JAPANESE PARTNERS

Abu Dhabi 2019 | ENERGY | B2B

As the UAE is an important crude oil supplier to Japan, enhancing bilateral cooperation in the sector is key.

Ryuichi Sato
RYUICHI SATO
General Manager
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)
Tetsuo Fukumoto
TETSUO FUKUMOTO
General Manager
Middle East Office of Japan Cooperation Center Petroleum (JCCP)

How do you work to increase cooperation between Japan and UAE?

RYUICHI SATO JOGMEC is a government organization supporting Japanese oil companies to guarantee them a constant supply of oil within the broader Japanese energy security policy. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between ADNOC, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan (METI), and JOGMEC is a recent milestone for the UAE and Japan to enhance the countries' bilateral relationship in the field of oil and gas, including strategic business development ranging from upstream to midstream and downstream business through technological cooperation and human resource development. The first MoU between ADNOC and JOGMEC was signed in 2000 concerning technological cooperation and human resource development in the upstream business. The revision, including technological cooperation, was made in 2013, and last year, ADNOC, METI, and JOGMEC signed an important MOC targeting expansion to midstream and downstream fields rather than upstream.

TETSUO FUKUMOTO In the framework of the High-Level Researcher Dispatching Program, JCCP sends Japanese experts to assist local researchers in the UAE. There are two main areas. The first area concerns environmental issues, including water. Water is obviously of particular importance to the UAE because of the desert conditions and lack of rainfall here. Therefore, this makes desalination a major issue. The second area of focus is greater efficiency and lowering costs. In addition, research focuses on the diversification of both industry and human resource capacity in the UAE, including gender issues in employment and training. In Japan, we train and raise awareness on how to encourage women to enter certain professional roles, and we are doing similar work in the UAE to encourage employment opportunities for women and promote inclusive management practices.

What are the differences in management style, and how have the Japanese been able to adapt to this country?

RS We have had a long history of our training program to strengthen the cooperative relationship with oil producing countries. Since training programs started in 1989, JOGMEC has invited 3,500 people from 48 countries to the JOGMEC Technology Research Center in Japan. The UAE is positioned as a priority country for Japan, as we are engaging in a tailored course conducted for the UAE in addition to the four regular training courses: exploration geology, geophysics, drilling management, and reservoir engineering. As of 2017, JOGMEC has hosted 361 trainees from the UAE, which is almost 10% of the total number of trainees, due to its importance. As for the Japanese management style, kaizen, we have carried out related training programs several times at the request from ADNOC.

TF Each of us has our own way. Every year, JCCP publishes a program that outlines its ideas. Our operational approach is generally to strive for lower costs, greater efficiency, and more profit. These are the same goals that other countries have for their oil and gas sectors, but JCCP is sharing methods and systems with the industry in the UAE. I am sure it also looks at other approaches from other places such as the US and Europe. Their needs are greater than in some other countries, including Japan. We would like to have greater capacity to cater to the needs of the oil and gas industry here because the UAE is seeking more opportunities in the sector and exploring ways to increase production, efficiency, profitability, and environmental sustainability.

What are the upstream technical cooperation points between JOGMEC and the UAE?

RS JOGMEC mainly contributes to ADNOC through the onshore project and implementing or proposing several joint projects such as monitoring for CO2-EOR. Because of the CO2 injection, we have to monitor where CO2 is pushing oil production. We are also implementing or proposing these CO2 separation techniques from produced hydrocarbon gas to ADNOC, along with other joint projects such as operational efficiency enhancement, water treatment, reduction of crude oil sludge, and geological and geophysical study.

What are your expectations and goals for JCCP, the GCC, and the oil industry here in 2018?

TF JCCP is optimistic for 2018. We are being asked to provide more assistance, which is our goal. Despite some limitations on our side, we are working hard to create more opportunities in the UAE. The UAE is determined to create a better industrial base, and the region has excellent leadership to help achieve this. The UAE has the capacity to spearhead the diversification of its energy economy, and this will bring further prosperity to the country, achieving sustainability over the long term. ✖