By Vicky Villena-Denton
Two striking statistics were shared with the press during the official launch of Shell’s Tuas lubricants and grease plant in Singapore last November.
Firstly, the Singapore lube blending plant is the company’s third-largest plant in the world, occupying approximately 100,000 square meters. Yet, Singapore, with a total land area of only 719. 7 square kilometers, is ranked 177th in the world out of 196 countries in terms of land area! It is also Shell’s second largest lube blending plant in the Asia-Pacific region, even though Singapore is the smallest country in Southeast Asia.
Asia represents more than 40% of the world’s lubricants demand and is home to half of the world’s largest lubricants markets, according to Shell Global Commercial Executive Vice President Huibert Vigeveno.
“This state-of-the-art, highly automated facility in Singapore was built to support our business ambitions here in the APAC region. It serves as a strategic production hub, and will be the centrepiece of our lubricants supply chain network to reliably supply our world-class lubricants to millions of customers in the region,” said Vigeveno. The new plant will manufacture products that will be shipped in bulk to more than 40 countries, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.
Second, more than half of the plant’s total lube production is for the marine sector. This makes sense because Singapore is the world’s busiest transshipment port and the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total shipping tonnage after Shanghai.
“This facility will also further strengthen our marine lubricant business’s presence here in Singapore,” confirms Vigeveno.
Shell is one of three oil companies sharing the facilities of a 10-hectare site in the world’s first Lube Park in Tuas and is an integrated lubricants and grease production facility. It is also the largest of the three, the others being China’s Sinopec with 100,000 metric tonnes and France’s Total with 310,000 metric tonnes.
The Tuas plant can produce up to 430 million liters or 390 kilotonnes of lubricants and greases annually with further room for expansion. The new plant is double the size of Shell’s Woodlands North facility, which was built in 1963 and mothballed in May 2017. Because of automation equipment and processes installed in the new plant, plant productivity has improved six-fold.
The new Asia-Pacific lubricants and grease production hub complements Shell’s other lubricant plants in the region which are located in Tianjin, Zhapu and Zhuhai, China; Tsing Yi, Hong Kong; Keamari, Pakistan; Mumbai, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Port Dickson, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia. The company also has grease manufacturing plants in Zhuhai, China, and Bangkok, Thailand, in addition to Singapore.