Singapore is one of the world’s most important oil trading hubs, with much of the Middle East’s crude oil passing through Singapore before being delivered to the huge consumers in China, Japan, and South Korea.
Singapore is also Southeast Asia’s main refinery hub and the world’s biggest marine refueling stop.
Shell is one of the biggest and longest established foreign investors in Singapore. Its oil refinery on Bukom island can process 500,000 barrels per day.
Illicit oil trading
Illicit oil trading is widespread in Southeast Asia. In some cases, oil has been illegally siphoned from storage tanks, but there have also been thefts at sea, including whole ships being seized for the oil cargo.
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) says that siphoning of fuel and oil at sea in Asia, including through armed robbery and piracy, saw sharp increases between 2011 and 2015.
There has been a modest decline since then, although the organization said in a quarterly report that oil theft was still “of concern,” especially in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Malaysia.
The stolen fuel is generally sold across Southeast Asia, offloaded directly into trucks or tanks at small harbors away from oil terminals.
Singapore is one of the world’s top five oil trading and refining hubs. In addition, Singapore is one of the market leaders for floating production, storage and offloading (FPSOs) conversions and offshore jack-up rigs.
Underground caverns for oil storage and a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal are also being expanded in phases to enhance Singapore’s position as the premier regional center for the oil and gas industry.
However, as the regional hub for Southeast Asia and its friendly business environment, there are always opportunities for U.S. exporters in Singapore especially when the oil and gas industry improves globally.