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Osaka Gas is a leading energy supplier in Japan with a history going back more than one century. Founded in 1897 and beginning operations in 1905, the company serves 7 million natural gas customers in the Kansai Region of central Japan, including the urban centers of Osaka, where the company is headquartered, Kobe and Kyoto. It is the second largest domestic supplier, accounting for 24% of all natural gas sold in Japan.
Building on gas supply business, its traditional foundation, Osaka Gas has evolved into a multi-energy provider, with LPG, electricity and other energy-related products and services. Through a range of affiliated enterprises, the company also has become active in non-energy business fields such as materials, real estate and IT. Today, the company's businesses can be categorized broadly into domestic energy, environmental and non-energy, and international energy.
Osaka Gas has developed a strong international focus on all sectors of the oil and gas industry: upstream—exploration and production; midstream—transportation, storage, and wholesale marketing to other utilities; and downstream—distribution and marketing to residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
The Osaka Gas Group consists of 140 affiliated companies employing over 20,000 people.
The gas business is the core business of Osaka Gas. The company procures , supplies and markets gas, and also provides a wide array of services including the sales and installation of house pipes and gas appliances.
Osaka Gas supplies natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers, as well as entities that provide district heating and cooling.
Osaka Gas is a key player in Japan's LNG market, importing about 7.9 million tons per year, or 9% of Japan's total LNG imports, from the Middle East (Qatar and Oman), Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei), Australia and Russia. Stakes are owned in six LNG carriers
Osaka Gas has constructed and currently operates two world-class LNG receiving terminals. The Himeji terminal has six LNG vaporizers capable of processing 600 tons/hour and eight LNG tanks with capacities of 740,000 cubic meters. The Senboku terminal has 21 LNG vaporizers with 1,780 tons/hour capacities and 20 LNG tanks that each holds 1.8 million cubic meters. The company also provides consulting to international companies involved with LNG terminals and LNG cold utilization.
Osaka Gas manages an extensive gas transmission and distribution network spanning over 60,000 km. Notable features of its supply system include integrated central-control monitoring, advanced safety monitoring for rapid dispatch of work crews, and high preparedness for earthquakes and other potential disasters.
The network starts at the Himeji and Senboku receiving terminals in Osaka Bay, branches out to the cities and environs of Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. It continues northeast as far as the east coast of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. The network is undergoing a 145 km expansion, which includes the Mie-Shiga gas pipeline to connect the Chubu Electric Yokkaichi Terminal on Ise Bay in Mie Prefecture in January 2014, and the Himeji-Okayama gas pipeline to Okayama City in April 2014.
Osaka Gas provides business customers with a range of products and services including gas as a heat source for industrial manufacturing, gas cogeneration systems as energy-efficient power and temperature control sources for commercial installations and gas kitchen equipment for public and medical facilities. The company is focused on serving the specific needs of customers in various sectors with tailor-made services and appliances, creating new demand and promoting the expanded use and application of natural gas.
Sales growth is being driven by customized solutions developed by experienced sales engineers for the commercial and industrial market sectors. Expanding the capacity of gas-fired air conditioners (gas heat pump and absorption type), for example, has contributed to increased sales since 2004. Also, Osaka Gas has played a pioneering role in helping Japanese industry to adopt energy-efficient gas cogeneration systems that the company has been installing on a steady basis since 2003.
Osaka Gas enhances the comfort of residential customers by providing a wide range of gas appliances, including branded products, through showrooms and sales & service agents. Residential products of particular note include ECOWILL cogeneration systems and ENE-FARM fuel cells, along with built-in gas stoves, floor-heating systems, gas fan heaters, bath heating/dryer units and mist saunas. Osaka Gas-brand products are manufactured by a third party/third parties and delivered to customers through a network of some 340 distributors. Residential sales of Osaka Gas-brand products amounted to JPY 104 billion (USD 1.1 billion) in the fiscal year ending in March 2013.
The first ECOWILL residential cogeneration system, offering 26% electrical efficiency and compact size, launched in 2003. The ENE-FARM PEFC residential fuel cell, boasting higher efficiency at 35%, debuted in 2009. A newer fuel cell, the ENE-FARM SOFC launched in 2012, achieves the highest electrical efficiency to date at 45%
Osaka Gas services some 20 million cases annually. This includes customer calls, safety inspections, servicing and sales of appliances, and other services delivered to the company's 7 million residential customers. Centralized call centers in Osaka and Kyoto, staffed by nearly 300 operators, handle an average of 3.7 million customer calls per year. Customer satisfaction, a primary focus of the company, is steadily strengthened through initiatives such as the "C-Voice" (customer voice) database, which systematically collects customer opinions to identify and respond to comments, compliments and complaints. Also, some 32,000 subjects are polled in an annual survey to regularly gauge service quality and customer satisfaction.
