Executive Interviews

Peter Godfrey, Managing Director (APAC), Energy Institute

28 September 2016

How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?

I entered the industry from a pretty unusual route having commenced my career as a pilot first in the RAF and then with Bristow Helicopters in the early stages of the North Sea oil boom. I joined BP in the early eighties as the company’s aircraft operations superintendent and diversified into the oil industry proper from there.

Aside from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?

A recognition that the oil and gas industry is no longer part of a monolithic industry dominated by a handful of international oil majors that have dominion over the global supply chain. The energy industry is, I believe, at early stages of a fundamental transition to a cleaner, more diverse and more efficient structure where these aspects will be rewarded far more than the profits made from the discontinuities and inefficiencies of the past.   

Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?

As the newly appointed senior representative of the UK Energy Institute here in Singapore, I believe that there is massive opportunity to shape the future of the energy industry through active dialogue and shared best practice on a more global basis. As the world struggles with the oft-competing pressures placed upon us all relating to economic well being and environmental stewardship, there is a need to recognise that there are no such things as “one size fits all solutions’ to effective utilisation of our energy resources. Only through active dialogue will we begin to re-structure energy enterprise in ways that makes sense fro the generations to come.   

If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?

Regrettably, the availability of energy resources, as with other fundamental resource requirements, are not available on a commonly shared basis. Access to resources has therefore become the most fundamental cause of geopolitical conflict on both a regional and global basis. Whilst not a complete fix for this problem, I’d like to see energy systems that take more account of the relative availability of energy resources across the world in a way that encourages more efficient localised utilisation.  

What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months?

My strategic priorities for the Energy Institute here in Singapore are to forge alliances with existing institutions, organisations and individuals interested in actively participating in the energy industry of tomorrow.

What differentiates your company from similar companies working in Asia Pacific?

The Energy Institute was set up in 2003 as a result of a merger between the Institute of Petroleum (IP) and the Institute of Energy (InstE) which were both over 100 years old. Set up by Royal charter the EI it is a unique professional body for energy industry professionals, developing and sharing knowledge, skills and good practice towards a safe, secure and sustainable energy system worldwide. The EI supports over 23,000 individuals working in or studying energy and 250+ companies worldwide, providing learning and networking opportunities to support professional development, as well as professional recognition and technical and scientific knowledge resources on energy in all its forms and applications.
Given the increasingly global nature of energy sector development the EI is now keen to establish a more international presence with a view to improving the ability to share best practice across the increasingly connected world we love in.

How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?

he unique UK Chartered Institution for energy professionals.

What takeaways would you like attendees at our Asia Pacific Assembly to go home with regarding your company and your work both in Asia Pacific and further afield?

If you play a part in shaping the future of the global energy sector come and join us.

What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?

Probably my proudest moment was way back in the 80’s when there was a UK dock strike and there was a threat that the whole North Sea industry would shut down. I was responsible for BP’s helicopter logistics’ operations at the time. Through the UK Offshore Operators Association, I was able to come up with the idea that the whole of the North Sea Oil and Gas industry should pool their helicopter resources in order to service offshore operations by air. I also took charge of the whole coordination effort. This initiative proved to be a great success. I received written thanks from the CEO’s of 7 major oil companies.

What one businessman/woman do you most admire and why?

Jamsetji Tata, founder of Tata industries – India. (1860-1933)
Jamsetji Tata was more than merely an entrepreneur who helped India take her place in the league of industrialized nations. He was a patriot and a humanist whose ideals and vision shaped an exceptional business conglomerate.
My favorite Tata quote: "In a free enterprise the community is not just another stakeholder in the business but in fact the very existence of it."
Regretfully a truism that we increasingly forget in today’s materialistic world!

What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?

“When we first begin fighting for our dreams, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life is to fall as many times as you have to, but get up at least one more time than you fall.”

What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in oil & gas?

The oil and gas industry remains a highly innovative one. Make sure you become part of its future and not get locked into the past.

Name one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?

I once attended an orchestral conducting master-class by none other than the world-renowned music director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert Von Karajan.

How do you prefer to spend your spare time?

I love attending live performing arts performances.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?


All-time favourite book?

“Wild Swans” by Jung Chang - An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love.

All-time favourite film?

Zulu:  a 1964 epic war film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. It depicts 150 British soldiers, many of whom were sick and wounded patients in a field hospital, who successfully held off a force of 4,000 Zulu warriors.

What three items would you take with you to a desert island? (NB: you may not choose a boat, raft, satellite phone or a book on ‘Practical raft-building for Dummies’)

1.      A magnifying glass to make fire
2.      A solar powered laptop filled with videos and music of all genres
3.      A metal cooking pot

United Kingdom

T: +44 20 7384 8056
Bedford House
69-71 Fulham High Street


T: +65 6590 3978
78 Shenton Way

Houston - USA

T: +1 713 353 4633
Two Allen Center, 1200 Smith Street, Floor 16, Suite 6061

Houston, TX, 77002


Lagos - Nigeria

T: +44 787 550 6366
No. 92 Oduduwa Crescent,
G.R.A., Ikeja
Lagos State

South Africa

+27 21 001 3884
Great Westerford
Corner Main Rd & Dean Street
Newlands 7700
Cape Town