In cooperation and on schedule 

​Schedule management and cooperation are the basis of a successful project, and the project planning of the Kemi bioproduct mill has proceeded precisely according to schedule.

11.9.2019
According to Jari-Pekka Johansson, Metsä Fibre’s Project Director, a successful project is based on good schedule management – regardless of the project’s size.
  
“You can manage the schedule by focusing only on what’s relevant, and for you to be able to focus on what’s relevant, you have to understand what that is,” says Johansson. He joined Metsä Fibre in early 2019 and is responsible for the ongoing pre-engineering of Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill project.
“In addition to schedule, cooperation and good communication are crucial for a project’s success. Functional communication is based on the right people having the right information at the right time,” adds Johansson.

Johansson worked in Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill project as Valmet’s representative and project manager in 2014–2017. Valmet was one of the two main equipment suppliers. Johansson has extensive experience in industrial projects both in Finland and abroad, and also in the forest industry. At Valmet, he worked in project duties for 20 years.

“It’s a project director’s job to follow closely the entire project’s progress and also to address any deviations immediately,” says Johansson, describing his work.

If a new bioproduct mill is going to be built in Kemi, the implementation model will be largely the same as in the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project. The time between the two massive projects is short, given that the Äänekoski mill started up only two years ago, in August 2017. This is why Äänekoski works so well as a basis for the planning and implementation model of the possible new mill to be built in Kemi.

“The guiding idea is that we’ll adopt all the good aspects of the Äänekoski experience at Kemi and, naturally, also consider the issues in which there’s room for improvement. And there’s always room for improvement, even though Äänekoski was a success in every respect. The experience has also given us a lot of insight into how different things work in the mill now, when it’s been in full production for two years.”
According to Jari-Pekka Johansson, Metsä Fibre’s Project Director, a successful project is based on good schedule management – regardless of the project’s size.  

“You can manage the schedule by focusing only on what’s relevant, and for you to be able to focus on what’s relevant, you have to understand what that is,” says Johansson. He joined Metsä Fibre in early 2019 and is responsible for the ongoing pre-engineering of Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill project.

“In addition to schedule, cooperation and good communication are crucial for a project’s success. Functional communication is based on the right people having the right information at the right time,” adds Johansson.

Johansson worked in Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill project as Valmet’s representative and project manager in 2014–2017. Valmet was one of the two main equipment suppliers. Johansson has extensive experience in industrial projects both in Finland and abroad, and also in the forest industry. At Valmet, he worked in project duties for 20 years.

“It’s a project director’s job to follow closely the entire project’s progress and also to address any deviations immediately,” says Johansson, describing his work.

If a new bioproduct mill is going to be built in Kemi, the implementation model will be largely the same as in the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project. The time between the two massive projects is short, given that the Äänekoski mill started up only two years ago, in August 2017. This is why Äänekoski works so well as a basis for the planning and implementation model of the possible new mill to be built in Kemi.

“The guiding idea is that we’ll adopt all the good aspects of the Äänekoski experience at Kemi and, naturally, also consider the issues in which there’s room for improvement. And there’s always room for improvement, even though Äänekoski was a success in every respect. The experience has also given us a lot of insight into how different things work in the mill now, when it’s been in full production for two years.”
Johansson says that it was great to be involved in the construction of the Äänekoski mill.

“We achieved something that hadn’t been done in Finland before. The bioproduct mill is strong proof of Finnish know-how, the company’s capacity to carry out large-scale projects and the success of project work.”
 
Professional skills and know-how

Johansson says that he was left with a positive perception of Metsä during the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project.

“The company’s operation in this large-scale project was exemplary and the people were highly skilled. Äänekoski left me feeling that I wouldn’t mind being part of this group of people,” says Johansson.

“Our project organisation has a unique combination of pulp know-how and experience in the implementation of big projects, both accumulated over a long period of time. There are also some new people involved, who bring fresh perspectives into what we’re doing,” says Johansson.

