Who is minding them?
Six months ago, Shell began building a new chemical cracker in Sinapore. This month ExxonMobil announced that it's significantly ramping up it's investment -- it will build a second major Petrochemical complex at Jurong Island (Business Times/Singapore). These investments total $10 billion, and by 2009/10 will have brought Singapore's ethylene capacity up to four million tonnes (tpa) per annum. By this time, the petrochemical industry in Singapore will have reached critical mass; Singapore will have joined Japan as Asia's second petrochemical hub.
There may be plans in the works for more oil refineries. "One of Singapore's pluses has also been the petrochemical industry's close integration with the refineries. This suggests that there may be a need for another refinery down the road to help fuel the crackers" write the editors of The Business Times.
Earlier in the summer, a fatal accident shut down one of Exxon's present refineries on Jurong Island. At the time, there was speculation that world oil market could be effected, were this shutdown a long one (here). Given the worldwide shortage of refining capacity, any decision to build more oil refineries would further enhance the economic and strategic importance of the city-state.
It's no secret that ExxonMobil does not have an exemplary environmental track record. Jotman remains concerned that the Singapore government still does not permit environmental organizations to operate in the city-state. Singapore's citizens would be well served if the government welcomed not only new industrial plants, but independent environmental groups.