Managing the flow of BP’s oil and gas around the world involves over half a million commodity transactions every year. But market and operational decisions aren’t purely analytical, as David explains:
What’s fascinating about trading operations is how interrelated they are with the global economy, and how rapidly macroeconomic changes are reflected in trading markets and strategies.
What’s the most unusual risk that you had to manage?
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan rapidly evolved from being a humanitarian disaster to also being a major energy import crisis, materially impacting the balance of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world. In response, BP drew on its global LNG portfolio and moved quickly to supply customers that were significantly impacted by the crisis. As a responsible corporate citizen BP supported our customers and partners in their hour of need.
How well did OW prepare you for your role outside the firm?
Oliver Wyman provided me with the opportunity to develop many of the attributes required to be successful in my current role. These include a deep knowledge of risk and trading as well as the leadership and communication skills which are so important in my current role.
What do you miss most from your OW days?
It’s the people, of course. I have many friends in the firm and we still get together as often as we can.
Any thoughts for young consultants?
The big difference between consulting on trading risk and actually managing trading risks is that the most difficult decisions are those for which analytical tools don’t provide the answers. This is where management judgment and experience come into play. You live with the outcomes of these choices over the long-term.