David Knipe
 // . //  Our People // David Knipe

David is a London-based Partner in Oliver Wyman’s Energy Practice, leading the Practice’s efforts related to climate and sustainability. His career in many ways can be viewed as chapters in a personal journey of discovery. Chapter one begins in 1998, when he first joined Oliver Wyman, initially working in Financial Services and then setting up the Corporate Risk and Trading practice.  “In that role, I advised energy companies and their leadership on strategy, operations, and risk management,” he says. 

Energy clients face massive challenges in the years ahead – how to transform from being big, carbon-emitting, hydrocarbon-heavy businesses into major low or no carbon energy suppliers.

In 2010, he left Oliver Wyman to join BP as chief risk officer for its commodity-trading operations, thus beginning Chapter Two. “My reason for leaving, firstly, was to gain a deep understanding of global energy markets and the supply and trading of energy; and, secondly, I wanted the challenge of leading a global team of 120 people,” David explains.  

David’s tenure at BP spanned a decade, and during the last seven years he led a major energy trading division where his main focus was on gas, power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply and trading. “In my last years at BP, I developed a downstream gas and power strategy and new business unit to capture downstream margins and customer demand for BP's upstream gas portfolio,” he says. “This type of business has strong connections with power, renewables, and hydrogen, contributing toward BP’s net-zero emissions ambition.”  

At the end of 2020, David re-joined Oliver Wyman, initiating his latest chapter.

I returned to Oliver Wyman to provide strategic and operational support and advice to major energy and energy-intensive companies on how to transform and grow their businesses in the face of a major energy transition.

The next decade is crucial if the world is to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees, consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement, but David sees reasons for optimism. “2020 is a year that really mattered. Two important things happened. The first was COVID-19: It showed us how governments, businesses, and individuals can adapt to such global crises when it matters most and these experiences present us with lessons that we can translate across into our fight against global warming.   Secondly, oil and gas companies have begun making serious net-zero commitments.  This is a profound shift in their strategies.”

“It is by no means trivial to make such a transition while ensuring that energy supplies continue to flow to meet consumer demands and to underpin economic growth.  It’s also non-trivial to shift from proven energy technologies to unproven ones and to do so at scale,” David says. “I think of this challenge as 'threading the needle' between multiple competing needs and demands.  Energy and energy-intensive clients need help to navigate these challenges, and Oliver Wyman brings many unique capabilities to help them to do so.”