"Bukom will pivot from a crude-oil fuels-based product slate towards new, low-carbon value chains. We will reduce our crude processing capacity by about 50% and aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions."

Shell has been in Singapore for 130 years, and currently employs over 3,100 people. Could you briefly share what is Shell’s impact in Singapore, and, conversely how important is Singapore for the company?

Shell has been in Singapore since 1891 and is one of the country’s largest foreign investors. Our businesses include trading and marketing of liquefied natural gas; manufacturing, trading, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals; and development of renewable energy solutions. Singapore is a key hub for Shell; it is home to Shell's largest petrochemical production and export center in the Asia Pacific region.

This year, as we celebrate our 130th anniversary in Singapore, we are at the same time transforming our business in Singapore to thrive through the Energy Transition in step with society. We have outlined a 10-year plan for Shell in Singapore, to make significant investments in people, assets and capabilities to repurpose our core business and aim to cut our CO2 emissions here by about a third within a decade. This builds on Shell’s overarching ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.

Our Pulau Bukom manufacturing site will be one of Shell’s six Energy and Chemicals Parks globally, and the only one in Asia. Bukom will pivot from a crude-oil fuels-based product slate towards new, low-carbon value chains. We will reduce our crude processing capacity by about 50% and aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Between 2016 – 2020, Shell Jurong Island (SJI) has reduced over 50 kilo-tonnes of CO2 per year, from its operations. For example, we extract hot steam vapours as a heat source for our processing units.

What have been the most recent investments in Singapore?

We have continued to invest heavily in upskilling our workforce with our recent launch of an internal staff development program UpSkill ShellSG. We believe that investing in upskilling and digitalisation will allow us to build an asset that is ready for the energy transition future.

What is the company’s vision regarding digitalization?

Back in August last year, we announced that Pulau Bukom was selected to pioneer the Digital Twin. The power of the Digital Twin lies in its visual, data and analytics capabilities. When fully implemented, the manufacturing site will be safer, more competitive and innovative, delivering new levels of efficiency, safety standards and plant intelligence. Live information of the plant operations can be provided to engineers via augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), reducing the need to step into the plant. When troubleshooting an issue, various options can be tested in real-time on the virtual platform, before deciding on a solution. This improves operational efficiency, preventing downtime, reducing maintenance costs and allows effective real time collaboration between experts and operators.

With the setup of a virtual plant through the Digital Twin, it can help us enable our vision of a “connected worker”. This means our people are equipped with mobile devices such as tablets and artificial intelligence (AR) headsets, which allow them to call up data they need instantly. This creates a new digital culture and enables fast analysis of situations and quick decision making.

At SJI we also invest in analytics and robotic systems to keep. For example, we use robots with mounted gas sensors, microphones and cameras for regular monitoring of our plant. Drones collect images and videos of ongoing activities, apply machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse this data in real-time, resulting in our teams being able to identify and correct risks on site. This reduces our people’s exposure to hazardous conditions, gathers more data about the plant, and eventually increases efficiency by automating repetitive information gathering tasks.

Shell announced in 2020 the objectives for the new decade in Singapore. Would you like to outline the key priorities?

This evolution in our business is to drive decarbonisation and increase partnership with key stakeholders on broader energy transition initiatives. We are looking to expand our solar footprint, including looking into utility-scale solar generation. This builds on the more than 3MWp we have already built at our Pandan distribution terminal, Seletar aviation site and Tuas Lubricants Plant. By 2030, we aim to have an extensive network of electric vehicle charging options for our customers, all within a short drive, from their home, workplace or when they are on the go. In shipping, our LNG bunkering joint venture, FueLNG, will scale up with the arrival of Singapore’s first bunkering vessel, contributing to Singapore’s ambition to decarbonise shipping. We are also working with the National Environment Agency on a joint feasibility study for the set-up of waste segregation facilities and plastic pyrolysis plants to recycle Singapore’s plastic waste.