JTC, the government agency responsible for industrial infrastructure development, said the first two of the Jurong Rock Caverns and their associated facilities were completed in March this year.
The five caverns will have total storage capacity of 1.47 million cubic meters of liquid hydrocarbons such as crude and condensate although each cavern varies in size, ranging from 150,000 cu m to 330,000 cu m of storage capacity, according to a JTC spokesperson.
The two caverns that have been completed have total capacity of 480,000 cu m.
The rock caverns are located 130 meters beneath Banyan Basin, off the energy and petrochemicals hub of Jurong Island. It is the first commercial underground rock caverns facility for liquid hydrocarbon storage in Southeast Asia, JTC said.
According to a copy of his prepared speech for the launch ceremony, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the cost of building infrastructure to store oil underground was 30% higher than compared to reclaiming land for storage, but going underground freed up 60 hectares of land that could potentially house six petrochemical plants.
JTC awarded operatorship of the caverns to Banyan Caverns Storage Services -- a joint venture of Vopak (45%), engineering company Geostock (35%) and local company Jurong Consultants (20%) -- in January this year.
Prior to that, Jurong Aromatics Corporation, which also has a new aromatics facility on Jurong Island, had been announced as the first customer of the storage facility, with a deal signed in October 2011.
--Song Yen Ling, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, email@example.com