A major global producer of oil additives broke ground on a new plant, which is expected to cost up to $150 million, on Jurong Island yesterday.
The company, Infineum - a joint venture between energy giants ExxonMobil and Shell - will make calcium salicylate at the plant.
The salicylate plant is expected to be fully operational in the fourth quarter of next year and will create about 50 jobs.
This is the British-based company's first salicylate plant in Asia, and its largest single investment.
Calcium salicylate is a critical component in Infineum's passenger car and heavy-duty oil formulations, as well as its marine oil additive products.
Infineum's only other manufacturing plant for salicylate is in Berre, France.
The new plant will be Infineum's second in Singapore. The first, also on Jurong Island, makes lubricants and fuel additives that are used in applications such as heavy duty diesel engine oil and automatic transmission fluids.
Infineum Singapore managing director Teo Lek Hong said yesterday that the new facility will be an integrated part of the Infineum global supply network, delivering salicylate detergent to customers in Asia Pacific as well as globally.
Infineum venture director Xavier Leleux said: 'It's not a surprise to anyone that demand in the Asia Pacific region is growing faster than any other region now.
'We constantly review our supply capability and concluded in 2008 that investment in the salicylate manufacturing footprint was required to meet future requirements.'
Its vice-president of supply, Ms Sara Lefcourt, added: 'Singapore was selected for its strategic location in the Asia Pacific, its robust infrastructure, the availability of a skilled workforce and the outstanding safety performance of the existing operations.
'The excellent collaboration with the Singapore authorities will be instrumental in the success of this project.'
Also speaking at the event, Economic Development Board acting managing director Tan Choon Shian said: 'Specialities companies are seeking a base in Asia from which to capitalise on the growth opportunities presented by rapidly emerging markets.
'With the salicylates additives as one of Infineum's premium products, and the significant technical know-how involved in its manufacturing process, Singapore provides a safe and trusted location for Infineum to supply its customers in the region,' he said.
(Originally published April 24, 2012, in The Straits Times.)
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