Interview: LNG tank construction specialist Ju Jong-yeol

For the last 26 years, Ju Jong-yeol has been accumulating expertise in the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks within the Samsung C&T Construction and Engineering Group. Now he is team leader in charge of the construction of LNG tanks at the Thi Vai LNG Terminal site in Vietnam. In a recent interview, he emphasized the importance of professionalism in work and trust among people.

Vietnamese Thi Vai LNG terminal site

Becoming a master of LNG tank construction

Chief mechanical engineer Ju Jong-yeol has a total of 26 years of experience in construction, with 19 years in the field. During his early years at Samsung C&T E&C, he stayed up late at night to master blueprint. That consolidated his basic LNG knowledge and also gave him knowledge of construction management by taking charge of various on-site tasks such as piping and erecting steel frames.

However, despite all that experience, there are still difficulties to be faced in construction, so Ju always works to maintain his composure. For example, the construction site of Substation 2 at the site of the Singapore LNG Terminal was reminiscent of a battlefield. The deadline was approaching, but it kept raining for nearly 40 days straight, so Ju persuaded the client to install night lights so work could continue after dark. In the end, construction was completed as planned. Looking back, he says the construction was only achieved on time because everyone had pulled together.

The safest path is the fastest path

He believes that the fastest way to work is to follow a safe path in the right order of steps, and therefore refuses to plan something or push too hard without first understanding the process. “There’s an order to everything,” he explains, adding, “Doing things quickly without planning or preparation makes things more difficult and eventually you must go back to the beginning.”

Through his experience, Ju Jong-yeol has built up a lot of expertise in LNG construction, giving him the ability to accurately foresee potential problems and present viable solutions. This means that a lot of people come to see him and seek out his counsel. During the recent bidding process for the SLNG Phase 4A project in Singapore, the client told Samsung C&T E&C that the contract could not be signed without the presence of Chief Mechanical Engineer Ju Jong-yeol. With a reputation as the best available LNG engineer, he is highly sought after by clients.

Ju Jong-yeol believes that the safest way is the fastest way.

Construction is about people

Ju Jong-yeol emphasizes harmony and everyone should play their own part for a project completion that everyone can be satisfied with. Sometimes when colleagues make a mistake or find it difficult to do something, he steps in and takes it upon himself to finish it.

Because work is carried out by people, it’s minds and hearts that matter the most. This is why Ju Jong-yeol always strives to win the trust of the people of those he is with. He says, “I try to listen to people’s opinions, praising and respecting them where appropriate.”

When the time came for him to return home from the Singapore SLNG site, some of his staff, sad at his departure, tearfully presented him with a letter. Like this, people who have worked with Ju Jong-yeol respect his ability and like his mindset. Colleagues say he is a gem, a person who shines wherever he is, and someone they want to work with for a long time.

Ju Jong-yeol stands before an LNG tank that he and his colleagues are constructing.

“Over roughly 33 months the process of constructing an LNG tank is constantly changing,” Ju explains. “It’s like a puzzle, and when you stand before a completed tank, you feel a sense of achievement from head to toe. I enjoy the process and those moments, so I think I’m most natural and energetic when I’m on site. Now I’d say it’s become part of my life.”

Working at LNG sites by the coast, he has become fond of the sea. Now he is working with his colleagues and the sea to create another scene of construction life at the Thi Vai LNG Terminal site in Vietnam. This is one of the first such projects in Vietnam, begun when Samsung C&T and Vietnam’s Petrovietnam Technical Services Corporation made a consortium in October 2019. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of October 2022.

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