consulting

Neil has been involved in strategy, business development, energy markets and new technology consultancy for 22 years. He also has extensive experience designing and building data systems and market models.

He served for six years as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for energy and commodities specialist information business S&P Global Platts, and five as Senior Vice President, Editorial, for the same company. From 2009 to 2018 he was Chief Advisor to Reed Business Information's ICIS group, experts in natural gas and petrochemicals markets. He also served as interim Head of Content for the group for a year in 2011. Since 2017, he has also specialised in strategy consulting and proposal writing for European start-up science and technology businesses, working as Senior Consultant for Belgium-based ZAZ Ventures.

Neil speaking at a Confidence Capital conference on "Russian Oil Ports and the Black Sea Terminals", Gelendzhik, Russia, May 2018

Energy

Neil is an expert on commodity markets, market design, energy market analysis, energy data architecture and the geo-politics of energy, especially in the Middle East, Africa and China. An accomplished presenter and speaker, he is the former chair of the judging committee for the Platts Global Energy Awards. In addition to Platts and ICIS, his clients in this space have included

  • African oil industry specialists CITAC, where he designed and built the award-winning African Downstream Database, and worked as an industry consultant and markets advisor and trainer in Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK for clients including Nigeria’s NNPC, Tullow Petroleum, SIR in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo
  • the Norwegian tax authorities, for whom he undertook a review of oil benchmarking strategy
  • under the auspices of ICIS: the National Petrochemical Company of Iran, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Russia's SPIMEX

He writes on markets for the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies quarterly Oxford Energy Forum and for CITAC, and contributed extensively to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions review process for oil benchmarking. He sits on the Advisory Board of Singapore-based oil market analysis group Vanda Insights. He is the winner of the 1995 International Association for Energy Economics annual prize for Excellence in Written Journalism.

Strategy and business development

Neil is currently Senior Consultant for ZAZ Ventures, a business that specialises in assisting start-up science and technology businesses in the EU with strategy formulation and innovation grant applications under the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. Neil consults on and helps formulate business strategy, as well as creating and helping to write grant proposals. His clients with ZAZ have included:

  • Netherlands-based Physee, inventors of the world's first effective solar power generation system that harvests light passing through ordinary windows
  • Chirp, world leaders in data-over-sound, an advanced acoustic technology with the potential to revolutionise contactless payments, smart workplace connectivity, and IoT device login by solving the internet's great Catch 22, namely: "you can't connect unless you're already connected."
  • Denmark's Linc, developers of an electrical signal spectral analysis tool which can "hear" the individual voices of electrical appliances consuming power in a building - the first truly "smart" energy management system
  • France's Tiamat, inventors of a rapid-charging sodium ion battery that is competitive with lithium and has the potential to transform the electric bike, bus, scooter, forklift and robot markets
  • Senseon, a UK cyber-security business that has built a radically innovative AI-driven cyber-defence system, analysing and countering an attacker's behaviour rather than just tracking their footprints.
  • Calipsa, UK developers of a deep-learning-based video analysis tool that autonomously watches and interprets CCTV security footage, cutting false alarms by up to 90%
  • Colorifix, UK inventors of a process that uses synthetic biology - copying the DNA for natural pigments into non-pathogenic microbes - to dye fabrics, with the potential to transform one of the most environmentally damaging and water-wasteful industries in the world
  • Akoni, a financial technology innovator that has built AI tools enabling SMEs flexibly to earn interest on cash that would otherwise sit idle in their current accounts

He has worked extensively in strategy formulation and consulting in the journalism and publishing world, both for former employers Platts and ICIS, as well as for educational software house Espresso, now part of Discover Education.

Data architecture and software

  • Neil is a highly innovative software developer and database architect. Over the past fifteen years he has undertaken projects for:
    • the International Energy Agency, for whom he designed and built data systems capable of interacting seamlessly with Microsoft Excel for the agency's supply-demand monitoring arm between 2012 and 2014.
    • African oil consultancy CITAC, where he conceived, created and built the award-winning Africa Downstream Database, used extensively by the industry across Africa, including by the African Refiners' Association.
    • RBI's ICIS, where he was business lead on a project to move all market content to an online platform, and consultant on the creation of an advanced XML-based content repository. Neil also designed and built foward curve and market assessment tools for the international crude oil market, Asian polymers markets and the fertilizer market as part of his work for ICIS.

    Neil is adept in multiple coding langauges including C#, VB, Javascript, SQL, HTML and XML.He holds "Verified Expert" status on the developer problem-solving platform Experts Exchange , where he has "Guru" rank in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office, and "Master" in VBA coding.