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Yoshi Kimura, General Manager, JGC Qatar

03.07.2014 / Energyboardroom

The general manager of JGC Qatar discusses the Qatar-Japan relationship, and his company’s history of groundbreaking projects in partnership with Qatar over the years.

What is the history of JGC in Qatar?

JGC’s first projects in Qatar were in the 1980s, working with QGPC (which is now QP) and Qapco. However, our first landmark project in the country was with RasGas, working on their first and second LNG trains, which were completed in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

Since then, we have continued to work on large projects in Qatar, namely the Qapco ethylene expansion, the Dolphin Energy project, the Pearl GTL project and now the Barzan project with QP and ExxonMobil: JGC is the primary EPC contractor for all the onshore facilities, as it was at the Dolphin project.

What makes an interesting market for JGC? How does Qatar rate on a global level?

As an EPC contractor, JGC is focused on countries with very high potential for economic development, as well hydrocarbon resources that are either exported or consumed domestically. In those terms, Qatar is one of JGC’s biggest markets. As a company that has been doing the EPC since more than half a century, our focus is on hydrocarbon projects, but we are especially very good at gas processing and LNG, so here in Qatar, there is very high potential.

Qatar was not the first LNG train that we built, having worked on a number of projects previously in Southeast Asia. It was with that experience that we came to Qatar. GTL is a slightly different story, but similar in the sense that our first GTL project was in Malaysia, working with Shell on their first GTL commercial plant during the FEED and EPC phases of the project. After establishing an excellent working relationship with Shell during the project, we again participated to work on Pearl GTL with them in Qatar, from the project’s pre-FEED stage in 2005 to inauguration in 2011.

GTL technology is one of the most important technologies that we focus on as a business. There is high potential for GTL globally because of the price of natural gas and liquids, but feasibility is always an issue: in the future, we expect more small-scale GTL projects to come in to commercialization.

What are JGC’s current projects in Qatar, and what is your capacity for future projects here?

The project we are working on right now is the Barzan onshore project. During peak time we had more than 20,000 workers on site, which is one of the reasons why Barzan is the largest project that JGC is working on as a single contractor globally. Given this experience, after this project is completed, we will be very well placed to work on any future large-scale projects happening in Qatar. We have a resource of around 10,000 working directly for the JGC group around the world, ready to be moved around based on the projects that are available.

What are your thoughts on the relationship today between Japan and Qatar?

LNG must be one of the keywords when discussing our relationship. After a significant decision  made by Chubu Electric to purchase Qatar’s first LNG, the export to Japan was raised and currently Qatar has become Japan’s second largest LNG supplier.

The 2011 earthquake in Japan served to solidify the relationship, and make it stronger than ever. Qatar offered to provide Japan with LNG at a time when it badly needed power.

2012 was the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and through the Japanese embassy in Qatar, the occasion was celebrated in style, which helped the members of the Japanese community here show their support for the relationship in a big way, strengthening the tie between the two countries diplomatically.

What influence does the policy of Qatarization have on your business here today?

Qatarization is being more encouraged year after year, but having worked in Qatar for a number of decades now, we are well placed to navigate this in comparison to many of our competitors, who are recent entrants into the marketplace.

We have had a number of Qatari nationals working in JGC for a training program: not just engineers but also in other departments such as HR.

Another way we show our commitment to Qatar is through our dedication to safety. For two years in a row, we have been granted Gold Award of The Qatar Oil and Gas Industry HSE Excellence Awards for our work here in the field of safety. In our ongoing Barzan Onshore Project, we even reached a record of 130 million man hours without LTI. JGC’s aim is not just technology transfer, but also implementing a culture of safety to Qatar.

To read more articles and interviews on Qatar, and to download EnergyBoardroom’s latest free report on the country, click here.



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