Oil Back In Ground in Singapore

Published: June 17, 2015

Oil Back In Ground in Singapore, Singapore is looking to put its oil back into the ground – as in underground reservoirs – as a way of storing the fossil fuel because of its lack of surface space above ground.

The Jurong Rock Caverns, which is nine-stories high, is Singapore’s deepest underground project sitting nearly 500 feet under Jurong Island, according to the Strait Times. The caverns can hold up to 1.47 million cubic meters of crude oil that would normally be stored in tanks above ground, freeing up the equivalent of 70 football field.

JTC Corp. developed the cavern for storage for $950 million, taking six years of planning and eight years of construction. Two of the caverns have already been leased by Jurong Aromatics Corporation to store feedstock and the other three caverns are expected to be ready by 2016.

Singapore has been dealing with a space crunch for years and the idea of building underground has gone well beyond caverns to store oil and other products. The Hindu reported in 2013 that with Singapore expecting 1.5 million more people in the next 15 years, it needed new alternatives to buildings that are already reaching 70 stories.

The island had been examining building whole interconnecting cities underground with shopping malls, transportation hubs, public spaces, pedestrian links and even cycling lanes.

“Singapore is small, and whether we have 6.9 million or not, there is always a need to find new land space,” said Zhao Zhiye, the interim director of the Nanyang Center for Underground Space at Nanyang Technological University. “The utilization of underground space is one option for Singapore.”

The Hindu reported that seven miles of freeway and nearly 50 miles of public transit lines were already underground in 2013. A project under consideration in Singapore is what is being dubbed as an underground science city – 40 interconnected caverns for data centers and research and development labs that could benefit the biomedical and life sciences industries there.

“A lot of facilities can go underground if you fully utilize the underground space,” said Zhao. “In the beginning there might be a psychological issue, but as long as we have proper lighting and proper ventilation, gradually people can overcome the idea of working and living underground.”


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