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Singapore plans pipeline network

Singapore's government said yesterday it will build an integrated pipeline network within five years to prevent a repeat of the sudden loss of gas supply which led to power blackouts in parts of the island this month.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Raymond Lim told parliament the current gas pipeline from Indonesia's offshore West Natuna field and a new pipeline due to come on stream next year from Sumatra will be connected to the network.

"Interconnection will enable us to have gas from one source backing up supply from another, thus giving our system greater resilience," Lim said.

On August 5, a sudden disruption to gas flows from the Natuna field knocked out 25 per cent of Singapore's power generation capability, causing some areas to lose power for up to 90 minutes.

Lim said the disruption occurred at an Onshore Receiving Facility on Jurong Island operated by Conoco Indonesia Inc Ltd when an emergency shutdown valve was triggered during routine maintenance.

"The public was understandably alarmed that a disruption in gas supply could have caused such blackouts over parts of Singapore," Lim said.

The city state is gradually moving away from using oil for power generation and using cleaner-burning gas.

Lim said, in the longer term, the Energy Market Authority was studying the feasibility of bringing liquefied natural gas into Singapore to further diversify gas sources.