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Energy Focus talks with new EIC Chair Andrew Cuniah about his passion for energy, EIC’s bold ambitions, and being ready for tomorrow’s markets

Congratulations on being appointed EIC’s new Chair. What role do you see yourself and EIC playing, going forward, in a rapidly changing energy landscape?

EIC has a critical mission and has grown significantly in the past few years as the energy supply chain has become more important than ever. Receiving the King’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade this year was a fantastic achievement for EIC and its team. I look forward to working with CEO Stuart Broadley and the board to build on the successes of our previous chair and board. This means continuing to grow EIC and creating opportunities for member companies in the UK and elsewhere. In particular, my goal is to help member companies export, diversify and grow at a time when focus has shifted to energy transition and achieving net-zero carbon emissions around the world.

What are you most looking forward to, and what do you see as the biggest challenges in your role?

I am excited about the opportunities EIC has to help ensure the energy supply chain remains strong and successful as the energy market changes. One of the biggest challenges for companies in the supply chain is the time it takes for new energy transition projects to move from the front-end engineering and design phase to the engineering, procurement and construction stage. The UK supply chain, for example, is well positioned to deliver the planned projects for the country, but we need more attention on resources and execution strategies to deliver multiple projects simultaneously. In the global market we continue to see positive growth which again increases the demand for EIC guidance.

What is the lasting legacy of your predecessor Hugh Saville?

I’m honoured to be Hugh’s successor. Hugh oversaw EIC’s transformation and paved the way for the Council to become an industry leader in its field. His hard work helped EIC advance the energy industry’s supply chain interests and support its members. Hugh’s leadership was vital to ensuring that the Council was able to navigate uncertainties, from the COVID-19 pandemic to supply chain disruptions, allowing it to continue its crucial work.

EIC opened up to international members six years ago, after 74 years of only allowing UK members. How has that decision played out, and what comes next?

During the past decade, EIC has grown not only its membership but also its place in the global energy conversation. Over its long history it has broadened its scope to include new areas such as renewables, hydrogen and carbon capture, and provided access to the latest knowledge in these areas. All members have continued to benefit from digital EIC tools and collaborations that have helped them identify opportunities around the world and be successful.

EIC recently held its fifth Energy Exports Conference. How important is such an event in facilitating the supply chain and international trade?

The Energy Exports Conference is key to exploring the opportunities the industry has to offer as it brings together international operators, developers, contractors, government and export advisers, ambassadors and trade experts from across the globe. It helps attendees understand global supply chain strategies from key companies across the entire energy sector and gives access to important players, including in newer markets such as hydrogen and carbon capture. After a few years of being held virtually, it was also great to see it return to its original in-person format and bring all the market leaders together in one place.

Should EIC have a louder voice as an advocate for the energy industry?

By working closely with the energy supply chain and UK government, EIC is in a special position to understand the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to the industry. As a result, it is well positioned to advocate for the energy sector – it ensures that the companies are not just ready for today’s markets but future markets as well. So yes – the louder the voice, the better!

Are governments around the world doing enough to drive net zero?

EIC is pleased to have seen governments come together at global climate summits to agree on how to tackle climate change, one of the world’s biggest challenges. We welcome the net-zero carbon emission targets that many governments and companies have set themselves. But there is, of course, always more work to do to make sure net-zero becomes a reality. Often it is industry that drives the net-zero agenda, and so governments need to work closely with businesses around the world to find zero-carbon solutions and implement them.

You have a senior role at Bechtel; how is Bechtel adapting to the changing global trading and energy landscape?

Bechtel has helped customers navigate shifts in energy consumption, technological change and financing challenges for much of its 125-year history. We recently updated Bechtel’s vision statement, backed by a new set of values. Our first value is “we live for a challenge,” and the energy transition is the greatest challenge of our lifetime.

Today, we’re engaged across our business in helping to advance the energy transition. Our customers are accelerating efforts to reduce carbon emissions, so the focus is on cleaner energy solutions and sustainable alternatives. We are, for example, making existing assets more energy-efficient or converting them to cleaner power sources. We also work on carbon capture, hydrogen and circular economy solutions, including bioenergy. And we have a dedicated Energy Technology and Solutions team that focuses on applying proven and emerging technologies to lower carbon emissions.

The UK supply chain is well positioned to deliver the planned projects for the country, but we need more attention on resources and execution strategies to deliver multiple projects simultaneously

What is the key role of a leader in today’s hybrid world?

Today we have many forms of energy production, ranging from traditional sources, such as oil, to transitional ones, namely natural gas, and cutting-edge ones, including floating offshore wind power. All of these have benefits and faults. Leaders play a key role in guiding their organisations and influencing the industry to mitigate faults and capture and share the benefits. EIC plays a pivotal role as it will help leaders guide their companies through the energy transition movement. 


Many talk of a skills gap in the world’s energy market; what needs to be done to close this gap?

Investing in our future means investing in people. Across the energy sector, there has been an increased demand for people with niche skillsets and training. Many of our members are also investing in and developing a skilled workforce. For instance, at Bechtel, we just pledged US$500,000 to educational institutions along the Texas Gulf Coast that are preparing people for careers in the construction sector. These tools will enable the institutions to help meet the skill demand in the region and give people a foundation for launching their careers. We are looking at similar programmes in the UK.

Is energy still a great place to work; if so, why?

The energy sector has always been and continues to be a great place to work. By its nature, the work we do improves the lives of millions. Many people in this industry feel a great sense of pride knowing that they bring light, power and a higher standard of living to thousands of communities. To be at the forefront of the energy transition and produce cleaner and greener energy will make working in this sector even more rewarding. The sector has also embraced and invested in improving employees’ wellbeing, from employee health and safety to overall physical and mental wellness.

What advice would you give EIC’s CEO, as the organisation’s incoming Chair?

Stuart and his team have been very successful with their innovative approach, bringing in new tools and mechanisms to support our members and the industry at large. So, my advice would be: “Keep moving forward and keep innovating!”

About Andrew Cuniah

Andrew Cuniah has worked in the energy industry since 1988 and at Bechtel since 1996.

As London Supply Chain Operations Manager for Bechtel Energy, he oversees projects and proposals in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia and leads supply chain energy transition strategies for the UK. Andrew has always been a vocal advocate for the UK supply chain.

He has been an EIC Non-Executive Board Director since 2017 and was elected Chair in 2023.

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