Osaka Gas's research and development program encompassed a staff of over 230 people and an annual expenditure of JPY 8,856 million as of March 2013. Work is focused on a number of key areas are:
Osaka Gas regards R&D as the most effective means to differentiate itself with competitors and to strengthen its competitiveness. To meet this aim, we are investing resources in fields such as energy and the environment.
The company has developed an extensive range of innovative LNG midstream technologies for tanker-to-terminal transfer, storage, vaporization and reliquefaction, operation control systems and power generation:
Advanced technologies also are being developed in Japan for pipeline management, including:
Osaka Gas, Japan's first DHC operator, opened its first plant in 1970. Today, the company has plants in more than 25 locations, including co-owned facilities. Most plants have cogeneration systems that supply power to adjacent buildings in their surrounding districts. Taking great care to ensure that nothing goes to waste, the company harnesses unused energy to provide heat for garbage/sludge incineration, heating river water and pressure for gas supply.
Osaka Gas Group is engaged in a number of other power-generation projects worldwide. In Japan, these include gas, coal, wind and solar plants launched between 1999 and 2013, most as wholly owned businesses of Osaka Gas. These facilities, totaling 15 locations in all, have a combined production capacity of 1,774.5 megawatts. Internationally, the group operates another eight generation projects producing 6,643 megawatts in the USA, Spain, Australia and the UAE. Osaka Gas has stakes ranging from 10 to 50% in these operations, which variously generate power using gas, oil, and wind.
Osaka Gas is also engaged in a power marketing business through ENNET, a joint venture company formed together with Tokyo Gas and NTT, Japan's largest telecommunications holding company. Established in 2000, ENNET is now the largest independent power marketer in Japan.
Osaka Gas has been stabilizing its procurement of key resources by taking stakes in a number of international assets since 2004. Upstream assets in Indonesia, Australia, Norway, Oman, Canada, USA and Papua New Guinea involve resources including LNG, oil, coal bed methane, shale gas, shale gas/liquids and condensate/gas. Current operations range from development to actual production. Stakes in midstream- and downstream assets are owned in the USA, Canada, Spain, Australia and the UAE. The company has invested in independent power producer (IPP) projects, LNG terminals and solar power acquired between 2004 and 2012.
Osaka Gas Group powers continuous advancement in consumer life and business.
Osaka Gas Group is committed to creating value primarily for customers, as well as for society, shareholders, and employees.
In March 2009, Osaka Gas formulated the "Field of Dreams 2020" long-term management vision and medium-term business plan, which illustrate the company's vision for 2020. Leveraging the tangible and intangible assets accumulated throughout its long history, the company will act in accordance with this plan as it strives to innovate its business structure from a long-term perspective.
Osaka Gas aims to grow into a strong global energy and environmental business group with its operations based in three pivotal business fields; domestic energy, international energy and environment and non-energy. To this end, the company is undergoing a transition in the ratio of relative weighting between the three sectors from 5:1:2 in 2008 to 2:1:1 by 2020.
This will be accomplished by developing greater business depth and breadth for existing and new businesses, including enhancing synergies among the company's main business sectors.
International energy businesses will be expanded by leveraging the company's special knowhow and skills in the areas of exploration and production, transport, LNG terminals, midstream/downstream assets including pipelines, local distribution company (LDC) and independent power production (IPP) projects, and marketing and renewable energy. Osaka Gas also expects to further develop its natural gas, LPG and power businesses abroad.
In energy and non-energy businesses, the key focus will be to make these commercial undertakings more environmentally friendly.
Domestic business will remain at the core. Osaka Gas aims to grow its gas and energy businesses in the Kansai Region by enhancing the quality of products, services and safety. Businesses involving real estate and property, IT and materials are also planned for expansion.
This will require a total investment of JPY 1.5 trillion until 2020, including JPY 7 billion to upgrade existing businesses and JPY 8 billion to develop new businesses. Investments completed as of 2013 include JPY 300 billion to upgrade domestic energy and environment/non-energy businesses, and 400 billion JPY for new business in all three sectors combined, leaving an additional JPY 800 billion in planned investments up to 2020.
Growth also will be stimulated by interconnecting the core business sectors to maximize potential and minimize risk.