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Gigantic underground storage cavern for oil

This month sees the start of construction in Singapore of a gigantic underground storage cavern for oil from the the Middle East for all of South-East Asia. SINTEF and Multiconsult AS from Norway will be responsible for management of the whole of the construction phase of the project.

Norwegian competence has long enjoyed a special position in other countries where the construction and use of a wide range of underground facilities are concerned, not least in the planning and studies concerning the bedrock, where Norwegian engineers have been involved in a number of overseas tunnel projects. SINTEF Building Research, for example, has been engaged as a consultant on the building of a more than 20 kilometre-long sewage tunnel under Hong Kong, is involved in the planning of subsea tunnel projects in Iceland and the Faeroes, and is cooperating at the research level with the China Railway Tunnel Design Institute.

Four million cubic metres

Two years ago, SINTEF scientists won their first contract for rock technology pilot studies in Singapore, on which they collaborated with a local company called TriTech. The project involved studies that aimed to identify where the underground storage caverns should be located and how deep they should be. Last year, however, they lost the feasibility study contract to a French company, but now SINTEF is back on the job, together with Multiconsult.

The Singapore government is the state owner of the project. The storage caverns have a total volume of 12 million cubic metres, and the first phase, which is due to start on August 17, will involve the construction of a 1.47 million cubic metre storage cavern.

The three parts of the project, project management, technical consulting and design, will be carried out by a consortium comprising SINTEF, TriTech and Multiconsult. “The project will last for five years, with a budget for the consortium totalling some NOK 37 million”, says chief scientist Ming Lu at SINTEF Building Research.

Work-force in Trondheim

SINTEF will help to draw up tender documentation and participate in following up the operations involved. The scientists will also carry out post hoc approval procedures of the work done.

“It would be too expensive to have an operational body of people in Singapore, but we will keep a project manager here on a permanent basis”, says Ming Lu. “The rest of the project team will remain in Trondheim and Oslo, and work on the project from here. Our estimates suggest that we are talking of a turnover of almost eight million kroner for each of the Norwegian partners over the coming five years. It will also be important to cooperate with other Norwegian companies in this sector” emphasises Lu.

“Recognition of Norwegian competence is almost as important as the size of the contract itself”, says the SINTEF scientist. The contract is the result of deliberately concentrating on a particular type of contact and involvement in a given region. SINTEF will also be marketing itself at a major trade fair in Singapore this autumn.

Aase Dragland | alfa
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