SINGAPORE: US oil giant ExxonMobil officially opened its third cogeneration plant in Singapore on Thursday (Oct 12), to help increase energy efficiency at its Jurong refinery.
The 84-megawatt plant uses natural gas and waste heat from the refinery to generate both electricity and steam in order to power plant operations, replacing two older and less efficient boilers.
It will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 150,000 four-room Housing and Development Board flats, said ExxonMobil, and will improve energy efficiency by up to 5 per cent.
This will result in a cut in carbon dioxide emissions by more than 265 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide - equivalent to removing more than 90,000 cars from Singapore's roads, according to ExxonMobil.
"Cogeneration technology is an energy-efficient solution for facilities that require both thermal energy and electricity," said the National Environment Agency's CEO Ronnie Tay. "ExxonMobil's investment in such technology will bring about both cost savings and carbon emissions reduction."
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said the facility contributes towards Singapore’s pledge under the Paris climate change agreement to significantly reduce its emissions intensity by 2030.
To this end, Singapore must keep pace with the transforming global economy which emphasises sustainable development, said Mr Masagos.
He also cited China as a country that is paving the way in this area.
Touching on the fact that the world has reaped an "energy productivity bonus" of US$2.2 trillion due to improved energy efficiency in 2016, Mr Masagos pointed out that China had accounted for half of this sum.
China also invested more than US$100 billion in renewables in 2015, compared to just US$3 billion 10 years ago, Mr Masagos said, adding that it is also set to implement a national greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme later this year.
Mr Masagos' speech comes ahead of a carbon tax which will kick in in 2019. Revenue from the carbon tax will go towards helping industries implement emissions-cutting initiatives.
“We are aware of industry concerns over the impact of the carbon tax on competitiveness, given that Singapore is an export-oriented economy,” said Mr Masagos, noting that it is because of this that companies must stay ahead to be competitive.
“The measures we are putting in place will facilitate Singapore’s transition to energy-efficient and low-carbon growth," he added.
ExxonMobil is one of Singapore's largest foreign manufacturing investors with more than S$20 billion in fixed asset investments. Its Singapore affiliate ExxonMobil Asia Pacific has manufacturing facilities including refinery operations and a petrochemical plant on Jurong Island.