Jurong Island Visit
A week ago, on Wednesday I had an opportunity to visit Jurong Island. This place is off-limits to general audience so to visit the place was an honor in itself. The trip was arranged by Prof. Young of Geography Department here at NUS. I’m in his class titled Economy and Space.
So bus filled with 45 students from our class took us to this island Wednesday morning.
Jurong Island is 3rd largest oil refinery in the world, surpassed only by Netherlands and #1 ranked Houston, USA. Island hosts 95 companies of various types, which collectively employ about 8,000 workers. The island was a result of reclamation project directed to bring 4 or 5 separate island together. Everything is possible in Singapore, or so the saying goes. I mean isn’t it mind-blowing that officials from Singapore took Exxon’s CEO on a helicopter ride and said: “we’ll fill these island to make workable space for you if you agree to come do business here”. Creating this cluster was a major driving force in bringing various companies to the area in order to create synergies and efficiencies by having companies use each other’s output at various stages of production. The huge pipe-line around the island links all the companies, thus decreasing the cost of transporting material that is used by one company on the island but is produced by another company.
The company running the island is called JTC (Jurong Town Corporation). It is a government-owned company, which allows it to cut through a lot of red tape. Jurong is a very successful project, especially taking into account that Singapore has zero drops of crude oil but is ranked as #3 refiner of oil on the world.
These pictures were taken secretly because no recording equipment is allowed. We also were lectured about stories where people tried taking pictures and then were swiftly reported to security and interrogated. Luckily I was able to take a picture without interrogation:)) Professor saw me take a picture and scolded me for doing so but then said, “that’s how I was able to put a picture of Jurong in my textbook”.
The message here is that when the government takes a very proactive role to attract businesses – great things happen, such as country with no oil resources becomes #3 oil refiner producing 1.33million barrels per day.
…Being blessed with S’pore’s strategic location helps too.