SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has spoken of the possible new uses and opportunities that lie underground in land—scarce Singapore.
He said in his blog entry, "Going Underground", on Tuesday that he recently explored the Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC) with Mr S Iswaran, who’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Home Affairs.
Mr Khaw described his visit to the JRC, which is located at a depth of more than 130 metres beneath the Banyan Basin on Jurong Island, as "quite an experience".
Under Phase One, it has five caverns providing storage and terminalling facilities for liquid hydrocarbons such as crude oil. They form an important infrastructure of Singapore’s petrochemical industry.
Mr Khaw noted that such facilities are normally built above ground, as they’ll be cheaper. Building them underground frees up valuable land for other purposes.
The five caverns are made up of storage galleries, as high as nine storeys.
Mr Khaw said these translate to a saving of about 60 hectares of land, which is very significant for Singapore.
"Not quite to the centre of the Earth, but the visit down the shaft to the deepest part of Singapore, nevertheless, left a deep impression. The JRC opens up new opportunities for land—scarce Singapore. Beyond storage, what more can be moved underground?" Mr Khaw wrote.
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