(EnergyAsia, December 20 2011, Tuesday) — Singapore state industrial landlord JTC Corporation (JTC) said it has launched a two-stage request for proposal (RFP) to engage an operator to manage and operate the first phase of the Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC), Southeast Asia’s first underground hydrocarbon storage facility.

Located beneath Jurong Island, the cavern’s S$890 million first phase is scheduled to be completed in stages between 2013 and 2014. (US$1=S$1.3). The operatorship contract is due to start in 2013 for a period of 15 years.

The applications for the first stage of the RFP will be evaluated based on criteria such as financial stability, experience, capability and track record.

JTC has invited companies to submit their applications by January 13, with details available on GeBiz, the Singapore government’s e-procurement portal, www.gebiz.gov.sg.

JTC said shortlisted participants will be invited to submit their business proposals within two months. Submissions will be evaluated based on individual merits, with emphasis placed on factors which includes fees, technical propositions and proposed commercial activities.

Manohar Khiatani, JTC’s CEO, said:

“Jurong Rock Caverns is an example of how we create space to overcome our limited land resource and ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of Singapore’s chemical industry in the long run. The two-stage RFP for the JRC operator is to ensure rigour in our selection process so that a capable and qualified operator is engaged to operate and manage the caverns. We target to get an operator on board by second half 2012.”

This will be JTC’s second attempt at appointing an operator for the project. In 2007, it had pre-qualified established players like Vopak and Horizon Terminals, but was forced to delay the process with the arrival of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Construction of the project started in 2007. Its first phase tanks will have the capacity to store 1.47 million cubic metres of crude oil, condensate and oil products. JTC has signed up Jurong Aromatics Corporation (JAC) as its first customer.