in May 2018 and is expected to start commercial operations in the second half of 2019. The two plants together add 140 jobs – including engineers, technicians and other supervisory management roles – to ExxonMobil’s headcount in its Singapore manufacturing complex, which is its biggest production plant worldwide. The expansion brings the company’s workforce to more than 4,000 in the Republic in all, with around 1,300 members of that staff in chemicals manufacturing. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/energy-industry-faces-climate-and-job-hurdles-chan-chun-sing

ExxonMobil expanding Singapore complex to raise cleaner fuel output

03 Apr 2019
PHOTO: AFP EXXONMOBIL on Tuesday committed to a multibillion-dollar expansion of its Jurong Island integrated manufacturing complex. The expanded facilities will enable the oil company to convert fuel oil and other bottom-of-the-barrel crude products into higher-value lube base stocks and distillates. The American oil and gas giant expects the project to significantly increase site downstream and chemical earnings potential. The investment will raise the facility’s capacity to produce an additional 20,000 barrels per day of its Group II base stock oil and 48,000 barrels per day of cleaner fuels with lower-sulphur content. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/exxonmobil-expanding-singapore-complex-to-raise-cleaner-fuel-output

Key Highlights of Singapore Budget 2019 for the Industry & Businesses

20 Feb 2019
Ref No.: 200219 (1) UEN: S97SS0046G Dear Valued ASPRI Members, Key Highlights of Singapore Budget 2019 for the Industry & Businesses With the recent announcement of the Singapore Budget 2019, ASPRI is pleased to inform on the deferment of the earlier announced increase in Foreign Worker levy rates for Process sector and Marine Shipyard for another year and there is no change to the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) and S-Pass sub-DRC for the Process Sector. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has also shared about the three key thrusts to support industry transformation – (i) building deep enterprise capabilities; (ii) building deep worker capabilities; and (iii) encouraging strong partnerships, within Singapore and across the world. To serve our ASPRI members better, we have extracted some key highlights as below that might be relevant to your businesses:   Manpower Career Support Programme (provides wage support for employers to hire eligible Singaporeans who are mature & retrenched, or in long-term unemployment, will be extended for 2 years, until 31 March 2021 (weblink: http://www.wsg.gov.sg/programmes-and-initiatives/wsg-career-support-programme-employers.html) Special Employment Credits (SEC) scheme & Additional SEC will be extended for another year, until 31 December 2020 to support employers hiring older Singaporeans (for workers aged 55 and above) (weblink: https://www.sec.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx)   Tax No change to the Corporate Income Tax rate Written down allowance for acquisition of qualifying IPR will be extended to cover qualifying capital expenditure acquired on or before the last day of the basis period for YA 2025 instead of YA 2020 Automation Support Package that provides 100% Investment Allowance on the approved capital expenditure (net of grants & capped $10 mil per project) on projects approved by Enterprise SG during 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019 will be extended to cover the approved projects from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2021   Support for Businesses Enterprise Development Grant will be extended for 3 more years, up to 31 March 2023 (weblink: https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/financial-assistance/grants/for-local-companies/enterprise-development-grant/overview) SME Working Capital Loan Scheme will be extended for another 2 more years, until March 2021 (weblink: https://spring.enterprisesg.gov.sg/Growing-Business/Loan/Pages/SME-Working-Capital-Loan.aspx) Launch of the $100 mil SME Co-Investment Fund III to continue supporting firms to scale up & internationalise Productivity Solutions Grant will be extended to 31 March 2023.  Eligible enterprises can also receive a subsidy for up to 70% of their out-of-pocket training expenses (net of other government subsidies), capped at $10,000 /enterprise (weblink: https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/financial-assistance/grants/for-local-companies/productivity-solutions-grant)   Innovation SMEs Go Digital Programme will be expanded through developing Industry Digital Plans to more sectors & extending support to a wider range of digital solutions (weblink: https://www.imda.gov.sg/industry-development/programmes-and-grants/small-and-medium-enterprises/smes-go-digital) Companies participating as demand users & technology solutions providers under the Digital Services Lab may apply for funding support of up to 70% of qualifying costs   Environment Raise excise duty for diesel by $0.10/litre to $0.20/litre Permanently reduce the annual special tax on diesel cars & taxis by $100 & $850 respectively Road tax rebates will be provided for commercial diesel vehicles: 1 August 2019 – 31 July 2020: 100% road tax rebate 1 August 2020 – 31 July 2021: 75% road tax rebate 1 August 2021 – 31 July 2022: 50% road tax rebate   For more details, you may refer to the attached documents, and the website links as indicated above.

The world has loads of sustainable palm oil… but no one wants it

14 Jan 2019
PHOTO: REUTERS The world’s biggest growers of palm oil say they’re stepping up efforts to produce the contentious commodity more sustainably, but consumers are unwilling to pay more for environmentally friendly supply. Production of sustainable palm oil has jumped to a record 13.6 million metric tons a year, about 20 per cent of global output, according to the industry body that certifies the commodity. But only half of that is sold as sustainable oil. That’s because it’s more expensive to produce and hardly anyone is willing to pay a premium, says Sime Darby Plantation Bhd., the top planter by acreage. “Buyers don’t want to pay for it,” Simon Lord, chief sustainability officer at Sime Darby, said from Kuala Lumpur. “There is increasing resentment among growers that the other actors in the supply chain are not stepping up.” To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/the-world-has-loads-of-sustainable-palm-oil-but-no-one-wants-it

Singapore must help lead change in oil sector

15 Nov 2018
THE end of the oil and gas industry as we know it has been predicted for many years as the planet turns towards renewables. What is little known, however, is that green energy’s appeal isn’t just environmental: it’s also economic. A recent aggregation of industry research based on data from the UN Environment agency indicates that by 2020, renewables will be cheaper than fossil fuels in many G20 countries. What does this mean for Singapore – one of the world’s leading oil trading and refining hubs and a global leader in offshore and marine engineering, which relies on the oil and gas sector for around 5 per cent of its gross domestic product? After several rough years, the temptation might be to enjoy the recent burgeoning oil prices and rising demand. But these mask serious challenges for the global energy industry. While oil demand is growing for now, new development and production is seriously slowing. Worse still, the low prices of recent years forced companies to heavily reduce spending on technological development and exploration. They now have a reduced capacity to improve production – and the several years it takes to set up a new project means we will be feeling this slump for some time. If oil and gas companies want to survive as a crucial component of the future global energy supply, they must face some inconvenient truths and radically change their approach, both to business structure and to technology. It’s a time that demands leadership and innovation – but that can mean opportunity for companies and countries that rise to the challenge. Finding large deposits is becoming an increasing challenge requiring complex and costly technology. Those technologies and agile structures are already being developed, but need to be more aggressively adopted by international oil companies. Fundamental investments must include making exploration and refining more efficient and cost-effective. For instance, according to a Bain report, one company was recently able to reduce its unit costs by 10 per cent just by digitising a remote offshore operations centre. To read more, please click on the following link(s): https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/singapore-must-help-lead-change-in-oil-sector
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