Guarding Gas Operations for the Nation’s Power Needs

Ong Sheau Chin at the Sakra Gas Receiving Facility in Jurong Island.

Most people associate gas with cooking, so it is easy to underestimate how gas operations impact households and businesses.

As much as 95 per cent of the gas that is imported into Singapore daily is transported to power plants for our electricity needs. The remaining 5 per cent is piped to smaller industries and as town gas for home and business users.

Ensuring its reliability is a key priority for Ong Sheau Chin, Director for SP Group’s Gas Operations. 

“Few realise that we supply natural gas to the power plants that generate electricity. The responsibility that rests with us requires round-the-clock operations,” explains the 42-year-old, an SP scholar with an honours degree in Electrical Engineering.

Clockwork precision for his team of 70 is critical in keeping demand and supply in check.

They are entrusted to man the Gas System Control Centre - the eyes and ears of the nation’s entire gas network - and two onshore gas receiving facilities for piped natural gas from Indonesia and Malaysia.

From left: Ong Sheau Chin leads the Gas System Operations team, here with team members Principal Engineer Alex Yeo, Senior Engineer Ang Guan Kang and Technical Officer Muhammad Reza Bin Mahmood.

They also oversee the commercial aspects of gas management and handle the careful balancing act between the amount of gas received, the demand from specific users, and the actual volume of gas utilised.

Sheau Chin and his team must be well-versed in the industry’s rules and standard operating procedures.  They also conduct regular drills to refine and reiterate processes.

“The gas networks are the upstream of power plants. We cannot afford to make mistakes. We must do our jobs well and do it right the first time,” he adds.

Sheau Chin’s job requires not just technical know-how, but an ability to navigate the policies and rules in the gas marketplace. It is a role that his experience in regulatory affairs as well as a front row seat to the deregulation of the gas market in 2008, has prepared him for.

Besides spearheading improvements in Singapore’s gas network, Sheau Chin is also driven by the motivation to make a difference. 

Last year, under his stewardship as Chairperson of the SP Heart Workers – SP’s staff volunteers - the team focused its efforts on increasing the number and range of volunteer activities to better serve the needs of the community.

Sheau Chin catching up with seniors at Meeting Point@ 128 Toa Payoh over lunch.

“Our aim is to leave sustained engagement with the community, so that we can better understand and meet their needs more effectively,” said Sheau Chin. He has led activities at senior activity centres, nursing homes and student care centres. These include organising carnivals for children, grocery shopping trips with seniors and education on energy efficiency and gas safety.

To Sheau Chin, it’s about giving every role he plays, his 100 per cent!

— 17 December 2019

You Might Be Interested To Read