Nghi Son Refinery Operation Division
Addressing Asia’s Need for Energy
As Asia’s impact on the global economy continues to increase, so too does its need for energy. To satisfy this demand, a massive project involving three Asian countries is underway: crude oil from Kuwait is refined in Vietnam using technology and expertise from Japan. At the Nghi Son Refinery 200 miles south of Hanoi, Yuichi Yamada negotiates language and cultural barriers to ensure the operation runs smoothly. The experience he cultivates will one day benefit similar operations in other Asian countries, because our challenge is just beginning.
the Inexperienced into Experts
“Our job is to ensure that operations are always safe,” declares Yuichi Yamada, Advisory Operator Shift Supervisor at Vietnam’s Nghi Son Refinery. Responsible for operational support and administration, he’s been involved in the project since its inception. One of his greatest challenges at Nghi Son involves human resources: because there is only one other refinery in Vietnam, most locally hired employees begin without experience. Yuichi works tirelessly to train and guide his team – to transform them into operational experts prepared for any eventuality.
I Don’t Understand
Communication was another challenge Yuichi faced. “When the assignment began, my English left much to be desired,” he admits. His inability to make himself clearly understood resulted in friction between him and the Vietnamese employees. So Yuichi studied English with renewed intensity. Additionally, he began expressing himself through actions and examples when words failed him. Before long, a new level of trust and understanding was established – one that Yuichi continues to nurture.
The Nghi Son Refinery is essential to Vietnam’s future, and Yuichi Yamada is honored to play a key role in its development. “The greatest satisfaction I felt was when the facilities first went on line,” he relates. Because it was a new refinery, operational and administrative protocols had not been firmly established; there was no precedent when certain problems arose. Every predicament Yuichi and his team faced had to be solved individually, often through trial and error. Now, he is looking for a Vietnamese successor, someone who will keep the refinery running smoothly and safely after he moves on to his next adventure.
During his two and a half years in Vietnam, Yuichi Yamada gained a new appreciation for Japanese precision and technology, as well as a deeper understanding of the importance of communication in teamwork. “I would very much like to use the experience I cultivated at Nghi Son at new refineries in other parts of Asia,” he says enthusiastically. “I want to contribute to the growth in Asia using Japanese technical capabilities.”