Tokyo Gas is the largest natural gas company in Japan, serving over 9.4 million customers in its core gas business. Anticipating the deregulation of the gas market in Japan, Tokyo Gas diversified its business by forming subsidiaries to pursue several related industries, such as power generation, LNG shipping, and natural gas production. To support the newly deregulated market, Tokyo Gas needed to provide a Gas Pipeline Management System (GPMS) to allow shippers to schedule the delivery of gas over its network. The system needed to be built with the flexibility required to adapt quickly to changes in the market and seize the opportunities for new services. Tokyo Gas called upon the knowledge and expertise of Blackstone Technology Group to implement a GPMS solution.
At the project’s inception, the biggest challenge came from the lack of clarity on what form the market would take; requirements changed quickly as regulatory requirements and business objectives evolved. Blackstone had to create a GPMS solution that had flexibility in supporting rapid change requests, a well-designed architecture to support long-term business goals, a focused initial version with critical features, and an aggressive timeline with a fixed budget. All of these challenges were further heightened by those presented by the obvious language and cultural differences between the teams.
With a limited scope and timeframe, Blackstone quickly identified the key short-term features and the architectural considerations that would give the application the flexibility to meet future demands in an unpredictable and ever evolving market.
The GPMS solution provided Tokyo Gas with a full-featured system for scheduling, delivering and invoicing transportation services, consisting of three modules:
- Administration – focuses on entering the client data and location data necessary to model the pipeline network and the participants
- Nominations and Confirmation – involves all of the functionality needed to schedule and confirm the delivery of equity gas and third-party gas in the system
- Imbalances and Invoicing – handles all of the settlement and reporting needs at the conclusion of the gas-day cycle and within a billing month
Blackstone also assisted with end-user training and support activities and it continues to provide ongoing application and system support currently. Our subject-matter experts remain committed to assisting Tokyo Gas in identifying future needs and requirements for future versions of the application.
Blackstone’s work with Tokyo Gas has resulted in a number of remarkable achievements related to the longevity and complexity of the engagement. The solution was delivered on time, despite the acceleration of deployment schedule by our client. The application incurred widespread approval and positive feedback from within Tokyo Gas, their major customers, and the governing regulatory body. The regulatory body has even considered adopting the application as the national standard, possibly marking the first-ever national standardization on a single GPMS platform for a deregulated market. Blackstone, which is the first ever American IT consulting firm hired by Tokyo Gas, has already been retained to develop the next two versions of the application. There is no better example of how Blackstone’s unwavering commitment to all of its clients can ensure success throughout the evolution of changing marketplace dynamics, than that of Tokyo Gas.