Issue 1 | JANUARY 2012
Questions for Mr Choo Chiau Beng, CEO, Keppel Corporation

On Cue

Questions for
Mr Choo Chiau Beng, CEO, Keppel Corporation

Profile of
Choo Chiau Beng

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Keppel Corporation Ltd and is also the Chairman of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd, Keppel Land Limited and Keppel Energy Pte Ltd.

Mr Choo sits on the Board of Directors of k1 Ventures Limited and he is a Board Member of Energy Studies Institute, a Board & Council Member of American Bureau of Shipping and the Chairman of Det Norske Veritas South East Asia Committee.

He is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping's Southeast Asia Regional Committee, Special Committee on Mobile Offshore Drilling Units and Singapore University of Technology and Design's Board of Trustee.

He is Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Brazil.

How do you see the energy landscape evolving in the region, and do you see Singapore becoming an energy trading hub for the region?

Singapore is already an international trading hub for oil and oil products and a swing refining centre. It is supported by energy trading companies, as well as shipping, financial and legal professionals who facilitate trade in an open and transparent business environment.

The upcoming Singapore LNG terminal will provide the physical storage infrastructure that will further strengthen Singapore's role as the region's energy trading hub. The security of our energy supply will be further enhanced if the LNG trading volume is several times the size of our demand, much like our current strategic position as an oil trading hub.

Furthermore, countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are also implementing LNG terminal projects. With the completion of these terminals, we could potentially see LNG being traded within, or even beyond, the region.

With Singapore looking to diversify its energy sources through LNG and possibly electricity imports, how do you see Singapore's energy landscape and fuel mix evolving over the next decade?

Natural gas is likely to continue to be an important component of Singapore's energy strategy, as it provides a good balance between addressing supply security issues and mitigating environmental concerns. However, we should continue to keep pace with renewables and clean coal technology developments, as they might complement natural gas in our energy portfolio in due time. As we have learnt from history, over-reliance on any single source of fuel supply is not good for business.

How will Keppel's role change in this new energy landscape and what key strategies will Keppel employ in the coming years?

While Keppel has always been supporting the energy sector as a solutions provider to the offshore and marine and the supporting shipping industries, we also have experience in investing, owning and operating energy assets. Keppel also imports and ships natural gas into Singapore.

In tandem with EMA's review of Singapore's LNG procurement strategy, Keppel is ready to contribute to this effort by providing Floating Storage and Regas Units, as well as securing additional competitive supplies and exploring fuel alternatives.

There is a need for new plants to meet rising electricity demand in Singapore. Keppel has committed to build two 420MW generation plants by 2013. What are Keppel's plans for further expansions, if any, in this area?

A number of players in Singapore, including Keppel, have committed to expand their generation capacities in the next three to five years. The market would therefore need some time to absorb these capacities. Furthermore, the US and European economies are expected to slow down and this will potentially affect our export-driven economy and consequently, the demand for electricity. Having said that, Keppel will continue to stay competitive and flexible in order to seize opportunities and capture value as they arise.

The energy industry, in particular the power utilities sector, is challenged with an ageing workforce and attracting younger Singaporeans to join the industry. What do you think can be done to attract and retain talent for the industry, and can you share with us the efforts that Keppel has undertaken?

Keppel constantly develops and retains its talent pool. We believe in attracting the right talent and developing their capabilities in a structured manner, through job rotation, as well as through various trainings and programmes. Senior management is also actively involved in mentorships and frequent exchange of views at dialogue sessions. Through these structured programmes, we hope to imbue them with a sense of mission.

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