Aerial photo of the Pulau Bukom refinery from the Shell website.
I wondered about some issues after reading today's Reuters article carried in the Straits Times. (There was no coverage of this issue in any of our other local papers, not even the Business Times).
From the report, Shell's two other Bukom units are running at about 90%. The unit that was shut down was earlier already "running at 70-80% since its restart from maintenance last month, in part due to weak margins".
The report also noted that "Last month, some oil refiners in Asia cut or were planning to cut crude processing rates, following similar moves by Western peers, as high fuel prices hit demand and pressured margins."
No further details as "a Shell spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment".
Are there living reefs near Pulau Bukom?
Yes, in fact, Pulau Bukom is flanked by two of our favourite shores.
Fringed with living corals and swaying palms, Pulau Hantu lies just a few hundred metres opposite Pulau Bukom.Pulau Hantu is a favourite dive spot for locals and a group of dedicated volunteers called the Hantu Bloggers conduct guided dives there regularly.
The magnificent seagrass meadows, reefs and marine habitats of Cyrene Reefs lie on the other side of Pulau Bukom.
In 2005, a submerged reef near Pulau Bukom called Terumbu Bayan was reclaimed for expansion of the Shell Bukom refinery. Here's more about the reclamation.
What goes on at Pulau Bukom?
from the Shell website:
"Shell's Bukom refinery is today the largest Shell refinery in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity, making Singapore a key regional supply and trading centre for the Shell Group in the East. Some 90 percent of Bukom's products are exported to countries in the region and beyond."Shell provides a tour of the Bukom refinery
"Shell’s largest petrochemical production and export centre in the Asia Pacific region. Shell’s investments in the Singapore petrochemicals industry include a polyols plant, a joint-venture styrene monomer and propylene oxide plant, and other joint ventures."
"Singapore is the fuel hub for the Marine business in the East, supplying bunker and lubricants in the Asia Pacific region. It is the 2nd largest delivery centre in the Shell world for marine fuels, and the largest for marine lubricants."
"In July 2006, Shell announced its plans to proceed with the construction of a new world-scale ethylene cracker on Bukom Island and a new world-scale Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) plant on Jurong Island."
From the website, the objectives of the tour are:
1. Provides students and teachers information on (a) Pulau Bukom refinery complex (b) the refining processes and (c) a general overview of the Shell Group.What goes on in a refinery?
2. Offers students and teachers a first hand view of what an Oil Refinery looks like.
3. Shows the students and teachers environmentally friendly processes and equipment not usually seen by the public.
4. This tour is aimed primarily at students from Secondary 3 on and from Junior Colleges who are science students and those who have learned about fractional distillation.
1. Introductory briefing: This presentation highlights the significance of Pulau Bukom and its brief history of Bukom. It then provides a general overview of the Shell Group and its activities globally.
2. The Bukom Video - The video gives audiences a quick peep into Shell activities in oil and chemicals in Singapore. The rest of the video provides some historical highlights of Bukom's history and descriptions of its facilities, operations, processes and environmental management.
3. The Oil Video - This video gives useful information on the oil industry: from the formation of oil, E&P and manufacturing (processes including distillation and conversion).
4. Explanation on products - With the aid of the product sample display board, students are taken through all the various fractions from bitumen to LPG with elaboration on processes and rationale for conversion processes.
5. Q&A Session - students are encouraged to raise questions pertaining to the industry and energy.
6. Bus Tour of the Refinery - The entire tour is by bus with no stops and taking about 25 minutes. The tour starts from Timor along the sourthern coastline past CD3, Kecil, Ular, to Barat to see the LPG spheres, sulphur storage, wharves, bitumen storage and back to the Bukom Club, passing the Fire Dept, Medical Dept, Marine Dept and the Learning Centre.
The Shell website also has an animation of oil and gas: from exploration to refiningRefineries produce stuff we use every day...
As well as other stuff we don't really want...
This was the Bukom refinery on a nice sunny day.
What about sustainability?
"Shell is committed to a business strategy that generates profits while contributing to the well-being of the planet and its people. As a major investor in Singapore, it is fully committed to Sustainable Development, integrating the three essential elements of sustainability – economic, social and environmental and balancing long and short-term priorities. In the process, the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."Activities listed in support of this argument include ...
- "road safety among children, the teaching of entrepreneurial skills among Singapore’s youth"
- "support of the arts"
- Shell companies in Singapore on the Shell website
- The Pulau Hantu Blog by volunteers who conduct monthly guided dives at Pulau Hantu.
- Pulau Hantu information for visitors on wildsingapore
- Cyrene Reefs information about this reef and how you can join a special effort to protect it on wildsingapore
- Petrochemicals and our southern islands on the wildfilms blog