I am an energy professional. Born and raised in Australia, and based in Stockholm since 2009, I have worked and studied in South Africa, the US, China, Singapore and the UK, and in 2015 pursued an opportunity in Adelaide, Australia.
I have 25 years of experience in the global energy industry, including oil exploration, production and refining, alternative energy, power, coal, gas and carbon trading.
From 2009 to 2014 I worked for NASDAQ OMX, first as a business developer and then as Growth Director for the Commodities business. Prior to this I was with BP Trading in Singapore where I worked on strategy and origination, including a coal seam methane project and leading BP’s efforts to develop an eastern Carbon book based around exposures in the New Zealand and Australian emissions trading systems. I have a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Adelaide University and a MBA from the University of Virginia.
In 2015 I left NASDAQ OMX, and have been exploring diverse opportunities. In conjunction with Waterfind, an Australian water broker I established ElectrAg, a company which was assessing the potential to retail electricity to Australian agriculture in conjunction with demand management technology, with the ambition to save large irrigators up to 20% off their power bills. The joint venture was wound down in November, 2015.
In 2016 I have been assisting my wife, Jessica Nilsson Williams, in growing Mundus International. Mundus has brought innovation to the diplomatic community in Stockholm, creating an independent source of English-language news and analysis in Sweden. Mundus is now also marketing its products to business expats.
Currently I am also evaluating the possibilities for DME as a replacement for diesel in the Swedish market.
Latin: Renovo – to renew, restore or revive.
Renovamus – we renew.
For over 20 years the world has focused on whether to change or not. Many believe that the Rubicon was crossed in Paris on December 12, 2015. On that date, world leaders committed to the idea that the world would change. It is now for the world’s citizens to act. Collectively we shall renew.
There are a very large number of blogs, opinions pieces and even university courses about what should happen, and the technologies that could enable breakthrough. But there are manifestly fewer sources of information about how people are going to make it happen. This blog is for those who are thinking about finding themselves a job or a business that they want to be part of the solution. If you are thinking about the questions below, then it may be for you.
- When is the right time to leap?
- What sector should I participate in?
- Can I make myself wealthy with a change of career?
- Will I make myself poor if I take on too much risk?
- What are the most attractive markets?
- Who should I partner with?
Opportunity and Risk
The energy industry is one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of the world economy. Opportunity is everywhere. But so is risk … What drives decisions about where to place resources is typically the perception of the relative balance of each of these two factors.
A decade ago a friend of mine at BP moved into the company’s new Alternative Energy division, to a senior role looking at Carbon Capture & Storage. This was a red-hot project in BP, backed by Lord Browne, and seemingly with the whole resources of the company ready to back it. The technology wasn’t new, ‘just a reconfiguration of existing technology’, and the British government seemed to be behind the idea, which would safeguard the future for coal. A couple of years later I asked the friend why things were going so slowly. As it turned out, CCS plants were very expensive to build, and government subsidies not forthcoming. What was the ‘takeaway’ from this, as the company liked to put it? Its hard to generalise, but it demonstrated to me that even projects with known technology and huge strategic merit could, in the final outcome, prove unviable. And so, my friend’s golden career opportunity never eventuated as he has hoped.
A few years later unconventional gas became the ‘next big thing’. Santos, the only company of any scale in Adelaide, the city where I grew up, decided to invest in coal seam methane. It found buyers who were prepared to agree to its price formula and spent 4 years building out the multibillion dollar investment. The project seemed well-managed, and the company was the toast of the town. But by 2015, with just a few months left until gas began to flow, the oil price plummeted. And so did the company’s shares – down 2/3rd. The lessons? Many, but key amongst these for me was exposure to the duration between the investment decision and when revenues started.
Along the way I have been personally involved with dozens of other projects, big and small, most of which never got to see the light of day, but some made it through. I’ve spent years looking into these, which was a fair thing to do when I was drawing a salary and my employer was taking the risk. But now its time to achieve. I wouldn’t want to look back in 10 years on a succession of decent ideas that didn’t go anywhere, bad ideas that shouldn’t have, but did, or great ideas that got built, but never made a profit. I am searching for diamonds to polish and benefit from their success. In doing so I evaluate hundreds of stories and issues, trying to glean the lessons and assess risk and opportunity. I share my conclusions with you on this blog.