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Koichi Matsumoto, ERP

Tokyo, Japan

Job at time of interview: Assistant Manager of Management Accounting, Tokyo Gas

 

CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR CURRENT JOB?

I work in the finance department of Tokyo Gas, and am in charge of making an annual program of LNG swaps and weather derivatives. I am also responsible for management accounting in the domestic gas and power sectors. More specifically, I monitor price risk between the tariff and the purchasing cost of LNG, and the sales-volume risk of weather impacts. Since our department has a corporate planning function, my role can be quite broad and unique.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO THE ENERGY INDUSTRY?

After graduating Kyoto University, I joined my current company, the largest natural gas company in Japan. During the first few years I was engaged in program management for a variety of in-house IT projects; meanwhile, I managed to complete my Master of Finance in Waseda University Graduate School of Finance, Accounting and Law. Shortly afterwards, I had the opportunity to transfer to the financial department.

HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE ERP DESIGNATION, AND WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SIT FOR THE ERP EXAM?

When I had to plan a hedging transaction for the first time at my job, I became keenly aware of the importance of a practical understanding of energy derivatives. The gap I experienced between the practical and academic world for energy derivatives was huge. After I found out about the ERP, I chose to study for it in order to enhance my comprehension. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the energy industry.

IN WHAT WAYS DOES THE ERP HELP YOU WITH YOUR DAILY RESPONSIBILITIES?

The ERP program has provided me with a comprehensive grasp of the global gas and LNG market. Since the power disaster in Fukushima, Japan in 2011, wholesale power sales in thermal have become an increasingly important source of revenue for our company. In the meantime, the risk of demand fluctuations also started to rise, which granted us little choice but to increase spot LNG procurement. Risk management for physical and financial fluctuations, which had previously been limited by long-term contracts, therefore became more complex and market-driven. I believe that it was through studying for the mechanisms of gas and LNG markets covered by the ERP program that I was able to further ensure the accuracy and smoothness of the required work. Additionally, the ERP program introduced me to a number of good case studies of post-deregulated energy markets. Today, Japan is still facing the liberalization of the retail market and the abolishment of rate regulation. Many utility companies (power, gas, oil companies, etc) are trying to dive into the gas and power business, and new opportunities are emerging. Our company is no exception and is getting ready to enter the electricity retail market. Moreover, we are becoming more and more closely involved in asset optimization and trading (AO&T) in the medium-to long-term. The ERP has truly helped us ease through such a transition, thanks to the program’s case studies of both electricity market designs and international energy companies that have experienced similar liberalization processes in the past.

HOW HAS THE ERP CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR CAREER?

My network has expanded because of the ERP study group I joined, which currently consists of quantitative analysts, electricity traders, system engineers, and risk managers. (Four of them just registered for the exam taking place next fall!) People in this group are not only great inspirations but also my best mentors. My next goal is to broaden my connection to other ERP communities in the near future.

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