ExxonMobil's history in Singapore began in 1893 with the set-up of the Vacuum Oil Company (of which Standard Oil had majority stake) at Robinson Quay, which sold mainly kerosene and lubricants under the Mobil Oil brand name.
Vacuum Oil later became a subsidiary of Standard Oil, which set up office at Union Building in Collyer Quay in 1916. Soon after, the Flying Red Horse or Pegasus logo made its first appearances in Singapore, notably on signboards of shops selling lubricants.
Vacuum Oil merged with the Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony) in 1931 and became the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, or Stanvac for short.
Stanvac's operations ceased after the Japanese invasion in 1942 but resumed in 1945 after World War II. It started the aviation supply business in 1948, and opened its first service station in 1949.
By 1958, it had more than 200 employees working in Shaw House at Orchard Road. In 1961, it introduced bottled cooking gas under Stangas and sold 2,000 cylinders that year.
But by 1962, Stanvac was split up - all assets in Singapore and Malaysia were transferred to Standard Oil of New Jersey, better known as Esso. The Pegasus logo was replaced by the Esso oval, and Stangas became Essogas.
Meanwhile, Stanvac's other former partners formed Mobil Oil Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. By 1964, it set up the first Mobil service station at Pasir Panjang, expanding to 14 stations a year later.
In 1963, Mobil went into refining, realizing its first refinery with a 18,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) capacity in 1966 at Pioneer Road in Jurong. Its refining capacity stepped up 10-fold to 180,000 bpd by the late 1970s, today the nameplate capacity of this modern facility stands at more than 300,000 bpd.
By the late sixties, Esso also entered the refining business, resulting in a 90,000 bpd refinery built on Pulau Ayer Chawan (now called Jurong Island), in 1970. The facility has a current nameplate capacity of over 290,000 bpd.
From 1980s to today
Mobil and Esso continued to upgrade their refining capacities as well as add more downstream petrochemicals and lubricant facilities during the 1980s and 1990s.
By 1993, Mobil had built a hydrocracker as well as a catalytic reformer and aromatics unit. That same year, Exxon Chemical also announced plans for an aromatics complex and a hydro-processing plant at Pulau Ayer Chawan (now Jurong Island).
In 1997, both Esso and Mobil announced plans for new crackers on their respective sites, and in 1999, the merger of Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation came about. Thereafter, all of their facilities here came together, under the ownership of ExxonMobil.
With both companies owning complementary global assets and technology, ExxonMobil decided to build a single new state-of-the-art petrochemical plant on Jurong Island, which would be fully integrated with existing refining and chemical operations on Jurong Island and Pioneer Road. The new facility, which was started up in 2001 and commissioned as the Singapore Chemical Plant in 2002, comprised ExxonMobil’s first steam cracker in Singapore.
In 2007, ExxonMobil broke ground to expand the existing plant with a second world-scale steam cracker and associated derivative units to be fully integrated with the refinery and petrochemical plant. The expanded multi-billion-dollar Singapore Chemical Plant was started up in 2013. As a result of the expansion, the integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Singapore is currently ExxonMobil’s largest manufacturing site in the world.
In Singapore, we also own an extensive network of service stations under the Esso brand and supply cylinder cooking gas (LPG) to many households. We also supply the commercial market in Singapore and those around the region with industrial, aviation and marine fuels and lubricants, and market liquefied natural gas.
Today, we are one of the largest foreign investors in Singapore with assets of more than S$20billion here.