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Geraldine Chin
Chairman and Managing Director
ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

11 November 2022

ExxonMobil has operated in Singapore for over a century. Can you tell us about the decarbonization plans you have for your operations?

ExxonMobil started in Singapore in 1893, almost 130 years ago. We have since been providing safe and reliable energy to the country and the region. In Singapore, ExxonMobil owns and operates a world-scale integrated refining and petrochemical complex, as well as a lubricant plant. 

Improving energy efficiency in our operations is what we have been doing for a long time, which also helps to reduce carbon emissions. Some of our energy efficiency initiatives in Singapore have earned national accolades, such as the Energy Efficiency National Partnership awards. 

 

In the near to the mid-term, we are looking at providing lower emission fuels, such as biofuels, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuels.

 

These ‘drop-in fuels’ have a high energy density that can meet the needs of commercial transportation, which is a sector that is hard to decarbonize.

In other words, these lower-emissions fuels can substitute traditional fuels, without additional infrastructure.

Globally, ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Solutions business is focused on three areas: carbon capture and storage (CCS), hydrogen, and lower emission fuels, which include biofuels, ammonia, methanol and e-fuels. Earlier this year, ExxonMobil announced its ambition to achieve net zero GHG emissions for its operated assets by 2050. In Singapore, we are working on emission reduction roadmaps to be able to achieve that for our facilities here.

Singapore is likely to be a hub for CCS. Could you dive into the opportunities for carbon capture in the APAC region?

In Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region, we are evaluating opportunities for carbon capture and storage (CCS). ExxonMobil is assessing the potential for a CCS hub that can capture, transport and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from our manufacturing facilities and heavy industrial activity across the APAC region, including Singapore. ExxonMobil and PETRONAS have signed an MOU to collaborate and jointly explore potential projects in Malaysia. We have also signed an MOU with Pertamina to explore potential large-scale deployments of low carbon technologies in Indonesia. Our experience in the Upstream adds to our competitive advantage, because we have expertise in subsurface, geology, and a deep understanding in identifying geological formations deep underground that can be suitable to safely store CO2.

Do you have the right policy guidance at the moment from the government when it comes to carbon tax?

Earlier this year, the Singapore government announced the revised carbon tax trajectory for the country. It is currently at SGD $5 per ton of GHG emissions (tCO2e). In 2024 and 2025, this will rise to SGD $25/tCO2e, and SGD $45/tCO2e in 2026 and 2027. This provides further clarity for industry to work out investments under the carbon tax regime. Understandably, policymakers are also keeping track of international developments, as it is also important to ensure that the Singapore’s open economy remains internationally competitive.

What role do you believe oil and gas will play in this evolving landscape, and do you think your production will ever be replaced by lower carbon technologies?

It depends on how far out you look at the forecast. Data by the International Energy Agency shows that even in 2050, there will be a role for oil and gas energy sources, especially in the hard-to-decarbonize sectors. Asia Pacific is a dynamic and growth region. Countries in the region are at different levels of economic development, and they will need to figure out how they are going to provide the energy that drives economic growth, reduces poverty, and uplifts living standards across the population, while minimizing the impact on the environment.

ExxonMobil has long supported an explicit price on carbon to establish market incentives and evaluate which technologies are economic for that carbon price. Supportive government policies can help to incentivize more industries and sectors to invest in research and innovation to reduce emissions.

Do you want to highlight some of the technologies that you have been involved with, which will play a greater role in future?

We are pleased to be part of a pilot in which we successfully delivered certified sustainable aviation fuel to Changi Airport for Singapore Airlines in July 2022. The sustainable aviation fuel was blended at our integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Singapore. 

When it comes to R&D, we have investments all over the world, carrying out research into lower carbon energy pathways. In Singapore, we have invested US$10 million as a founding industry partner in the Singapore Energy Centre. Our researchers work with professors from two tertiary institutions, the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, to conduct research into energy innovation and lower-emissions technologies. One of the research projects took a closer look at the geology in the Southeast Asia region, to identify the possible storage locations for CO2. We also have research projects that are looking into new materials and process technologies to more efficiently make products that society needs.

What are the main objectives that you have for ExxonMobil in the coming few years?

ExxonMobil plans to play a leading role in the energy transition, by advancing climate solutions and meeting society's needs for products that are essential for modern life. I see our Singapore manufacturing site being part of that effort, and leading the industry to a lower emission future, especially in the areas of: CCS, hydrogen and lower emission fuels. We want to do this to support our customers and society, while keeping a close eye on our daily operations to provide safe and reliable energy, and products needed today.

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