Since being assigned to Indonesia, Tomomasa Nishimura has made a habit of checking his mobile phone every night before going to bed. Only after confirming that there are no more urgent messages or e-mails can he finally relax and retire for the day.
In March 2017, Nishimura was appointed President Director of Donggi-Senoro LNG (DSLNG), which is 45% owned by MC. With an annual production capacity of just two million tons, DSLNG is a relatively small player in the global LNG market, but two aspects of the company are worthy of note. One is that it is the first LNG project to be operated by MC, significant because global LNG businesses have traditionally been led by the oil majors. The other is that it is multinational joint venture, involving four companies from three countries, namely MC, Indonesia's state-owned Pertamina Energy Services Pte. Ltd. (PES) and PT. Medco LNG Indonesia (MLI), and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS).
Some of DSLNG's employees have experience working at oil majors, while others were hired locally or, like Nishimura, dispatched from one of the parent companies. With so many different nationalities, backgrounds, and languages to contend with, even the smallest misunderstandings can hamper operations, so it's only natural that Nishimura might be kept on edge by a constantly ringing phone. "I'm always thinking about how we can create stronger unity in our team," he says.
Nishimura has devoted his 30-year career at MC to the energy business, but one of his most unforgettable experiences occurred when he was still a rookie, working on an LNG import project at a power plant in rural China. As the very first tanker approached the port, a nervous Nishimura noticed that many of the local residents had gathered to welcome it, smiling and waving as it docked. "I hadn't expected that at all," he recalls. "It was a wonderful surprise, and it made me realize just how important and appreciated our work was."
Now that he's president of DSLNG, Nishimura is mindful of creating a flexible but resilient company, one where employees can enjoy their work without feeling pressured by upper management. "It's about taking our jobs very seriously and being honest with one another," he says.
Without that approach, DSLNG would never be able to help supply markets with a stable supply of energy, the very lifeblood of industry and society. For Nishimura, the image of those customers waving from the docks in China has been a constant reminder of that.
This article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of May 7, 2017.