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Shell Ditches Singapore Gig for ‘Greener’ Pastures—No, Really, They’re Going Green!

Posted John Donovan: 9 May 2024

In a move that screams “We’re not just oil barons, we swear!”, Shell has decided to offload its shiny refinery and petrochemical assets in Singapore. That’s right, folks, the glittering jewel of Asia’s oil crown is getting passed to a duo who probably couldn’t wait to say, “Yes, please!” Enter the scene: Indonesian chemicals giant Chandra Asri and the Swiss master of mines and money, Glencore.

Remember last August when the gossip was hot about Shell whispering to Goldman Sachs to help it dump its Singapore toys? Well, it’s happening. Shell is all set to hand over everything—yes, literally every bolt, barrel, and business deal from its Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore to this thing called CAPGC. That includes a refinery pumping out 237,000 barrels a day and a cracker (no, not the snack) producing 1.1 million metric tons of ethylene yearly.

Why, you ask? Because Shell is on a mission, a “green” mission. They’ve pledged to be a lower-carbon operator. Sounds noble, doesn’t it? The deal’s expected to wrap up by the end of 2024, if the regulators give it a thumbs up.

CAPGC, which sounds like a secret government agency but isn’t, is mostly run by Chandra Asri from Indonesia, with Glencore holding the purse strings on a smaller share. Together, they’re gushing about how this deal is a game-changer for Asia’s energy needs. Quek Chin Thean from Glencore even called the Singapore setup a “prime asset”—code for “We hit the jackpot, boys!”

Erwin Ciputra, the big boss at Chandra Asri, is already dreaming big about expansion and “service enhancements”. Because, of course, the region is just hungry for more chemicals, right?

On the flip side, Shell’s trying to convince us that they’re tidying up their act with fewer emissions and more value. Huibert Vigeveno from Shell threw around words like “high-grade” and “commitment”, which are corporate sweet nothings for “We’re trying to look good while making bank.”

And here’s a juicy tidbit: Last year, Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan hinted that Singapore wasn’t all that great for cheap feedstock or energy costs. Talk about a break-up burn!

But don’t worry about the local Shell crew; they get to keep their jobs under the new overlords, ensuring that everything keeps running smoothly—because nothing says “smooth operation” like keeping the staff that knows how to handle the machinery.

In short, Shell is playing the green card while cashing out of the chemical game in Singapore, but insists on staying buddies for the sake of trading and marketing. How very environmentally friendly of them.

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