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Johor Strait reclamation project to create oil storage hub

One of the two massive reclamation projects coming up in the Johor Strait will be turned into an oil storage hub to capture spill-over oil and gas business from Singapore, an official with the company involved in the works said yesterday.

The project involving Benalec Holdings will raise a 1,410-hectare man-made island near Jurong Island, the firm's chief operating officer Bernard Boey told The Straits Times.

The reclamation is expected to begin before the end of the year.

The project, located off Johor's Tanjung Piai coast, is roughly twice the size of Ang Mo Kio.

The massive size of the other planned reclamation in the Johor Strait near the Second Link bridge has also sparked controversy, given the lack of details from the developer, China's Country Garden Holdings and its partner Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

The Forest City reclamation, as it is called, is reportedly 2,000 hectares in total area — nearly three times the size of Ang Mo Kio.

The man-made island near Jurong Island that Benalec is involved in is called the Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park, according to the firm's website. Once completed, oil storage facilities would be built, Boey said.

“Our intention is to capture the spillover from Jurong,” he said, referring to Jurong Island's position as a global energy and chemicals hub with some SG$42 billion (US$33.6 billion) worth of investments.

The Malaysian government's plan to capture some of the global energy business from Singapore includes backing the construction of a US$16 billion project on the other side of Johor, in Pengerang, called the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) development, media reports say.

Benalec is also involved in the reclamation works to extend the shoreline of the Rapid project in Pengerang, Boey said. “The route of oil from the Middle East that is heading to China, Japan and (South) Korea — if you have these facilities, you can cater to the demand,” Boey said.

He said that apart from the plans by Malaysia, there are international companies setting up oil storing hubs in Indonesia's Batam and Karimun islands.

The Benalec and Forest City plans have raised concerns among environmentalists because fishing grounds, water flows and mangrove forests would be affected.

Boey said the reclamation works for the oil storing hub would start only after the authorities are satisfied with the way the project promoters plan to mitigate its impact on the surrounding environment. Benalec is expected to pay compensation to fishermen in nearby villages who would be affected, he said.

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