JAPEX Engages Aonex for Construction of Japan's Soma LNG Terminal

Aconex Limited, a provider of cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry, announced that Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. (JAPEX) is using the Aconex platform to manage construction of its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Project deliverables consist of a cargo ship berth, a massive storage tank and a connecting pipeline for LNG. The pipeline will transfer vaporized gas from the terminal in Soma Port to a main trunk pipeline. The estimated project value is $500 million, and the three-year delivery schedule is accelerated compared to other LNG terminal projects.

The Soma LNG terminal will store and vaporize LNG to be offloaded from large ocean-going tankers docked at the new cargo ship berth in Soma Port. The 25-mile (40-kilometer) pipeline will convey the vaporized gas from the terminal to the JAPEX Niigata-Sendai Pipeline. Plans for the terminal include measures to protect all facilities from the effects of earthquakes and tsunamis.

Project Collaboration and Support in Japanese

One of the reasons that JAPEX chose Aconex to manage the complex project is the platform’s ability to process documents, correspondence and workflows in Japanese. Collaboration on the project in Japanese is essential, because four different locations in Japan are involved ‒ Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Soma ‒ all hundreds of miles (kilometers) apart. Another key reason for the selection of Aconex was the strength of its on-the-ground support team in Japan.

It took only a month to configure the Aconex platform and get the project up and running. Training requirements were minimal, since the project participants ‒ including engineers, consultants, subcontractors, design firms, and multiple joint venture participants ‒ already had a working familiarity with Aconex. 

Document Control on a Secure, Neutral Platform

Because Aconex centralizes all project information and processes on a single, neutral platform in the cloud, JAPEX can be certain that all participants have access to and work from the most up-to-date versions of documents, yet can easily retrieve prior versions for reference. All documents and communications between project team members across organizations are visible in real time and controlled by workflows, reducing the likelihood of errors and rework which would delay the project’s aggressive delivery schedule. Document control and an audit trail of all decisions and actions are critical to mitigate risk for the joint ventures formed to deliver the project.

“With Aconex, we’ve noticed a big boost in efficiency, which results in lower costs,” said Wataru Maeda, general manager, LNG Terminal Construction Department, SOMA Project, at JAPEX. “Document searches are fast and easy, and we have evidence that everyone is on track with their portions of the project. All of this adds up to significant time and cost savings.”

Automated Workflows for Improved Efficiency

JAPEX uses the workflow management capabilities of Aconex for the alignment of internal and inter-company processes to reduce confusion and improve consistency. According to Maeda, regular reporting on the status of workflows has helped keep the project on schedule. Aconex ensures transparency across the entire project team. Those involved in specific workflows can follow their progress against plan and quickly identify bottlenecks before they create significant delays.


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