Kallang Gasworks



Constructed in 1862 by the Singapore Gas Company, Kallang Gasworks was the first site dedicated to the manufacture of gas from coal for street lighting. In 1901, this function was taken over by the Municipal Commissioners, and gas production was expanded for industrial and home use. Kallang Gasworks was decommissioned in March 1998 and its function was taken over by Senoko Gasworks.1

Early history
The Singapore Gas Company was formed in London in 1861 when permission was obtained from the Municipal Commissioners to provide gas lighting for Singapore’s streets.2 In 1862, the Kallang Gasworks was built to supply the first piped gas in Singapore to enable street lighting. Since its opening, the gasworks was under 24-hour surveillance, and guarded by Gurkhas. It was given the Hokkien nickname huay sia, or "fire city", because of superstitious fears that it might explode.3


The Singapore Gas Company primarily serviced street lighting until 1901 when the Municipal Commission took over the responsibility. Between 1901 and 1930, coal carbonising plants were installed; these were in use until 1958. Kallang Gasworks’ original function of providing gas for street lamps became less important when electricity was used for street lighting in 1906, with the last gas street lamp disappearing in 1956. In 1958, coal was replaced by fuel oil, and new oil gasification plants were built in Kallang Gasworks.4

Modern gas works
In 1951, Singapore achieved city status and the Municipal Commission was renamed the City Council.5 On 1 May 1963, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) was constituted, taking over the responsibilities of gas, electricity and water services.6 By 1975, Kallang Gasworks was operating eight plants, which reformed either naphtha or heavy fuel oil to produce gas.7 In the 1980s, there was competition between bottled gas and piped gas.8 On 1 October 1995, the gas and electricity operations of PUB were corporatised and undertaken by Singapore Power Pte Ltd. A Regulation Department was also set up to ensure the safe and reliable provision of piped gas supply.9

Plans to develop Kallang Basin led to announcements that the Kallang Gasworks would be phased out. In September 1994, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at Senoko to mark the commencement of a new gasworks to replace the Kallang site.10

In July 1997, piped gas production operation was relocated to the S$240-million Senoko Gasworks. It had a daily production capacity of 1.6 million cu m, 45 percent more than Kallang Gaswork's capacity at 1 million cu m.11

The Kallang site was officially “retired” on 23 March 1998 after having produced gas uninterruptedly for more than 130 years, except for short breaks during the two world wars. On 26 March, three days later, the Kallang Gasworks site was opened to the public for the first and only time before it was finally returned to the government.12



Author

Bonny Tan 



References
1. Page 16/17 advertisements column 1. (2011, April 24). The Straits Times, pp. 16, 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; City Gas Pte. Ltd. (as Trustee). (2017). The City Gas story: Our milestones. Retrieved 2017, May 5 from http://www.citygas.com.sg/aboutus/overview/our-milestones/
2. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 202. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); Untitled – Gas. (1861, August 17). The Straits Times, p. 1; Europe – A gas company for Singapore. (1862, May 22). Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835—1869), p. 4; Municipal Council – Gas. (1862, June 14). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Lee, J. (1998, March 24). Farewell to Kallang’s blue tin can. The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Singapore. Public Utilities Board. (1982). Public Utilities Board, Singapore. Singapore: Public Relations Division, PUB, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 354.59570087 PUB); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 202. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]); Municipal enterprise at Singapore. (1901, January 31). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884—1942), p. 2; Untitled. (1923, February 17). The Straits Times, p. 8; Our gas industry. (1926, October 26). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884—1942), p. 3; Piped gas. (1988, May 1). The Straits Times, p. 2; Page 16/17 advertisements column 1. (2011, April 24). The Straits Times, pp. 16, 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. King grants city status to Singapore. (1951, July 24). The Straits Times, p. 3; Bill to make city changes. (1951, October 12). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Dr Fong heads utilities board. (1963, May 3). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then & now.  Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 202. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
7. New gas plants will cut down Kallang pollution. (1975, July 24). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore. Public Utilities Board. (1982). Public Utilities Board, Singapore. Singapore: Public Relations Division, PUB, pp. 17, 18. (Call no.: RSING 354.9570087 PUB)
8. Lim, R. (1986, February 20). Battle for cooking gas market hots up. The Straits Times, p. 9; No piped gas for five new Housing Board estates. (1984, June 22). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Public Utilities Board. (1995). Annual report. Singapore: Public Utilities Board, pp. 3, 23. (Call no.: RCLOS 354.59570087 SPUB)
10. New development soon at Kallang. (1997, March 8). The Straits Times, p. 30; Lim, T. (1988, December 16). Mall that links three waterfronts. (1988, December 16). The New Paper, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Public Utilities Board. (1994). Annual report. Singapore: The Dept, pp. 10, 16. (Call no.: RCLOS 354.59570087 SPUBPD-[AR])
11. Farewell to Kallang’s blue tin can. (1998, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 34; Eng, C. (1998, March 24). S’pore Power eyes existing projects in region. The Business Times, p. 2.; Tan, H. Y. (1997, March 8). Senoko Gasworks will keep more home fires burning. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Eng, C. (1998, March 24). S’pore Power eyes existing projects in region. The Business Times, p. 2; Farewell to Kallang’s blue tin can. (1998, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Politics and Government>>Public Utilities
Business, finance and industry>>Economics>>Environmental economics>>Natural resources and energy
Singapore--History
Public utilities
Public utilities--Singapore
Gas companies--Singapore