27 February 2013

 Two underground caverns for hydrocarbons ready by June

Two giant rock caverns to store oil and petrochemicals on Jurong Island are set to be completed by next June. Yesterday, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said in a blog post that he visited the caverns recently, and that they were "almost completed".

They will be used to store liquid hydrocarbons. Industrial landlord JTC Corporation is building the caverns as part of its Jurong Rock Cavern project. As part of the first phase, five caverns will be built by 2014 and offer 1.47 million cubic metres of storage space to companies. The first phase of the project costs $890 million. The caverns are being built 130m under Jurong Island, and each cavern is about 27m tall, the height of a nine-storey building. Mr Khaw said in his blog post: "Normally, such facilities are built above ground as they will be cheaper. But by building them underground, we free up valuable land for other purposes." He estimated that the land savings from the rock caverns would amount to 60ha, about the size of 130 football fields. Several other projects have been launched to investigate the potential uses of underground space here. The Ministry of National Development, for example, is studying the possibility of clustering facilities such as reservoirs, power plants and landfills beneath the ground. The need to delve deeper is urgent because of Singapore's growing lack of above-ground space. In a recent paper, researchers here noted that Singapore's 2001 Concept Plan projected a land demand of 800 sq km for a population of 5.5 million people.

(The Straits Times, 05 Dec 12)