SIEW 2018: 5Qs with Kazuhisa Yano, Chief Asia Representative, Osaka Gas

Kazuhisa Yano
Chief Asia Representative
By Osaka Gas | 25 October 2018

Mr. Kazuhisa Yano is Executive Chairman of Osaka Gas Singapore Pte. Ltd., an affiliate of the Daigas Group, a leading Japanese corporate group energy business. He assumed his current responsibilities on 1 April 2018.

Prior to the present position, Yano experienced his senior executive assignments at Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. as Heads of the Commercial & Industrial Energy Business Unit (April 2016 – March 2018) and the Energy Resources & International Business Unit (April 2014 – March 2016).

Yano experienced other executive positions in the fields of corporate communications, commercial and industrial energy marketing, and regional networking, between June 2007 and March 2014.

In the fields of international energy business, Yano in his previous responsibilities worked as manager for business planning and development as well as for asset management both within Osaka Gas and its power business subsidiary, Gas & Power Investment, between 2000 and 2007.

After joining the company in 1981, Yano was assigned in marketing divisions for almost 20 years, covering activities ranging from residential to commercial and industrial business planning and sales.

Yano was educated at Kobe University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also did academic work at University of Reading in the UK as a graduate student (MSc in Urban Land Appraisal) and as a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

Yano was born in November 1958.

  1. Can you share more about your newly launched group brand, Daigas Group?

    Our new group brand is Osaka Gas Group’s expression of its commitment to being an innovative energy and service company for its customers. This was set out in the Long-Term Management Vision 2030 announced in March 2017 under the new policy, “Going Forward, Beyond Borders”. With the new group brand, we are open to various global opportunities beyond gas, such as power – including renewables among other areas of business – by going beyond business and corporate borders and by exceeding our customer expectations. Daigas stands for our commitment to being “Dynamic and Innovative” to achieve our vision while being “Genuine and Studious” in finding out the true needs of customers and offering inventive solutions to enhance their life and business. This has been practised by the Group for over 110 years.

  2. What role can Osaka Gas play to support ASEAN’s low-carbon goals?

    As a gas distributor in Japan, Osaka Gas has expanded its business while meeting Japan’s high environmental standards. One of the measures to achieve this is a fuel switch to natural gas, which emits less carbon than other types of fossil fuels. We are contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions in ASEAN by promoting this fuel switch and introducing renewable technologies. We offer energy saving solutions for industrial customers with technologies such as cogeneration systems and highly fuel-efficient custom-made furnaces and burners. Osaka Gas has also been developing renewable-related technologies, putting them into practical application, and investing in and operating renewable projects such as photovoltaic (PV) and wind power generation across Daigas Group. We have already deployed such technologies in ASEAN.  Most recently in Thailand, we commercialised a plant that produces high-purity biomethane from biogas with a 99 per cent methane recovery rate. With our energy business solutions and technologies, Osaka Gas can play a role in reducing the environmental footprint of ASEAN countries.

  3. As Southeast Asia’s demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) continues to increase, what investment opportunities do you see for the region?

    With the continued increase in gas demand and a decrease in indigenous gas production, the primary investment opportunities we see in Southeast Asia are LNG receiving terminals. Osaka Gas is well experienced in and capable of investing in any part of the LNG value chain. We have acquired various assets from upstream to downstream, including LNG terminals for both regasification and liquefaction, power plants, and energy saving equipment for end users. Our vision, however, is not to be a mere investor, but to be an active contributor to projects. Osaka Gas is well-equipped to bring our expertise into projects such as the utilisation of LNG’s cold energy within terminals for cryogenic power generation. This reduces the demand for power purchased from the grid and, as a result, lowers both the environmental impact and the operational cost of the terminal. Through our investments in energy assets and projects, we aim to integrate the entire energy value chain with our areas of expertise. One idea is to bring LNG from Australia and Papua New Guinea, where we have upstream equity, to projects in Southeast Asia that we are a part of. Moving down the value chain, we can also be part of the transportation of LNG with our fleet of LNG carriers – we will have a 10th LNG carrier within the year – as well as our expertise in operating coastal vessels and LNG lorry facilities to meet the needs of customers beyond the reach of pipelines.

  4. What initiatives can Osaka Gas embark on to meet the growing interdependence of gas markets in Southeast Asia?

    To serve the Southeast Asian market, which is dotted with small islands and rural communities that are not connected by pipelines, Osaka Gas hopes to optimise the LNG value chain. For instance, we may be able to apply our technical know-how of coastal tanker operations and two-port unloading to streamline LNG delivery and support efficient energy use at end-user sites through cooperation with gas distributors. In order to carry out those operations, it is crucial to lower entry barriers throughout the value chain, for instance, through the implementation of an LNG trading market. An open access policy for existing LNG terminals and the deregulation of retail markets would make it possible to optimise LNG supply chains within the region. Such a business environment might also promote the development of small gas fields in Indonesia to improve supply within the region.

  5. What are your thoughts on the SIEW 2018 theme “Transforming Energy: Invest, Innovate, Integrate”?
    As we celebrate the 11th edition of SIEW, this is a very good theme to be discussed, considering the increasing importance of cooperative relationships beyond conventional frameworks to invest, innovate, and integrate for energy development, especially in Southeast Asia. Cooperation among companies, industries, and countries will make it easier to identify issues through their different perspectives and come up with solutions worked out among all stakeholders comprehensively along the whole value chain. It is vital to take a cooperative approach when trying to achieve goals set under an environmental policy. Osaka Gas can contribute to such goals by investing and participating in joint projects with partners and bringing in our expertise in the natural gas value chain. This could include LNG terminal design, for example, which should not be limited to LNG handling purposes, but should have a power plant that combines renewables and plant heat utilisation. The challenge for ASEAN is the varied development phases among member countries; some have financing issues while others have regulation issues. Removing these barriers and obstacles will further integrate energy markets in the region

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