Jurong Rock Caverns prove size doesn’t matter, engineering does

Singapore repeatedly stamps its authority as a builder of excellent infrastructure. Shrugging off any notions of its approx. 783 sq kms size being a disadvantage, it has gone ahead and created South East Asia’s first underground oil storage facility.

Built in Jurong Island, which was established in the 1970s to be island nation’s hub for the energy and chemicals industry, the remarkably branded Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC), lies 130 meters below the seabed. 

Jurong Island itself is built on a reclaimed land area of 3,200 hectares. It is home to more than 100 energy and chemical companies such as Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil. Planning for building the JRC started fourteen years ago and irrespective of the Great Recession in 2008, construction began. It officially opened in September 2014.

Credit: TODAY Online

JRC is a remarkable feat at many levels. Here are some interesting facts that may make you want to visit. 

  • Located at a depth of 130m beneath Banan Basin on Jurong island
  • Frees up 60ha (84 football fields) of usable land
  • Storage capacity of 1.47 million cubic metres - equivalent to 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools for liquid hydrocarbons
  • Capacity is expected to double once the second phase is complete

Credit: TODAY Online

I don’t know about you, but I think it deserves a place on National Geographic's Megastructures!

But that’s not the only underground development in Singapore. 

Prior to the underground rock caverns, the Singapore Armed Forces opened an Underground Ammunition Facility to store the military's munitions and explosives, freeing up about 400 football fields of space.

And at the end of 2013, Singapore’s first underground expressway - the Marine Coastal Expressway - was opened 20 metres under the seabed.

As Singapore celebrates a milestone and turns 50 in 2015, the world will have its eye on what else the Lion City has to offer. I wonder what’s next?

Sources: Economic Development Board, JTC Corporation