Monday, July 5, 2010

S'pore looking at intensifying land use for O&M industry

JTC Corp seeks consultant to study sector involving over 3,000 companies

(SINGAPORE) Having already ventured underground, Singapore is looking at how it can further intensify the use of industrial land here. It will take a close look at the growing offshore and marine (O&M) sector, given the general shortage of sites, especially those with waterfront access.

JTC Corporation, which is seeking a consultant for this, says the study will cover a sector involving over 3,000 companies, broadly involved in two clusters: marine engineering (including shipbuilding, rigbuilding and ship or FPSO conversions) and offshore oil and gas exploration and production support services.

The feasibility study by the appointed consultant 'will not just be restricted to existing oil and gas activities here, but also those that are currently carried out overseas and have the potential to be done in Singapore,' the tender document said.

'The purpose of the study is to establish the viability of intensifying land usage for these oil and gas activities,' it added.

JTC's land-intensification study - starting with the O&M industry and also for the aerospace industry - clearly marks a new phase in the corporation's attempt to carve out more industrial space here.

It has already embarked on building underground projects, like for oil storage on Jurong Island, and possibly for science parks, and logistics and data processing centres later. JTC is also currently studying building very large floating structures for various industrial purposes.

Its latest study to intensify land usage for the O&M industry follows the planned development of a 13-hectare offshore marine support base at the new hockey-stick shaped Tuas View Extension area.

The support base, replacing an earlier one at Shipyard Road in Jurong, will cater to a strong pipeline of customers for waterfront land. All the earlier offshore suppliers there have since relocated to Loyang Offshore Supply Base in the east.

Construction of the Tuas View base is slated to start this month, with the multi-million dollar project expected to be operational by end-2011.

In line with its land intensification effort, the multi-user facility will provide common waterfront and berthing facilities for O&M companies involved in the manufacturing and fabrication of heavy equipment, components and structures, a JTC spokeswoman earlier told BT.

'It is aimed at attracting new and quality types of manufacturing activities which will generate high economic value in terms of value-add and fixed asset investment,' she added.

JTC said that while companies within the O&M sector have vastly different facility requirements, the sector nevertheless 'shares certain common characteristics in terms of the space/land utilisation of its facilities, which is generally low'.

For instance, the sector commonly uses computer numerical controlled machines, which because of their weight and high-specifications require low-vibration and are usually located on ground-floor areas. Because most of their materials and products are heavy and bulky, these are also usually stored in the open or on the ground rather than stacked within warehouses.

The consultant will be required to study existing value-chain activities in O&M operations and come up with conceptual designs for each of the two industry clusters that can increase the plot ratio or reduce the land required. This includes the possibility of their having multi-tenanted buildings with shared facilities, among other solutions.

Source: Business Times, 5 Jul 2010

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