(EnergyAsia, August 29 2011, Monday) — The following is an edited version of the speech by Jurong Aromatics Corp’s CEO Mehdi Adib at the plant’s groundbreaking ceremony on Jurong Island last Friday.

The event was attended by Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Oh Joon, the South Korean Ambassador to Singapore, and more than 200 government and business officials, and members of the media.

“Jurong Aromatics is truly an international company, which is unique in its structure. Despite being one of the largest aromatics projects in the world, there are no oil majors among our shareholders.

Instead, our shareholders include international feedstock suppliers and petrochemical products offtakers. This gives our business a coat of insurance even before it’s up and running.

“It has also made it easy for JAC to secure debt financing, the bulk of which has been guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Korea Trade Insurance Corp.

“This project was the vision of two creative businessmen and entrepreneurs, M.Y. Ling of ChemOne Holdings Pte Ltd and his partner, Vijay Goradia, of Vinmar. ChemOne’s tireless efforts at developing and executing a viable business strategy have helped JAC earn the support of the international feedstock suppliers and offtakers as well as the global financial institutions.

“(This) groundbreaking ceremony would not have been possible if they had not persevered and stayed the course while trying to get a world-scale project off the ground amid a very tough economic and financial environment.

“I also must thank our shareholders, staff, business associates, and especially the Economic Development Board (EDB) and EDBI as well as Jurong Town Corporation. All of them held an unmoving belief in the viability of our business despite the challenging economic environment of the last few years.

“You may look around you at this currently barren land and wonder why we chose to locate here. The development team of ChemOne Holdings had scoured various other locations in the region before deciding to locate the multi-billion dollar investment on Jurong Island in Singapore. I can tell you from my 40 years’ of global experience working in the petrochemical industry that Singapore’s Jurong Island was unbeatable on so many levels.

“Jurong Island, a world-class chemical hub, not only had the space for our complex – the island itself is a marvel, being totally made of reclaimed land. The Singapore government understood our business and was attuned to our needs especially when we were arranging the financing for this project.

“Importantly, Singapore has first-rate infrastructure, excellent connectivity and a solid base of industry players and customers. These were major factors that attracted our shareholders to locate their plant here.

“I’m pleased to announce that Jurong Aromatics has secured US$2.2 billion worth of (annual) offtake contracts for its products from five of our stakeholders namely South Korea’s SK Energy, Switzerland’s Glencore, China’s Jiangsu Sanfangxiang Group, BP and US-based Vinmar owned.

“This is an unqualified success and a tremendous vote of confidence for our project.”

“JAC will further strengthen Singapore’s competitiveness as a major petrochemicals hub in Asia, boosts exports of petrochemical products from Singapore and support the vibrant petrochemical ecosystem that already exists on Jurong Island.”