Sunday, June 07, 2015

What is an "Energy Analyst"? Who? What does s/he do? What is the job description?

Dear Colleagues, Dear Energy Professional,

That was in year 2007. After a few trial releases, International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO), reputable well-established Turkish think-tank institution started to publish my articles regularly on their web site "". It was mainly on subjects "energy, thermal power plants". My personal archives were full of energy documents which were accumulation of many years of my professional experience in energy business, and they were largely in English.

International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO) website authors were using "strategic analysts" title in their articles. I preferred to use "Energy Analyst" title as foreign authors were using on energy issues. After a while, local media asked similar articles in Turkish to publish on printed paper as well as on their web sites. Now I am writing weekly articles in both languages. If an article gets enough hits from readers, I notice that it is copied in other web sites as Op-Ed (Opinion Editorial) or title and link address.

In my Turkish column, from time to time, I preferred to write on some other topics, such as on Opera, wine, artisan restaurants to create some diversity in my writings. In principle, I try to avoid to appear on TV screens, similarly I am reluctant to participate to radio programs. I only accept invitations for university panels on energy programs.

Let us explain who the "Energy Analyst" is. What is the job description? What are the qualifications? These issues are not yet very clear. In our country, we are familiar with "financial analyst", "business analyst" or "military analyst" as job description. But the "energy analyst" is a new concept. "Analyst" definition is preferred in USA in recent years to replace "expert, consultant, specialist" terms. On US TV programs, any person who is invited to explain any issue is named as "Analyst" of that subject.

Edward Snow, who released confidential classified documents to public, has worked as "strategic analyst" on a contractual basis in these government institutions. Famous TV name Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, prefers his title as "Military analyst" in his Fox-TV programs. World famous CNN Commentator CNN, Wolf Blitzer, prefers to be named as "political analyst". Daniel Yergin and Fatih Birol, are two major international names as "Energy analysts" who helps us expanding our horizons in energy business.

An "Energy Analyst" is not a "Consultant", nor an "Advisor". "Advisor" is the definition used for the staff that is close to the public figures in our environment. In our country, many young people are advisors, or deputy counselors of old-school politicians to help them as their foreign language translators, or in their personal web site design, social media support in political activities. The most important job of the advisors is try to find solutions to personal problems of voters, such as finding appropriate hospital /Medical Doctor, a place in student dormitories, job for an unemployed, train/ plane tickets in rush time, night stay in public guesthouses. Advisors or deputy counsellors also prepare draft text for public speech for the politician, information note, twitter, Facebook messages on behalf of the public figure.

In the private sector, new retirees from public sector are hired as "Consultants" or "Advisers" to the board of directors of private companies, as long as the newcomer retiree has still the market value of his capabilities and keeps his/her contacts in the public posts to make the relations easy for the organization.

In most Western European countries and North America, "Energy Analyst" is someone with vast information and experience on on energy issues where he continuously analyzes the situation using analytical methods together with his professional colleagues. "Energy Efficiency", "Renewable Energy", "Energy consumption", "Energy saving", "Energy Balance", "Energy Audit" are covered in their studies of their economic models. In case of any false analysis, the "Analyst" is the sole responsible person who will loose the market credibility. If experience is the key issue to supply, then Consulting is the key word to use the job description.

Consultant does not know everything. S/he advises on the speciality such as technical, financial, legal, marketing. The job can be freelance, part-time or permanent, as modified with the demand to that speciality and the project. The important thing is the value of the experience and the advise supplied to the end client. The Consultant may furnish project feasibility, report energy policy, energy strategy and market analysis based on the prevailing market situations. Decisions should be taken by the client as executive action and Consultants should not be the decision makers.

So what/ who is an "Energy Analyst"? Definition is given by Google search,
An "Energy Analyst" gathers the market information, evaluates, makes strategic predictions, observes prevailing market prices, follows the trends, puts them in writing for printed or web media sources so that these informations help investors for their new investments, directing decision-makers on energy issues, producing common solutions for the energy markets, informing the public institutions.

"Energy Analyst" does not know everything, even more s/he does not know everything correct. It is important to make an interpretation as starter for a decision making process. If there is a review good or bad, then there is an opportunity to refine and update that review to make it better. Physical realities do not change. But social or economical believes do vary depending on geography, time, society. The social truth generally accepted in Saudi Arabia, may be perceived wrong in New Zealand. A normal situation for everyone in Istanbul, may be interpreted differently in Diyarbakır or Artvin. Similarly a notion generally accepted in 100 or 200 years ago, may not be the same today.

My interpretation is that professional support of an "Energy Analyst" is a mostly short term investment. But in case of longterm projects "Energy Analyst" can work in Company's full-time staff. They can work in fixed or flextime conditions. Technical training in the university is not enough to be an "Energy Analyst". An Energy Analyst should work in energy business for many years as operator, project manager, negotiator, implementer, to get experience in every responsibility.

Do we earn money in this business? Yes, in developed countries. An "Energy Analyst" gets reasonable money for the reports, articles, forecasts, recommendations. If employed for special projects, they earn money on daily basis plus reimbursement for living in 4-5 star accommodation and business class traveling expenses. The figures are now almost standard, and there is not much bargaining. If these expenses are not paid, then there is no premium service available for the demanding party. As everywhere, we have companies in Istanbul, serving international companies, in this context.

Earlier there were many international "Energy Analyst" posts in "" professional social medium in foreign environment but not local names. Now our local energy companies, local investment groups, banking sector get used to "Energy Analyst" post as their staff. We hope that in the future, we shall see them further institutionalized.

Oberstdorf, Germany, 08 June 2015

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.


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