Singapore’s government could extend a helping hand to energy firms that continue to struggle with mounting debt amid low oil prices.

EY tax partner at Singapore Chia Seng Chye told Bloomberg earlier this month that Singapore’s government could possibly introduce off-budget measures to help struggling energy firms if economic conditions worsen.

Singapore’s government has not yet introduced or disclosed any measures specifically aimed at helping energy firms.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Singapore-based firms have the heaviest debt loads among energy-related firms in Asia.

Data compiled by OCBC Bank and seen by the Financial Times shows that S$1.2 billion in bonds issued by Singapore-based oil and gas services firms are set to mature by the end of 2017.

Singapore’s Finance Ministry included a loan assistance program in its most recent budget to help smaller, cash-strapped firms.

The budget, released in March, called for a working capital loan plan for small and medium-sized that have cash flow concerns that would offer borrowers as much as $300,000 each.

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry is also trying to collaborate with energy companies to find energy workers jobs in adjacent industries.

“This approach aims to help the oil and gas sector become more competitive in the long run, especially in a new global operating environment of lower oil prices,” a Ministry of Trade and Industry told Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, the marine and offshore sectors account for about 19 percent of Singapore’s manufacturing jobs.

Singapore-based Swiber Holdings announced in July that it filed an application to wind up the company and to place the company in provisional liquidation, according to a stock exchange filing seen by Reuters.

Swiber Holdings said last week that it has received total claims of about $197 million.

The company added that it is currently seeking legal advice on the claims.

KrisEnergy warned earlier this month that there is a risk that some of its covenants under its existing debt instruments may “come under stress.”

“The company continues to review our financial condition and we have engaged external parties to review all available opportunities to strengthen the Group’s capital structure,” KrisEnergy said.

Even some of Singapore’s largest oil and gas firms have seen their profits shrink as two years of low oil prices dampens demand for rigs and services.

Singapore-based Keppel Corporation reported a 41 percent-year-over-year net profit decline in the first quarter.

Sembcorp Marine posted group revenue of $1.8 billion for the first half of 2016, down from $2.5 billion during the same period last year.

In an investor note seen by Bloomberg, USB analysts Devinda Paranathanthri and Clarissa Lee said that more bank support may be needed to spur interest in refinancing energy sector debt.

“The bond market is currently not open to issuers from troubled sectors such as oil and gas, industrial, transportation, and metals and mining,” the analysts wrote earlier this month.

According to a report published by Moody’s earlier this month, nearly $110 billion of debt associated with oilfield services and drilling (OFS) companies will mature over the next five years.

Speculative-grade companies will account for 65 percent of all the maturities and expirations, Moody’s said.


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