The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it ― Samuel Johnson

Louise Kingham OBE FEI EI Chief Executive

Louise Kingham OBE FEI
EI Chief Executive

Why is it that, in this information age we live in, the truth seems ever harder to get to? The facts often seem to either not exist or be buried ever deeper under layers of rhetoric and commentary . My views are probably a little tested after weeks of election campaigning in the UK, but nevertheless I think the point still stands.

So if we still think an evidence base is important – as I and other EI members do –  it’s essential that we step up and provide good quality, clear information that can be trusted. We also need to explain what the information was produced for and how we expect it might be used. This in turn reminds the recipients of the EI’s role as an independent professional society and source of trusted expertise – which is probably not called upon enough.

Two recent contributions from the EI have only just been published – the 2015  Retail Marketing Survey and the second G9 Incident Data Report for safety performance in the offshore wind industry.  Both reports contain a wealth of factual data as well as statistics;  both are designed to offer an evidence base for the state of play in two very different parts of the energy industry – one focusing on the health of a sector, the other on the health of the people within it.

So let me make a suggestion. If you are in need of trusted and useful information think about whether the EI could provide it for you.

The EI Knowledge Service provides a central resource for energy knowledge and information – find out more by visiting knowledge.energyinst.org

Energy and war – intertwined then and now

Ian Marchant

Ian Marchant FEI, President

Given that it is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, there has been a lot of focus on 1914. Whilst our own EI century seems such a small event in comparison to the Great War, it does provide an interesting context.

The August 1914 issue of Petroleum Review said “The review has never taken sides politically…yet it always recognises the incalculable harm which must result to the petroleum industry from such periods of unrest between nations. We can only hope that such counsels will prevail as will render the recourse to arms quite outside the question.”

Of course these hopes were dashed soon after. The same article goes on to say: ‘It is at such times as these that interest in the petroleum industry sinks into insignificance”. This was also inaccurate.  As Daniel Yergin says in his major book on the oil industry, The Prize, “For in the course of the first World War, oil and the internal combustion engine changed every dimension of warfare, even the very meaning of mobility on land and sea and in the air”.

Whether it was Royal Navy ships recently converted to oil, taxis being mobilised to defend Paris or the introduction of tanks and aircraft to the battlefield, combat was radically changed in the years after 1914. Indeed by 1916 shortage of oil was starting to emerge as a major strategic theme. At the end of the war Lord Curzon declared “The Allied cause had floated to victory upon a wave of oil.”

Military matters and energy have remained intertwined ever since as we are reminded on a regular basis, and I suspect they will be for the next hundred years as well.