Minister: Singapore's Offshore and Marine Sector to Remain Resilient

The outlook for Singapore's offshore and marine sector will remain resilient amid the global economic downturn, buoyed by continued growth in Asia, the country's Second Minister for Trade & Industry, S. Iswaran, said Tuesday in a published address.

Turnover for the sector was at $13.3 billion in 2011, as compared to $13.5 billion one year ago.

"Order books continue to be strong with current net orders at a new high of more than $16 billion, with deliveries extending into 2015," Iswaran said.

Iswaran pointed to projections which indicate that from 2011 to 2016, Asia's energy demand will drive Asian companies to invest approximately $29 billion in deep-sea exploration, drilling and production. This is more than double the $12 billion spent from 2007 to 2011.

"Singapore is well-placed to ride this offshore wave as our shipyards have built up a sound track record in providing cost-effective, safe and timely deliveries," Iswaran noted.

Iswaran also touched on the marine oil and gas sector, which he described as "experiencing strong growth." He pointed to a number of international players, such as FMC Technologies and Weatherford International, which have made investments in Singapore recently. FMC Technologies opened a new plant in the country to meet growing demand for subsea and subsurface wellhead equipment in the Asia Pacific region, while Weatherford launched a new facility in Singapore as a strategic base for the company's Asian operations.

Iswaran acknowledged that given Singapore's resource constraints and intensifying competition globally, industry players will have to find new ways to increase productivity.

In the floating, production storage and offloading (FPSO) conversion industry, Chinese shipyards have started emerging as a strong competitor to traditional powerhouses Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.

Singapore is however responding well to rising competition, Iswaran said.

"For example, Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) Technology Center has started work on process technology measures aimed at improving productivity through process improvements and the optimization of labor. Another example is Weatherford's new facility in Loyang, which optimizes land use by situating part of its open yard and warehouse on the rooftop," Iswaran mentioned.

Keppel O&M, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Corp, said Monday in a statement that it expects to deliver a new record of 20 rigs next year, exceeding its previous records of 13 rigs in 2009.


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