01 December 2009

Very Large Floating Structures may be located near Pulau Jong

The area off Pulau Sebarok is being considered for locating Very Large Floating Structures (VLFS) for storing "oil and petrochemical products".This probably explains the recent soil investigation works there. Pulau Sebarok is our Port's 'petrol station' with major bunkering facilities. It lies just off Pulau Jong, which is among our last untouched Southern Islands.

Here's a view of Pulau Jong with Pulau Sebarok in the background.
Pulau Sebarok from Pulau Jong
Among the special marine life there is a Giant clam (Tridacna maxima) that may be the last of its kind in our waters. Below is a wider view of the wild Pulau Jong, behind it the bunkering facilities on Pulau Sebarok.
Pulau Jong and Pulau Sebarok

Will the
VLFS be safe?

It will be huge. For VLFS to be viable, the minimum storage capacity should be 300,000 cu m - equivalent to that of a big tanker. In an earlier report, it was said that the VLFS "is also a marine-friendly eco system as the VLFS, being afloat in the sea, will allow seawater to flow underneath the floating modules and will not cause any irreversible damage to the marine ecosystem."

I hope those conducting the study will take into account the recent possible boat collision on Pulau Jong. Not to mention the gianormous container ship that ran aground near Pulau Sebarok a few months ago.
More about the VLFS

Phase 1 studies, completed in late 2007, showed such floating storage to be technically feasible and comparable in cost to land-based oil storage. JTC will decide whether to build the VLFS depending on the outcome of the Phase 2 study which will be completed next March. Phase 2 covers possible sites, environmental impact, engineering design, business model and security of the VLFS. Each VLFS would store as much oil as a very large crude carrier (VLCC).

The site study was to conduct initial screening of available water space followed by detailed screening, ranking the sites based on usage constraints. The study will cover anchorage and navigation areas, pipeline and cable routes, wave height, wind speed, coral reefs, mangrove stands, recreational areas and aquaculture facilities.

A VLFS would comprise two rectangular modules, each measuring 180m by 80m by 15m and with 150,000 cu m of storage capacity. Preliminary cost estimates are at least $180 million, comparable to the cost of onshore storage.

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