Contact Us

If you have feedback or queries regarding the NUS M/Arch Gradshow 2021, please contact us at

For additional information on the NUS M/Arch Programme, please visit

Oils Well that Ends Well: Adapting the Seria Refinery in a Post-Oil Brunei

Lim Zhi Xuan

- Adj. Assoc. Prof. Teh Joo Heng

The oil and gas industry in Brunei provides for over 90% of its export revenue. Up until recently, the Seria Oil Refinery has been mainly responsible for local storage and refining. However, with a global shift towards green energy and the construction of a new refinery island at Pulau Muara Besar, the future of the refinery and industry is uncertain.

This thesis seeks to examine how the decommissioned infrastructure and crude oil storage tanks at the Seria Oil Refinery can be readapted into new spaces that revitalize the town. The thesis proposal comes in two parts; a masterplan to reinvigorate the town as well as a new cultural centre built upon the decontaminated crude oil storage tanks.

As the majority of residents in the area work for the oil and gas industry or its secondary industry it is important that new jobs are introduced.
The masterplan introduces two intersecting industrial strips. These are the Industrial and Historical strip and the Nature and Living strip. Each strip connects new and old industrial and historical sites, such as the billionth barrel monument and a new microalgae farm.

At the point of intersection between the two strips is the crude oil tanks. A cultural centre is proposed here as a softer edge in contrast to all the industrial elements proposed in the masterplan.
The design strategy operates in two parts.
The first is the tanks, where minimal intervention is encouraged to retain its monumentality and to preserve the structural integrity of these tanks. Each tank would be treated as a micro-environment, taking advantage of the natural qualities of the tank. The programs include a mosque, auditorium, expo hall, library and six galleries.
Secondly is to introduce a field in between the tanks to both bridge and create a usable platform regardless of the weather. This space would serve as an
open public space and contain secondary supporting programs. This raised platform also incorporates voids/perforations and undulating surfaces, which direct circulation and create new public spaces such as an amphitheater. These undulations are also visual metaphors for the crater-like formation of oil under
the earth’s crust.

Supervisor's comments:

Brunei generates its wealth through oil. The Seria oil field, developed in the 70’s, was the original location where oil was discovered. With the relocation of oil refinery away from this location, these soon-to-be abandoned oil refinery structures serve as a platform to speculate the post oil scenario for Seria and the opportunities that these oil infrastructures can present for the future.
At the macro planning level, Andi’s thesis investigates job creation for the community in Seria through environmentally sustainable intervention like bio-fuel production by algae farming, while converting the off-shore oil rigs into a fish farming facility and a large-scale solar farm for clean energy. At the design level, the thesis attempts to create a nationally significant project by converting 10 large oil drums, each of 70m diameter into cultural and community facilities.

- Adj. Assoc. Prof. Teh Joo Heng
Lim Zhi Xuan