Bruce Colquhoun and I travelled from Vancouver last week to join our UK-based colleagues Richard Leonard and Ian Gordon for a productive and stimulating series of events at International Petroleum (IP) Week in London. ZE participated as an exhibitor and managed to attend a number of concurrent events.

While IP week itself draws a vast international community in the oil space, the collateral events tend to be more specific in their draw. We were fortunate enough to attend the Platts London Oil Forum at the Mayfair Hotel on Monday morning. The focus of the event was on the energy market outlook for 2013 and the effect US energy independence could have on other markets. Throughout the afternoon and evening we attended a number of other interesting and educational events hosted by TFS Energy, GFI Group, CME Group and SOCAR.

Tuesday morning started bright and early with an Argus seminar held at the Sheraton Park Lane hotel. ZE is a partner with Argus and we were happy to have a display at their event. The focus for the seminar was on crude and Argus petroleum products. Argus presented some very noteworthy information on the rise of WTI price inversion and the rise in domestic production in the US. That evening ICE held a grand reception at the Hilton Park Lane hotel, which we attended and thoroughly enjoyed.

The highlight of the week for us was our own Lunch & Learn event, held at the lofty Browns Court House. Allegro Development, Argus Media and Opportune co-sponsored the event, and we were delighted to have drawn a good contingent of our London clients, as well as a strong participation from our partners and friends in the industry. The Lunch & Learn, entitled “Equipping for Energy and Commodities Markets”, concentrated on the current trends in market data and the role technology plays in shaping trade and risk management.

Bruce and I gave a brief introduction to the changes European energy market, followed by Argus Media’s Matthew Monteverde who centered his presentation on quantifying risk in commodities markets using gas and electricity forward curves. Interactive Data’s Daren Robson guided us through the key drivers and challenges of the data universe and ZE’s Richard Leonard further discussed the importance of effectively managing this data for mitigating risk.

After lunch, James Brown from Allegro Development and Jeff Davis from Baringa focused their attention on how technology and process automation is shaping energy and commodities trading. James’ presentation looked specifically at the EMIR regulation being rolled out in Europe and the resulting need for technology to adapt in order to comply with the regulatory changes. The afternoon concluded with a vibrant panel discussion with each of the speakers and Tim Skelton from Opportune on the current and emerging themes of EDM and ETRM integration.

Interestingly on Friday, we had a meeting with the UK Trade and Investment agency which really brought to our attention the extensive outreach UK companies have throughout the world, with their current focus on opportunities within the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia as key emerging markets. Our discussion with UKTI was very much in line with what we saw and heard at IP Week events in that the oil space specifically, and more broadly the energy and commodities space, is going through a significant transformation right now. The roles of traditional participants are changing on a gross basis. North America is moving towards energy independence and transforming itself to being an exporter. China and South East Asia on the other hand, are becoming massive syncs for energy, while still maintaining their high production and manufacturing base. But the eye to emerging markets is again the Middle East, North Africa and surprisingly Russia. It was surprising to hear this directly from the UKTI, however, in retrospect it should have been quite evident from the mix of attendees at IP Week events.

We recommend IP week as a key focus in business development for any company in energy and commodities and would like to extend a thank you to those who made it such a success. We’d also like to thank our speakers, partners and industry peers for attending and participating in our ZE Lunch & Learn, in particular the representatives from Allegro Development, Argus Media, Baringa, Interactive Data and Opportune. Stay tuned for upcoming ZE events here.