Digging Deeper: Case Studies
Jurong Island: The Chemical Island
2 minute read
(Images: JTC Corporation)
Formed from seven smaller islands, Jurong Island came from the idea that Singapore could be a leading global petrochemicals player despite its size. The idea to develop the southern islands came as early as the 1980s. But it was only in the 1990s that we moved to realise this dream of creating an island dedicated to the production of specialty chemicals.
At the time, pressing need to diversify away from electronics manufacturing, one of Singapore’s key exports. Petrochemicals was a good fit for Singapore as Singapore had already established itself as a major oil refining hub in the region.
Then-EDB chairman Philip Yeo’s plan was to build an integrated facility that would anchor the various types of petrochemical companies in Singapore.
JTC and EDB worked together with other government agencies to develop the island. In 1991, JTC was appointed the agent of the Jurong Island project, and it worked with other agencies to plan and provide infrastructure and services to the island. Meanwhile, EDB officers went on an aggressive investment promotion drive to sell the idea to foreign petrochemical companies.
Jurong Island cost the government an estimated S$7 billion, but it has more than paid back its investment. Since it opened, it has attracted over S$50 billion worth of investments, with more than 100 companies employing some 26,000 people. It is a symbol of Singapore’s efficiency, boldness and innovation – traits that will keep Singapore and our economy going.