The project organisation of the Kemi project planning includes 16 people from Metsä Group. For the duration of the project planning, the group is working at the Group’s head office in Tapiola, Espoo, and a decision to invest would have the group relocating to Kemi. 

Metsä Group’s people are assisted by skilled partners in the pre-engineering project: Sweco in the environmental impact assessment and environmental permit, ÅF Pöyry as an engineering consultant, and Fimpec as the construction consultant. 

At the moment, the project planning of the Kemi project is focused on the finalisation of the environmental impact assessment (EIA), with the final report being delivered to the relevant authority in September 2019. The environmental permit application, on the other hand, will be filed during the autumn, and the permit is expected in the first half of 2020. 

Kaisu Annala, the project’s EIA and Environmental Permit Manager, says that Kemi has been subject to a variety of environmental reviews over the years, carried out by different operators, and that current state of the environment there is well known.

“We have the solid and measured environmental results of a large new mill from Äänekoski.  By inserting the results of Äänekoski in the data on Kemi’s environmental state, we arrive at the impact of a large mill.” 

Lessons from Äänekoski and data from Kemi 

The principle regarding Kemi is the same as that of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill during its planning phase: although pulp production is set to grow substantially, the new mill will be able to operate within the parameters of its predecessor’s – in other words the old pulp mill’s – environmental permit. The production of the new mill would amount to 1.5 million tonnes of pulp a year and its wood use to 7.6 million cubic metres.

“The environmental permit process for the Äänekoski mill was smooth and fast. This was possible due to a new and efficient way of operating in continuous interaction and cooperation with the authorities and other stakeholders,” says Annala.

The Kemi bioproduct mill would be world-class in terms of its energy, material and environmental efficiency. The starting point for the planning is that the environmental impact of the mill, which operates entirely without fossil fuels, is minimised by using the best available technology (BAT).
Annala nevertheless reminds us that technology alone is not enough. 

“You must also always be able to run the mill skilfully. That’s the only way to meet the tough environmental goals.”

Annala knows what she’s talking about: back in the 1990s, she worked as a consultant of Pöyry in the planning of Metsä Fibre’s Rauma pulp mill, while in the early 2000s, she was in charge of the environmental permit process of the pulp mill in Uruguay. In 2013, she also took part in the preliminary planning of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill.

“In the Kemi project, my job is to ensure that the assessments and modelling are of first-rate quality and accord with the EIA law, and that they’re carried out in good cooperation with the authorities and other stakeholders,” says Annala.

Motivated by a single shared goal

Both Annala and Juha Pesonen, Project Coordinator of the pre-engineering project, describe their roles in the large-scale industrial project as interesting and motivating. 

“I don’t think that there are that many people in Finland apart from members of Metsä Group’s personnel who would have had the chance to be involved in mill projects with a scale as immense as these more than once,” says Pesonen. 

He also has experience of several large-scale mill projects, from Uruguay to Äänekoski. Pesonen joined Metsä Group when he was finishing his studies, and has been engaged in financial administration work both at mills and the head office. 

“In projects of this kind, people tend to form tightly-knit, well-functioning teams. Everyone has a single shared goal,” says Pesonen and adds:

“I do have to admit that these huge industrial projects are great, and great motivators, too – there’s no need to come up with reasons for going to work in the morning. The goal is clear and concrete: a new mill!”

Pesonen, Johansson, Annala.jpg
Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill project contains plenty of know-how and professional skills. In the pre-engineering, the project organisation has one shared goal: to create the preconditions for the new mill’s investment decision and to build a modern bioproduct mill in Kemi.
Kaisu Annala, EIA and Environmental Permit Manager, Jari-Pekka Johansson, Project Director, and Juha Pesonen, Project Coordinator, have each participated in a number of large-scale industrial projects during the course of their careers. A single shared goal brings the team together!



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