Jurong Island is an artificial island located to the southwest of the main island of Singapore, off Jurong Industrial Estate. It was formed from the amalgamation of seven offshore islands, the islands of Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Merlimau, Pulau Pesek, Pulau Pesek Kechil (also called Terumbu Pesek), Pulau Sakra (which was a previous merger of Pulau Sakra and Pulau Bakau), Pulau Seraya, Pulau Meskol, Pulau Mesemut Laut, Pulau Mesemut Darat and Anak Pulau. This was done through Singapore's land reclamation efforts. Land reclamation on Jurong Island was completed on September 24, 2009, 20 years earlier than scheduled. Pulau Buaya was joined to Jurong Island via reclamation in 2010. Jurong Island forms a land area of about 32 km2 (12 sq mi) from an initial area of less than 10 km2 (4 sq mi), and is the largest of Singapore's outlying islands.
The outlying islands of Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Ayer Merbau, Pulau Merlimau and Pulau Seraya were used to house fishing communities comprising small villages up to the 1960s. The villagers lived in Malay-style wooden stilt houses on the palm-fringed islands. Between late-1960s and early-1970s, three big oil companies planned to house their facilities on Pulau Ayer Chawan for Esso, Pulau Merlimau for Singapore Refinery Company and Pulau Pesek for Mobil Oil.
The Government of Singapore then took the opportunity to grow the petrochemical industry as a choice that would significantly produce economic growth. This was proven by the success of starting off the petroleum industries in the 1970s.
By the 1980s, after a decade of rapid industrialisation, industrial land was growing scarce on Singapore mainland. The idea of joining the southern islands off Jurong to form one colossal island to create more industrial land was therefore conceived.
In 1991, JTC Corporation (formerly Jurong Town Corporation) was appointed the agent of the Jurong Island project. JTC planned and coordinated with various government agencies in providing the necessary infrastructure and services to the island.
Physical land reclamation began in 1995, and Jurong Island was officially opened on October 14, 2000 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. From the 9.91 km² land area of the original seven islets, as of completion of the land reclamation on September 25, 2009, Jurong Island currently has a total land area of 30 km². Penta-Ocean Construction was the major contractor and reclamation was completed 20 years ahead of schedule.
Today, Jurong Island is home to many companies such as LANXESS, Afton Chemical, BASF, BP, Celanese, Evonik, ExxonMobil, DuPont, Mitsui Chemicals, Chevron Oronite, Shell, Singapore Petroleum Company and Sumitomo Chemical.
Clusters of gigantic cylindrical tanks amid a maze of pipelines now dot the island; investment totalled S$31 billion in 2010. Resident companies produce a vast range of items, from petroleum products to polycarbonate resins used in CDs, DVDs and LCD TV panels, and super-absorbent polymers that go into diapers and sanitary napkins.
ExxonMobil, which has invested S$4 billion in a refinery and cracker plant, makes industrial and automotive lubricants including a product used in Formula One racing cars. DuPont has invested S$1 billion, and manufactures Zytel nylon resin, a versatile engineering plastic used in automobile components, appliances, wire insulation, sporting gear and home furnishings. Afton Chemical is constructing a new manufacturing facility, expected to become operational in January 2016, to produce petroleum additives for the Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets.
Output for the chemicals cluster—which cover oil and gas, petrochemicals and speciality chemicals—totalled S$66.5 billion in 2005, an increase of 31 per cent from 2004. This accounted for almost 32 per cent of production in Singapore's manufacturing sector. Powered by the cluster, Singapore is currently one of the world's top three oil refining centres despite not having a single drop of crude deposits.
Jurong Island's refineries process 1,300,000 barrels (210,000 m3) of crude oil per day, turning it into petrol, kerosene and jet fuel sold locally and abroad. Cracker plants break down the molecules of other oil-and gas-related substances such as naphtha into additives that give unique characteristics to certain products, from printer inks to plastic mouldings, semiconductors and aircraft materials.
Apart from imported crude, natural gas from Indonesia's West Natuna field arrives at Jurong Island via a 640 km undersea pipeline. Some of it is refined to provide a source of cleaner and cheaper fuel, while the rest is sent to crackers that make other petrochemical products. The country's first refilling station for compressed natural gas (CNG) opened on Jurong Island in 2002. As most of the 2500+ cars running on CNG in Singapore are not allowed to enter the island because the drivers do not have the necessary security pass, four more CNG stations opened on the main island leading up to September 2009.
Jurong Island was gazetted as a Protected Place since September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (mostly in October 2001). Access control is contracted to a private security company, while the Singapore Army helps to protect the island.
Access to the island is limited to staff and visitors, and they are issued with security passes. Other security restrictions include that any photographic equipment brought to the island must be declared. Without permission from Island Security it is forbidden to take photographs or videos on Jurong Island. Anyone getting caught taking pictures or videos is handed over to the police, and subsequently has their the Jurong Island pass confiscated and their permission to enter Jurong Island revoked.
Jurong Island and the southwestern waters were to be used for Exercise Northstar 8 from 21 November to 25 November 2011. However, Exercise Northstar 8 was only carried out on 25 November 2011 after 4pm at Jurong Island, up to 7.30pm.
Jurong Island has two fire stations, and an amenity centre known as [email protected] that houses a food court, a medical clinic and a free-of-charge multi-storey carpark. The island also houses the Pulau Seraya Power Station, Singapore's first offshore power station, which was built in phases on the former Pulau Seraya since 1986.
The island has a network of pipelines that allows for seamless integration among companies. For example, Japan's Teijin can make polycarbonates from chlorine piped in directly from CIFE and bisphenol A from Mitsui Chemicals elsewhere on the island. Red pipes carry water for firefighting and green pipes, sea water for cooling. Huge silver pipes carry steam and small silver pipes bring product lines.
There are two major cargo jetties on Jurong Island, namely Sakra Jetty and Banyan Jetty. Sakra Jetty is managed and controlled by ExxonMobil.
Jurong Island is linked to the main island by a 2.3 km causeway known as the Jurong Island Highway, opened in March 1999. Several public bus services run between Jurong Island and the mainland.
Construction work on Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC), Singapore's first underground rock caverns for storage of crude oil, condensates, naphtha and gas-oil, started in February 2007. JTC Corporation has been appointed by the Singapore government to undertake the construction of JRC.
Located beneath the seabed of Banyan Basin, off Jurong Island, JRC was completed in phases beginning in 2013, and was officially opened on Sept 2 2014. As a result of this first phase of work, the caverns reportedly have a storage capacity of 1.47 million cubic metres. Phase 2, which has the potential to add another 1.32 million cubic metres, is being explored.
To raise its competitive edge, Singapore is moving to produce higher-value-added speciality products, including chemicals that would go into animal vaccines, animal feeds, consumer care items such as cosmetics and industrial enzymes to support the biomedical sector. As part of this effort to move up the value chain, the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Science (an A*STAR research institute) has been set up on Jurong Island.
There have also been plans to build a second causeway to link the Western end of Jurong Island Highway with Gul Road in Jurong Industrial Estate on mainland Singapore, but these have been shelved. The investment earmarked for the second causeway has been re-allocated to the building of HDB flats at Western Water Catchment later in the decade.