The Fascination of Plant Engineering

The plants which engineering companies construct are facilities which create crucial products that support the very roots of society and the economy, products such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, nonferrous metals and sources of energy like oil and gas.
A single project for the construction of a large-scale plant supports the economic development of a nation and the countries around it, and can have a significant impact on societies, their energy policies and economies. On the other hand, the importance of addressing global warming and other environmental issues resulting from increased energy consumption continues to grow. As an engineering company, JGC promotes the reduction of various environmental burdens in order to help address these issues.
We can say with confidence that contributing, through plant engineering, to development on a global scale and finding solutions to these issues is one of the highest undertakings anyone can hope to be involved with. Here, we will introduce the fascination of plant engineering from three different perspectives.

The Whole World Is Our Stage

Places where energy plants for oil and gas are constructed are extremely diverse, and include urban areas in the regions where their products are consumed, blazing hot deserts with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see, tropical rainforests with heavy precipitation, arctic regions virtually devoid of life, and the middle of the ocean, hundreds of kilometers from the nearest land.
Overseas projects account for over 80% of JGC's overall sales, and the company undertakes them on a truly global stage. Sometimes our employees find themselves discussing projects of international scope with large-scale clients, at other times they may be in charge of lengthy, tough and complicated negotiations with European vendors, and at yet other times they may be using gestures and basic knowledge of the local language to direct workers on the scene. There is surely no other work in which one can get to work with so many different kinds of partners all over the world.
As a pioneer of plant engineering in Japan, JGC has been established hubs in the priority regions of the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, North America and Europe since the beginning, and has completed more than 20,000 projects in 80 countries. Even in situations where the way of thinking may be different from that of Japan, we have never given up. Rather, we have always managed to overcome every problem and achieve results that have exceeded our clients' expectations. We have earned trust, remained globally competitive, and have continually expanded our business worldwide.
JGC's business knows no borders. We go beyond considerations of nation and culture to find the best possible way and make real the plants that our clients require. For JGC, plant engineering is all about dynamically connecting technologies, people and products from all over world.

On Scales Beyond Imagination

A plant is a complex and massive facility created from vast amounts of equipment and materials. It is not going too far to say that they are the largest and most complex building structures yet created by humankind. Naturally, the costs and human resources involved in building such structures are extraordinary. For the construction of a large energy plant, the number of people and amounts of materials and money involved almost defies imagination: hundreds of thousands construction workers, hundreds of thousands of tons of metal, and a construction costs running into several hundred billion yen. Such a plant construction site is truly a sight to see. Over a vast area encompassing several square kilometers, a gigantic plant, in the midst of which a human will only be visible as a tiny dot, comes into being. The whole space is crammed with pipes large enough for an adult to stand up in and machines and equipment as big as buildings, some dozens of meters high.
Winning an order for a large project like that is the fruit of many years' hard work by many employees. It requires the formation of a project team several hundred strong just to create an estimate, and finalizing the plans for the vast plant can take over a year. Once the order is confirmed, a project can take three to five years to complete, from drawing up thousands of blueprints, to procuring materials, to construction and commissioning, and finally, delivery of the operational facility.
Constructing a plant also involves building an exclusive port nearby to bring in the huge amounts of materials required, residential facilities for the workers to stay in etc. The project is like building an entire town. Setting, and keeping, in motion a large number of people and vast amounts of materials and money to construct a plant of almost unimaginable size is one of the most fascinating aspects of plant engineering.

Human Abilities Which Can Be Honed

Because an engineering company is not a manufacturer, it does not possess factories or products. Also, since it is not a general trading company, it does not have sources of funding, a network of branches and so on.
Yet, as prime contractors, we engineering companies play the central role in the realization of giant plants which represent the culmination of a vast range of specialized skills and knowledge. How is that possible? We are a group of professionals with skills and knowledge related to project management and a wide range of engineering fields, that develops optimal solutions by organically connecting management resources such as people, materials, time, and money with technology and information. There are many problems associated with plant construction, such as increases in procurement and construction costs due to fluctuations in the global economy, manufacturing defects in equipment and materials, transportation issues, changes in clients' requirements, and national and cultural differences. Moreover, depending on construction location, materials, intended products and so on, plants can be completely different from one another. Indeed, no two projects are alike. Sometimes, pre-existing project management skills and professional knowledge in the field of engineering are not enough alone to overcome these problems and complete the project. Creating a one-of-a-kind plant can only be achieved by draw on large numbers of players worldwide, each with their own sets of values and interests, and coming up with new ideas which go beyond existing techniques and know-how. In this regard, personnel with the ability to go back to basics and build relationships of mutual understanding are indispensable.
We can become stronger precisely because we must face and overcome difficulties that may exceed our current skills and knowledge. So, in place of having product lines to sell, we must continuously tackle new challenges and better ourselves, and this providing of such a wonderful environment in which people can improve their abilities is yet another fascinating aspect of plant engineering.