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Argus Media: Singapore energy, petchem firms face Malaysia lockdown

18 Mar 2020

Bohan Loh of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Tuesday (17 March) published an update on manpower and logistics concerns faced by petrochemical and energy companies in Singapore as Malaysia goes on COVID-19 lockdown:

Singapore refining and petrochemical companies are scrambling to secure accommodation for their Malaysia-based workers after Malaysia banned its citizens from leaving the country over 18-31 March in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Refining and petrochemical companies are reliant on workers that make daily border crossings between Malaysia and Singapore. Around 300,000 people cross the Singapore-Malaysia border daily but there are no estimates how many of these work in the refining and petrochemical industry.

ExxonMobil has close to 600,000 b/d of refining capacity in Singapore, Shell 500,000 b/d at its Pulau Bukom complex and Singapore Refinery jointly owned by Chevron and Chinese state-controlled oil firm PetroChina’s Singapore Petroleum has 290,000 b/d.

ExxonMobil has asked its affected staff to return home to Malaysia to gather supplies and necessities for two weeks and to return to Singapore before midnight (16:00 GMT) today when the travel restrictions begin. The company will be arranging for accommodation requirements for its affected workers until the end of the month.

Fellow petrochemical producer PCS also has similar arrangements for its affected workers.

Singapore is home to ExxonMobil’s largest integrated manufacturing complex. The Singapore Refinery site on the mainland has more than 1,200 employees, while the Singapore Chemical Plant on Jurong island has a workforce in excess of 1,300.

The impact on Mitsui Chemicals operations in Jurong island are expected to be limited as most of its workers are based in Singapore. Mitsui Chemicals operates a variety of downstream petrochemical plants including polymers, phenol, acetone and elastomers.

Shell Chemicals at Bukom also has Malaysia-based contractors working in the refinery and petrochemical complex but the impact on operations are expected to be limited as there is accommodation on the island.

The Singapore government also said that it would be working with companies with immediate requirements to find accommodation for its workers following the travel restrictions announced by Malaysia.

Photo credit and source: Argus Media

Published: 18 March, 2020

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