Today is a very exciting day for me. It is my first day as Chief Executive of the Energy Institute. It is a huge privilege to take on this role, particularly at such a pivotal moment for the energy sector. I feel very fortunate to inherit the incredible legacy and fantastic team built by my predecessor, Louise Kingham. It would be premature to comment on how I see the future of the EI. I have a lot to learn, and I have yet to meet the full team and Council, let alone the many individual and corporate members. However, I will share a few perspectives now and look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks and months.
In some respects, my career journey has followed a similar path to the EI. The EI was formed in 2003, through the merger of the Institute of Petroleum and the Institute of Energy. At this time, most of its members and activities were focused on oil and gas. My career also started in oil and gas, joining BP in 1999 – just after the merger with Amoco. I initially worked offshore in the North Sea and then the Algerian Sahara Desert, working on a giant gas project. I was lucky enough to move through a succession of fantastic roles, which took me to many places around the world, exposing me to a diverse set of experiences and many amazing people. I saw the boom-and-bust cycles, new technologies such as deep water, shale production and the early investments made by oil and gas players into renewables in the early 2000s. For my final few years at BP I had the privilege of leading BP into areas, such as solar and offshore wind.
The EI has evolved its focus and priorities too. From a predominantly oil-and-gas-focused membership, today the EI works with a broad range of individual and corporate members from across the energy industry, including those focused on renewables, bioenergy and CCUS (carbon capture use and storage). The EI has also expanded its reach internationally, bringing together global professionals, focused on tackling climate change and bringing universal access to energy. I passionately believe this breadth of expertise, technology and perspective is going to be critical in delivering a net-zero future. The UK and US Governments’ recent announcements of further accelerations in carbon emission reductions truly underpins the need for the energy sector to work together, and with other sectors to deliver this.
The EI has a critical role in working with its members to develop the skills and standards that will help develop new technologies, such as carbon management and demand-side management, as well as reducing emissions in conventional areas, such as fugitive methane reduction. I also believe that the EI has an important role in providing an impartial and unbiased platform to facilitate debate, thought leadership and fact-based information on the optimum pathways to achieving net zero.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to succeed in delivering the energy transition, the sector also needs to attract and retain the brightest and best talent. Talent which far better represents society across every dimension of diversity. The EI has been leading on this, through its support to POWERful Women, its Generation 2050 project and through the Young Professionals Network. There is still a long way for the industry to go and I am committed to doing as much as I can in progressing this critical area.
Our sector has always been dynamic, but the task ahead demands change at a pace we’ve never seen before. I look forward to meeting many of you over the coming weeks and months. I would love to hear different perspectives on how the EI best serves all of its members and helps the energy sector progress its next and most important chapter. Please let me know what you think!
First published on Nick’s personal blog here