(EnergyAsia, April 28, Tuesday) — SPRING Singapore said it would be stepping up efforts to help SMEs access and develop new markets amidst the current challenging economic development.

SPRING said it will work with two other important state agencies, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Economic Development Board (EDB), to organise more overseas mission trips to introduce large established companies to local SMEs.

Speaking to 150 participants at a recent oil and gas seminar organised by the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI), SPRING Singapore deputy chief executive Ted Tan cited the success of local companies at last year’s mission to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, US, They signed $10 million worth of deals ranging from oilfield equipment and components production to turnkey supply chain management services.

“The current economic crisis has intensified competition in the marketplace, especially for SMEs. Recognising this, we are stepping up efforts to help them access and develop new markets that will help them emerge faster and stronger after the crisis,” said Mr Tan.

This year’s mission, which is jointly organised by SPRING and IE Singapore with support from EDB and ASMI, has attracted more than 20 senior company executives from 17 local enterprises.

SPRING said the annual OTC event attracts more than 50,000 industry players each year  and provides a networking platform for participants. The organisers also facilitate private sessions for Singapore delegates to meet with global oil and gas heavyweights.

Among those that clinched contracts at OTC last year is Metal Machines Engineering Services Pte Ltd. The company is looking forward to the mission next month.

Metal Machines Engineering Services director Christopher Chia said: “With the world’s customers and suppliers in the offshore industry gathered for a week, OTC was an invaluable opportunity for us to improve our business connections with existing and potential business partners. The meetings with first and second tier offshore equipment suppliers, research institutes and certification bodies have opened more doors for future business collaboration.”

“The conference also provided us first-hand experience on the latest technology developments that are leading the industry into the future. Bringing this knowledge back has definitely been beneficial to our development plans.”

Singapore’s marine and offshore industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. In 2007, the industry output grew to S$13 billion and its value-added was over S$2.7 billion.

SPRING Singapore also launched a directory for oil and gas supporting industries at the seminar.

The directory which showcases the manufacturing and service capabilities of more than 40 local enterprises, aims to raise the profile of local enterprises supporting the oil and gas sector and create more opportunities for international business collaborations.