An Executive Interview with Steve Edwards, CEO, Tailwind Energy
Published 3rd November 2021
by Steve Edwards, CEO, Tailwind Energy and Jack Ingram, VP Corporate Development, Energy Council
Talk us through this year at Tailwind – the sale of Conwy to Eni, acquisition of Decipher Energy and BP’s interests in Shearwater and the Evelyn development well being completed – it seems like it has been a busy year!
Every year for Tailwind is busy but 2021 has seen the wick turned up even more. Whilst the industry was still managing the backdrop of Covid and its impact on operations, supply chain and not to mention recovering from the depths of Q2 2020 price shock, Tailwind embarked upon our highest organic spend year since the company started up. Our hedging programme largely insulated us from 2020 to take advantage of favourable rig rates and other activity planning services planned for 2021. In 2021, our 100% owned Evelyn development saw a successfully drilled and tested well and we also had a successful non-operated gas development project ready itself for first production in the shape of Columbus.
Allied to that, we were busy on the M&A front with the acquisition of Decipher, which we hope to soon fully realise the potential of, and we divested Conwy as it became ever more aligned to ENI’s longer term Liverpool Bay strategy. From a production perspective, we have had an excellent year so far although I’d rather not jinx things even at this stage! 2021 has also seen the company embrace the challenge of the energy transition where we published our first ESG report and evolved our understanding of how to further play our part in meeting the targets of the North Sea Transition Deal.
What are you looking forward to in 2022 and what we can expect to see with Tailwind moving forward?
We’ll enter 2022 off the back of a strong 2021 to continue our capital programme with Evelyn subsea activities and commissioning to bring first production in Q4. Additionally, we’re looking to conduct operations in Orlando to maximise the production potential of that field. We’re also considering accelerating a fourth Gannet-E well into 2022, reflecting the very strong performance and considerable potential that Gannet-E still has. So it all adds up to be another capital and operationally intensive year that will see us positioned for the largest production rate the company will have seen to date.
Of course, we will continue to leverage our balance sheet and investor commitment in the M&A space where we see a fit. We will also work with our partners to bring forward activities that reduce emissions to make good on the targets we, as a sector, must meet.
Our industry thrives on collaboration to develop new ways of doing things and overcoming otherwise insurmountable issues.
What excites you about the future of our sector and how do you think our industry will innovate and grow over the next 12 months?
Our industry is at its most pivotal point ever. The climate challenge and need to transition from hydrocarbons butts up against questions of security of supply and economic stability. The North Sea, in particular, has always led the way in Oil and Gas innovation, and I expect it to do the same in developing solutions to lowering emissions while retaining the ability to exploit the remaining reserves that the basin offers.
We should also recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the players in the basin to allow companies to exploit their strengths, whether that’s the supermajors and NOCs breaking new ground in developing the likes of CCS projects, as well as smaller, agile players being able to maximise economic resources. A recognition that we can all play a part should be encouraged. So I’d hope 2022 will see further tangible commitments to carbon reduction via regular JV work programmes, as well as marquee projects whilst, at the same time, encouragement from the authorities for MER.
Events like the World Energy Capital Assembly are coming back on line now – what excites you the most about the return of industry gatherings?
Creativity. Our industry thrives on collaboration to develop new ways of doing things and overcoming otherwise insurmountable issues. This is only possible through people, and people need to talk. As much as Teams and Zoom have helped us to keep turning the handle, there is no substitute for human interaction. Conferences and industry forums are often a mixing pot of ideas and the root of new relationships. Software doesn’t run successful businesses, people do and people need to interact.
I also believe that the Oil and Gas Industry should not allow itself to be marginalised as a pariah industry. We are an intrinsic part of the energy transition and so should be recognised and respected as such rather than being demonised and outcast. Events such as WECA can help reaffirm the message that our efforts are positive. Last, but not least, we’re social animals, and the additional benefits to mental health through professional interaction is simply a good thing to do.
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