How did you come to be in the energy industry?
I started off my career as a generalist M&A investment banker and got increasingly involved in the resources and energy sector, advising on several power, mining and oil and gas deals. I decided early on in my career to focus on the energy sector more broadly, given its importance and role in supporting all economic activity and its tie to geopolitics. I have been fortunate to gain exposure to all parts of the value chain in different roles, both as an advisor and, more recently, as an owner building a global energy consulting firm.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
As an M&A investment banker, I advised on several multi-billion dollar transactions, which ultimately closed and were landmark transactions within their respective markets at the time. However, being part of a team that has transformed a long-established and respected employee-owned firm, such as Sproule, into a growth vehicle in the middle of a deep industry downturn and originating and closing the firm’s first acquisition last year have all been tremendously rewarding.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the energy market?
There is no question that we are experiencing a paradigm shift that is affecting how people view and experience energy markets, affecting everything from consumer preferences to financing appetite in the sector. The winners in the future energy market will be those companies that can best connect the dots between production, storage, distribution and consumption. In particular, the potential to shorten the value chain into local, integrated solutions will fundamentally alter energy markets.
Where do you see the greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge we face as an industry is that the policy debate on energy is polarized by emotional and ideological arguments, rather than focused on finding optimal solutions, recognizing that renewables and hydrocarbons will both play important roles and complement each other in the future.
Who had inspired you to join or develop within the industry?
Growing up in Norway, the energy industry was always a major driver of prosperity and growth, so there is a natural affinity to the sector. Moreover, as a student of economic history, I quickly realized that the energy industry is critical in terms of growth and development and is one of the most global and interconnected industries in the world. It never ceases to amaze me how people are connected across the globe in our industry.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
It sounds simple, but earn trust through your actions and recognize that trust is always a two-way street. Whether you are interacting with clients, colleagues or counterparties, trust is the key ingredient to achieve successful outcomes.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in your line of business?
The energy industry is undergoing significant change, and just as my background in investment banking helped make me a more well-rounded professional, it is important to get exposure to different things early in your career. In particular, if you can combine technical skills with financial acumen, you will have a very compelling skill set, which will ensure you remain strategically engaged with your business and adaptable in a continuously evolving industry.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
Waving magic wands usually produces unintended consequences, but removing the bottlenecks and inefficiencies from the dislocation of resources and markets would be a great starting point. As an example, Canadian natural gas is a prime candidate for LNG, both in terms of economics and certainty of supply. However, the path to getting a major project to FID has proven challenging, although it is a no-brainer on paper.
What’s the one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
When in university, I was an accredited radio commentator for top flight football matches in the UK for my campus radio station. I would phone in live reports from several high profile matches in London on my tiny flip phone. I realized that commenting live is actually quite an art and much harder than it seemed.
How do you prefer to spend your spare time?
I am an avid sailor, but living in Calgary, there are limited opportunities to experience blue water cruising. I still much enjoy the outdoor playground in the Rockies with excellent skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
What is your hobby or an achievement outside of career?
I am a long suffering Everton fan. When I was growing up in the 1980s, my siblings were all Liverpool or Manchester United fans, so I chose to support the Toffees, as they were the other football club experiencing success at the time. Little did I know that their trophy hunt would be barren ever since, with the exception of a rare cup win in 1995.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
The islands of Praslin and La Digue in the Seychelles, where I learnt to scuba dive with my wife. It introduced me to the wonderful world of scuba diving in a setting of natural, unspoilt beauty that has yet to be rivalled by any other place I have encountered on my travels.
All-time favourite book?
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
All-time favourite film?
Memento by Christopher Nolan
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
My wife, my Swiss Army knife and a solar-powered Kindle.