INDUSTRY INSIGHTThought Leadership

Learning Lessons from Singapore

Er. Lucas Ng, General Manager, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS), and a speaker at the 3rd GPCA Responsible Care Conference, shares best practices and lessons learnt at PCS, and the positive impact that Responsible Care has had on the company and its employees.

Jurong Island is considered as one of the country’s many impressive engineering feats – why was the island built and how does it contribute to advancing Singapore’s petrochemical industry?

Jurong Island is the cornerstone of Singapore’s energy and chemicals industry and home to a vibrant portfolio of more than 100 leading global petroleum, petrochemical and specialty chemical companies. Jurong Island boasts a set of seamlessly integrated infrastructure solutions which includes service corridors, logistics and warehousing, as well as a comprehensive host of shared third-party utilities and services. These catalyzed an integrated ecosystem where one’s product becomes the feedstock of others by supplying “over the fence”. With its dedicated “plug and play” infrastructure, companies are able to enjoy cost savings and at the same time build synergy through product integration.

Your presentation at the 3rd GPCA Responsible Care Conference in October will showcase EHS&S innovations at Jurong Island. What best practices and initiatives can be extracted for the benefit and learning of the chemical industry not just in our region, the Arabian Gulf, but globally?

The main theme of my presentation will be on the Responsible Care journey with Singapore Chemical Industry Council (SCIC) through innovations of HSE&S on Jurong Island using PCS as an example. In my discussion I will further showcase PCS’ HSE transformation towards total workplace health and safety, encompassing environment and security through Singapore Standard SS 506 Part 3 and Safety & Security Watch Group.

The Responsible Care journey of PCS includes best practices and initiatives which regard the Responsible Care Policy as HSE&S policy, beyond regulatory compliance. They also include great emphasis on senior management ownership and responsibility combining a top-down and bottom-up approach. PCS partners with contractors’ management in promoting both occupational safety and process safety as well as close communication with contractors’ workers. We have also adopted the Responsible Care seven Codes of Management Practices, including the Security code and have consistently managed to tap into the process safety expertise of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) in competency development. Finally, as part of my presentation I will discuss Jurong Island’s Vision Zero.

How have you have benefited from Responsible Care? How important is the role of programs such as Responsible Care to ensure EHS&S excellence and compliance in the chemical industries?

The Responsible Care Codes of Management Practices cover not only employees and contractors, but also suppliers and customers. PCS conducts Responsible Care outreach programs to materials and chemical suppliers as well as its products customers via Distribution and Product Stewardship codes regularly. This is to ensure that suppliers meet certain HSE requirement in handling their materials and chemicals delivered to owner workplaces. We also aim to ensure our products are properly handled in terms of transportation and storage and used in compliance with HSE requirement as part of Responsible Care.

We won the Responsible Care Leadership Award 2018 on 28 March 2019, an honour we have had for five years in a row. We were awarded the Excellence Award for all six codes of Management Practices as well.  SCIC introduced this award to recognise companies who have demonstrated their continued outstanding performances in the Responsible Care program.

The construction and vision of Jurong Island is an awe-inspiring engineering feat. How important is maintaining sustainability on the island, and what is your contribution to PCS in ensuring that the highest level of sustainable chemical production is maintained?

In order to ensure the long-term competitiveness and sustainable growth of Jurong Island, Singapore government agencies have embarked on the Jurong Island Version 2.0 (JIv2.0) initiative. The initiative aims to strengthen the robustness of the current system and further optimise Singapore’s scarce resources by exploring integrated innovative solutions.

PCS is the upstream company of the Singapore Petrochemical Complex. The Complex is located on Ayer Merbau, which is part of Jurong Island, formed by amalgamation of a group of small islands situated about 3.5 km off the southern shore of Singapore. PCS plays its role as the centre company in Ayer Merbau with the supply of ethylene, propylene, acetylene and benzene, as well as utilities and common services through its two ethylene cracker plants and infrastructures.

Tell us more about your “Vision Zero” initiative. What does it aim to achieve and how successful has it been so far?

We envision that every company and every worker in Jurong Island embrace the mind-set that all work-related injuries and ill-health are preventable. To achieve this culture of prevention, it is important for companies to demonstrate care for their workers’ health, safety, and wellbeing. Similarly, every employee would trust their employers to have their best interests and to look out for them. Having these cultures permeate every company and individual is key to fostering a zero-harm work environment. In this cluster, companies will be exchanging WSH best practices, and collectively raise WSH standards on Jurong Island. We believe that our efforts to build a robust culture will reinforce employee confidence.

The Vision has been very successful since its formation in January 2018. The launch of the Cluster on 23 November 2018 signifies the collective commitment stakeholders have towards a Vision Zero mindset. Following its launch last November, PCS took the opportunity to encourage contractor companies to come on board and pledge their commitment to the Vision Zero movement. In keeping with the momentum, we held an event on contractor management and behaviour-based safety, for Jurong Island companies that have pledged to this cluster.

You’ve recently had the official opening of PCS naphtha import facilities – how important is this for the company’s growth plans moving forward?

PCS’ naphtha import facilities give it more opportunities for feedstock optimisation and further strengthens its competitiveness. It also helps PCS continue to be a reliable and competitive supplier to all its customers. From national point of view, it enhances the resilience of Singapore’s energy and chemicals industry and improves the sector’s overall competitiveness.