Q&A with three of our Top Natural Resources and Infrastructure Consultants

Matteo Prestinoni I lead the Energy Contracts division and have been with the group since its foundation. We operate across a number of disciplines...

Industry News
1st June 2018

Matteo Prestinoni

I lead the Energy Contracts division and have been with the group since its foundation. We operate across a number of disciplines across different industries at an international level.

Herbie Butler

I am a practice lead at Concilium Search within the Natural Resources & Infrastructure department with my major focus at present being in developing our Mining & Metals division, both internally and externally.

Christina Durham

I am a Senior Consultant on the Energy desk. I represent a host of clients across the globe including PE funds, owner/operators, developers, manufacturers and service providers and my work focuses mainly in the renewable energy market (wind, solar, hydro, storage etc.). 

What trends have been prominent across your industries over the first half of the year and how have these trends positively contributed to your success over the past few months?

M: 2018 has started in great fashion for the Concilium Energy Contracts division due to a combination of factors that have come together to empower our operations. The wind industry has always been a key sector for us, both from an onshore and offshore point of view. This year started particularly well thanks to both pre-assembly and onshore projects on an international level – keeping our activity at record high numbers during the colder months at the start of the year. The level of activity has increasingly diverted the focal from Europe to a more wide-scoped global scenario where clients on a global scale require qualified individuals to travel overseas to support their operations. This has brought us a strong influx of business given our internationally versed multilingual teams.

C: Recently a lot of the work I have been doing has been concentrated in the North American market as the renewables industry here remains on the rise. Most specifically, my attention has been on Project Finance, as companies look more and more into bringing specialist skills such as tax equity inhouse. Previously, a lot of companies tended to rely on external consultancies to provide these specialist financial structures, however, we’ve seen a real shift in the market to businesses now requesting individuals already with exposure to these models.

H: Generally, with most commodity prices having bottomed out, this year has continued to showcase the improved market sentiment within the sector. More precisely, a major current trend within the Mining sector has been governments in Africa wanting to reap more rewards. We are seeing negotiations or audits occurring across the continent to ensure governments see more revenues from mining. Most notably with DRC (New Mining Code), Tanzania (Acacia Mining/Tax Disputes), Ghana (Auditing entire industry) and a number of other countries. This trend has shown the immense difficulties each government can cause for a company and I believe it is essential for each company to safeguard themselves as best as possible for the sake of its shareholders and employees.

What challenges currently lie within natural resources and infrastructure?

H: A major current challenge is the ever-reducing pool of talent across the market and being able to attract the right talent to positions. For the younger generations, I feel there needs be more attention made around the industry to make people aware of it. The mining industry is extremely fascinating and most of the people I speak with do genuinely love their jobs – this is something that the younger generation do not readily have an insight into.

What exciting developments do you see forthcoming in the market?

M: Wind energy is and will continue to be our key area of focus due to the ever-expanding market on a global level. Increasing number of countries around the world have put strategies in place to support government led policies and encourage the growth of green energy – which will represent further growth for the industry. It will be particularly interesting to see how leading manufacturers will expand their operations to make wind energy more accessible to less economically developed countries in an effort to promote green energy across the globe.

It will also be very interesting to see how the global markets hold for the oil and gas industry. Following the last 8 months of improvements, things are looking very positive for the industry as a whole. However, the sector has proven to follow a cyclic pattern of ups and downs and has proven to be fragile when put up against global geopolitical conflicts. The last 4-5 years of downturn however have helped organisations to make their operations more lean, effective and resilient so it will be particularly good to see if they are able to withstand any adverse scenarios that might be thrown at them during the next year or two.

H: As we move towards a greener society, it is an exciting time to see how the demand of metals will be affected by this and if the supply side will be able to keep up in addition to how the price of each commodity will adjust within in all of this.

I am also interested to see how both coking and thermal Coal’s story plays out. Several countries across the world still heavily rely on this as a form of energy with there being limited viable alternatives and the price of coking coal is very high with many companies profiting hugely from this. Despite many major companies riding these assets off their portfolio, if there is still money to be made both from companies selling it or governments being able to tax it, I strongly believed coal will continue to be mined for many years to come.

What advice would you give to other Consultants to achieve success?

C: My advice to other consultants is to know your market. Do your own research on the side and keep up to date with the latest news in the industry. I’ve found that this has not only enhanced the conversations I have with my clients, who now view me as a specialist in the industry; but also allowed me to react to industry trends a lot quicker.

H: My advice to other recruiters would be:

  1. Demonstrate that you genuinely have both your clients and candidates’ best interests at heart. This will in turn allow people to trust you and more fruitful relationships to blossom.
  2. Make proper connections with people. When people see my name come up on their phones, I would like to think people actually don’t mind talking to me… I hope. 

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