Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

June 10, 2008

Underground ‘city’ to free up space

Filed under: About Singapore,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:51 am

SINGAPORE is looking at building underground power stations, water reclamation plants, wafer fabs and R&D labs, data centres, warehouses and port and airport logistics centres to free up surface land for other economic uses.

Industrial landlord Jurong Town Corporation has called a tender for a wide-ranging ‘underground rock cavern (URC) usage feasibility study’ to see how best caverns beneath the island can be used.

The consultant awarded the study will have to work with various government agencies on possible uses for the caverns.

For instance, it will have to work with the Energy Market Authority on power stations, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on airport logistics, or the Public Utilities Board on water reclamation plants.

The study will cover such ’space, technical and functional requirements, operation and maintenance requirements and identification of issues of concern’, the tender document says.

The tender, called on Friday last week, closes on June 6. Due to the specialised nature of the project, only tenderers with proven URC expertise and experience are eligible.

The winning consultant will have to identify and study proven URC usage in other countries and determine the technical and operational feasibility of such usage here.

The consultant will also have to look at the environment, health and the likely public reaction on such matters as radiation and pollution, harmful airborne particles and damage to existing buildings or infrastructure, among other things.

A JTC spokeswoman said yesterday JTC will be the facilitator for the multi-agency study. ‘The study will look at possible uses for URCs as well as costs,’ she said. ‘The latter include costs for excavation and facility construction for each specific use.’

JTC declined to say which areas of Singapore have potential for URCs. ‘The latest feasibility study is looking just at usage, and not sites,’ the spokeswoman noted.

Singapore has so far used underground caverns for munitions storage for the defence forces. It blasted caverns out of granite beneath the disused Mandai Quarry.

And it is currently constructing Phase 1 of the $700 million Jurong Rock Cavern (JRC) project beneath Jurong Island to store 1.485 million cu m of crude oil and oil products like naphtha, condensate and gas oil.

JRC will be used by petrochemical companies such as Jurong Aromatics Corporation, which is building a US$2 billion aromatics complex and is the first committed customer.

The first of five caverns being built under Phase 1 will start operating at end-2010. Phase 2 of the project will add another 1.3 million cu m of storage.

In March, when Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean commissioned the underground munitions facility at Mandai, he said it would free up 300 ha of land – half the size of Pasir Ris Town – and need 20 per cent less manpower to operate than a surface facility.

Likewise, JRC will free up 60 ha of surface space – bigger than Bishan Park – to accommodate the storage needs of the oil industry here.

Land on Jurong Island is being snapped up by new petrochemical investors. BT understands that no more land is available from JTC for above-ground oil storage terminals, after Hin Leong’s Universal Terminal and Emirates National Oil Company’s Horizon Terminal.

Industrial landlord Jurong Town Corporation has called a tender for a wide-ranging ‘underground rock cavern usage feasibility study’ to see how best caverns beneath the island can be used.

Source : Business Times – 13 May 2008

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