Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how many workers are employed in Singapore's petrochemical industries; (b) how many of these workers are work permit holders; and (c) whether the Government will conduct a study on the impact of a low-carbon transition in Singapore affecting our petrochemical industries and its workers, including any cascading effects on related sectors and workers.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing
1. Singapore’s Energy and Chemicals (E&C) sector employed 27,000 workers in 2020, with 4,600 of them being work permit holders.
2. The Government has been studying the implications of a low-carbon transition on our economy for some time. The E&C sector will be at risk of being downsized or even displaced from Singapore, with its resultant impact on jobs, if we transit too hastily and the E&C companies could not transform and decarbonise their operations sufficiently.
3. But the E&C sector can also be a beneficiary of the low-carbon transition. For example, the chemicals industry provides silver paste, high performance plastic films and membranes that go into photovoltaic cells and batteries for electric vehicles. The E&C sector is also a key partner in the development of emerging low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage. These technologies can be pivotal in enabling decarbonisation at scale.
4. The Government is committed to supporting our E&C companies as they adapt to a low-carbon future. We aim for our E&C sector to be amongst the best-in-class in energy and carbon efficiency globally. If we manage this transition well, the E&C sector can emerge more competitive and vibrant, and continue to create good employment opportunities for Singaporeans.