Royal Dutch Shell announced late last year it would slash capacity by half at its biggest oil refinery. For Singapore, where the plant has been a mainstay of the economy for six decades, it marked a turning point in one of the most successful bets on fossil fuels in history.

The plant on Bukom Island is part of a massive refining and petrochemical industry built largely on reclaimed islands just off the city-state. In tandem with the cargo vessels they fueled, the refineries helped drive Singapore’s economic success after independence, attracting billions in investment and spawning businesses from plastics to rig construction and finance.

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