Two years after it began construction, Sinopec, Chinas largest integrated energy and chemical group, last Thursday opened its new S$134 (US$106) million lubricant plant at Tuas in the south western tip of Singapore, its first outside China.
Sinopec said its Singapore plant, which has an initial production capacity of 100,000 tonnes of lubricants (80,000 tonnes of lubricating oils and 20,000 tonnes of grease) per year, will serve customers in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The new facility covers an area of 242,811 square meters and will employ about 150 workers when it is operating at full capacity.
The plant was opened on Thursday July 11 by Pei Wenjun, general manager Sinopec Lubricant (Singapore) Pte Ltd, at a ceremony attended by customers, employees and officials representing the Singapore government and the Chinese embassy in Singapore.
Pei Wenjun said: "In recent years, the demand for our products has been growing at above 50 per cent a year globally, although it is from a low base. But with the opening of the plant, an efficient distribution system and speedy product delivery, we will enjoy faster growth."
Sinopec said the plant will function as its Asia-Pacific service and logistics hub and was set up as part of its globalization plan, which could see the company setting up of more lubricant plants overseas.
Sinopec said the Singapore plant is key to its global expansion strategy, and it picked Singapore because of the city-state's status as the third largest petroleum industry hub in the world, its pro-business environment, as well as its rich resources in lubricant base oils and additives.
The strategy calls for the company to focus on first developing markets in the Asia Pacific region, to be followed by building a chain of lubricant plants around the world and establishing a strong international sales network.
Industry estimates show that the Asia-Pacific region is the largest and fastest growing lubricants market, accounting for almost 42 per cent of the global demand last year. The region is expected to see the highest growth in demand worldwide, consuming 17 million tonnes of lubricants by 2017.
Sinopec is a major Asian producer of lube base oils, with plants in Yanshan, Maoming, Jinan, Gaoqiao Jingmen, Nanyang and Hangzhou, all in China, collectively producing approximately 18,500 bpd of API Group I and 15,850 bpd II base oils and is building a 250,000 t/y (approximately 5,000 bpd) Group III plant in Maoming and a 240,000 t/y Group III plant in Yanshan.
Last year, Sinopec was ranked number five on Fortune Magazine's global top 500 companies.