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GE’s Jebel Ali Service Center: 15 Years of Powering the World Forward From the UAE

In 2006, GE’s Jebel Ali Service Center reached completion, with two workshops offering advanced maintenance, testing, and repair solutions for gas turbines parts and generators. The Center has been going strong ever since, serving more than 80 customers from over 35 countries, servicing equipment built by both GE and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (oOEM).

The Center, which is the only one of its kind throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), can offer the advantage of delivering faster services at competitive costs to customers in the region and beyond, while operating to the same high-quality standards found at GE’s facilities globally.

To celebrate the Center’s 15 years of service to the energy sector, GE recently hosted a delegation from the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, led by H.E. Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water, and Future Energy Sector. The delegation toured the facility and participated in a roundtable discussion on the future of energy in the UAE, with a focus on the role of hydrogen and carbon capture solutions.

“We were honored by the visit from the Ministry and appreciated the opportunity to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the Center only days ahead of the UAE’s golden jubilee,” said Joseph Anis, President & CEO for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at GE Gas Power. “Our achievements are intricately tied to the UAE’s success. The country has provided the necessary infrastructure, environment, and regulatory framework to help businesses flourish and we, in turn, are helping to drive economic diversification, the localization of industry-leading technical capabilities, and exports of high value-added services from the UAE to the world. This is a win-win situation for all, and we are grateful for the vision and support of the country’s leadership.”

OVERCOMING EVERY CHALLENGE TO BUILD A WORLD THAT WORKS

The facility’s high-caliber operations have proved crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Categorized as an essential facility offering critical services, the Center did not shut down for a single day during the pandemic.

More than 110 staff at the facility worked to ensure that equipment and components continued to be repaired and serviced efficiently. So, despite lockdowns, travel restrictions, and supply chain challenges, more than 1,100 repair jobs have been completed since February 2020, helping power plants from Peru to Bangladesh continue to provide reliable electricity to light up communities around the world.

“Almost everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in some way or the other,” said Anthony Yammine, Manager of GE’s Jebel Ali Service Center. “But for those of us here, we knew that our work was playing a key role in enabling health, connectivity, and progress. Our efforts helped ensure power was available so that hospitals could treat COVID-19 patients, so that people could remain in touch with and communicate safely with their loved ones, and so that millions around the world could continue to work and receive schooling. We’ve always known that our work is essential, but the pandemic truly brought that reality home. We are grateful for the opportunity to have made a positive difference during this period.”

LEAN SUPPORTS IMPROVEMENT

The pandemic also helped illustrate how important it is for the Center to implement lean principles.

“Lean is not about looking for quick fixes, but rather, it represents a long-term journey of continuous improvement. It is about progress,” Yammine said.

So, even as the team at the Center were implementing the most stringent pandemic precautions, they began hosting workouts termed ‘kaizen events’, with the goal of delivering better, faster outcomes for customers, partners, and GE.

For example, during one weeklong event, a team worked on improving the flow of two repair lines by connecting workstations, eliminating waste, developing standard work, and improving safety and ergonomics. As a result, they achieved a 30% reduction in the time needed from initiation to completion to repair a certain stage 1 nozzle (a critical gas turbine component) and a 65% decrease in the number of crane lifts required during the repairs process.

SUPPORTING THE ENERGY TRANSITION FOR ANOTHER 15 … OR 50 YEARS AND BEYOND

Looking ahead, as the world accelerates efforts to address climate change, renewable energy and gas power together, are positioned to play a leading role in accelerating the transition to a lower carbon energy future. Gas power can complement renewables with flexible, reliable power that has the lowest carbon emissions of traditional fossil fuel-based electricity and help stabilize the grid as more variable sources of solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources are added to the energy mix. The recently released GE white paper, Pathways to Faster Decarbonization in the GCC’s Power Sector, describes in greater detail how gas power and renewables can accelerate the energy transition in the region.

With its efficient, high quality services, the Center is well-placed to support the crucial role that gas power will play in the energy transition over the coming years as well.

“GE and our team at the Jebel Ali Service Center are committed to playing a strong role in the development of the power sector in the UAE and beyond,” said Anis. “We intend to continue working with various stakeholders across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, to keep driving the energy transition forward.”

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