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Navigating a Changing Energy Landscape

By Nick Bastin, Partner, CNC, Head of MSLGROUP EMEA Energy Practice

The energy world is familiar with change, but even for such a dynamic industry 2016 has already seen some rapid developments. In this issue we have reflected on some of the areas of uncertainty that have characterised the global energy industry so far this year, and discussed where we have seen clients using communications to manage their corporate positioning and prepare accordingly.

In the UK, the vote for Brexit has triggered a raft of uncertainty and possible changes of direction. The new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, dissolve the Department of Energy & Climate Change and wove it into a new Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department. Her overhaul also precipitated the postponement of billions of pounds of offshore wind farm subsidy contract auctions and triggered a surprise decision to review the plans for the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power in Somerset before the final go-ahead was granted a few weeks later.

Energy Report Cover_Sep 2016

In Germany, home of the green power-focused “Energiewende” policy, Parliament announced new legislation in July to introduce competitive auctions for renewables support, shedding the feed-in tariffs that have helped drive the dramatic increase in renewables there since the 1990s.

In Oil and Gas, we have seen some major developments on the global stage too, with Iran returning to exporting oil, US shale producers continuing to weather low oil prices unexpectedly well, and Norway showing that it is possible to be profitable at less than $25 a barrel in the inclement waters of the North Sea at its huge Johan Sverdrup project.

Such a volatile environment is daunting for those who operate and communicate in the energy industry. To be ready to navigate this landscape takes leadership, preparation, engagement and smart communications.

In this edition of On, we look at how energy companies can establish a position of leadership, going beyond simple brand-building. We also look at how organisations can help ensure they are prepared, both through realistic crisis preparation exercises and by learning how to handle social media adeptly. We examine examples of how a global energy company has broadened and deepened its engagement with audiences in the Netherlands and how firms have cleverly upgraded their media relations, increasing international press coverage and communicating with more impact.

It is an oft repeated truism that reputations take years to build and minutes to ruin. We hope this edition will provide you with some practical insight into how MSLGROUP has helped its clients protect and grow their reputations and how to prepare for the unexpected.

This article is a part of the September 2016 edition of MSLGROUP’s ON Energy Report – Navigating a Changing Energy Landscape. If you want to find out more about the work we do, or enquire as to how we might be able to help, don’t hesitate to contact Nick Bastin.

Nick Bastin Nick heads MSLGROUP energy group in EMEA and is a specialist in cross-border corporate and financial communications. With two decades of experience advising clients on corporate reputation management, Nick’s energy experience includes many aspects of the energy value chain, from exploration and production, to refining and power generation in both developed and emerging markets. Connect with him on Twitter @NickBastin.