COS 2021: Fossil Fuel Industry Workers

Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Mdm Chairman, OPEC forecasts that the green transition in shocks like COVID-19 place a big question mark over the future for oil markets.

Last year, Shell announced its intent to axe 500 jobs or 38% of its Pulau Bukom workforce and aims to reduce its global workforce by up to 9,000 by 2022. Just today, ExxonMobil announced that it will be cutting 7% of jobs in Singapore. No doubt, these developments owe something to COVID-19 but jobs affected by changes in fossil fuel demand over the longer term may eventually go beyond the refineries and include those in bunkering, rig building and other businesses in the fossil fuel industry eco-system.

In a Parliamentary reply to my Parliamentary colleague, Ms He Ting Ru, MTI said that the shift to low emissions mobility would not result in significant job losses for Singapore. But can the Government share its expected outlook for jobs in the oil and gas and petrochemicals industry clusters as a result of the longer term global decarbonisation trend?

Could we also consider making career conversion programmes more targeted for workers affected by this green transition through proactive pushing out of awareness campaigns and targeted ad campaigns? Worforce Singapore has implemented career conversion programmes like the PCP but reskilling can be more proactive and should not happen only when the transition is in full swing and jobs are already being lost.

Lastly, even if the majority of our workers in potentially affected industries are able to transition successfully, I expect some will fall between the cracks into unemployment and under-employment through no fault of theirs.

As has been argued by Members of this House, such as my Parliamentary colleague then, the hon Ms Sylvia Lim in the past, I urge the Government to implement measures of under-employment so that we can track this and refine our tools against bad employment outcomes.

Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment
3 March 2021

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