Opportune, a US energy consulting firm, has set its sight on international growth. Building on its heritage and growth track across the Atlantic, where it boasts a team of approximately 300 advisors, the consultancy is eyeing expansion in Europe. To lead the effort Opportune has attracted Tommy Mars, who from the base in London has been tasked with orchestrating the expansion drive.
Founded in 2005 in the US, Opportune is a management consultancy that operates with a focused industry model, with an emphasis on the energy / oil & gas industry, providing among others upstream, midstream, downstream, power, commodities trading and oilfield services.
In recent years the consulting firm has expanded strongly in its home market. When the company started in June 2005, Opportune was still a one-man show, run by founder David Baggett, who previously had gained 20+ years’ of experience with large corporates as Contour Energy and Deloitte. On the back of organic growth, and three acquisitions (PetroAcct, Ralph E. Davis Associates and Nexidea), Opportune nowadays houses a team of more than 300 advisors, serving clients across North America and Europe. The firm, which earlier this year marked its 10th anniversary, has throughout remained faithful to its industry model – centered around the energy space – although it has diversified its service offerings from traditional management consulting to also include financial advisory and outsourcing propositions.
Early 2010 Opportune’s management decided to embark on international expansion, and in April that year the firm opened an office in London, UK – its first hub outside the US and seventh in total. The model to date centered around having a small core team in London, which according to a spokesperson of the firm ranged in size up to 20 professionals, complemented by a flexible shell of resources leveraged on a project basis from the US operations. Five years down the line, Opportune has set the ambition to take its European operations to the next level. Building on its established footprint in the UK and the buoyant state of the management consulting market, the leadership team says the time is right to pursue further growth, with the spokesperson stating: “Currently, we are making an effort to grow the European practice stronger, still leveraging the US powerbase but with an aspiration to grow a bigger, more European client relevant team.”
The expansion drive will be spearheaded by Tommy Mars, an experienced consultant with over 15 years of energy industry experience. Mars joins from Accenture, where he spent the past nine years, most recently in Dubai and before that in Amsterdam. During his four year stint in the Middle East, Mars was an executive in Accenture’s Oil & Gas practice, where he played a large role in building its regional energy practice, as well as contributed to the delivery of several high profile projects for clients as oil companies, governments and services companies. At Accenture, Mars gained experience across all parts of the oil and gas value chain, ranging from strategy to globalisation, outsourcing, operations, and system implementation. Prior to his spell in consulting, he served ExxonMobil and Van der Sluijs Groep, in both cases based in the Netherlands.
“Tommy brings a broad and fairly unique blend of experience and expertise to Opportune’s clients,” comments Opportune Partner Don Jefferis. “His diverse business strategy, operational, financial and technical background - including real world, practical experience in international oil and gas operations - makes him a valued addition to our team.”
Of Opportune’s complete service portfolio, six areas have been earmarked as key growth areas for Europe: Upstream, Midstream, Downstream and Oilfield Services, Power and Commodity Trading & Logistics. In his new role as Managing Director of the European practice, Mars will from the base in London focus on expanding work at existing clients, and equally important, welcoming new clients.
Globally the energy management consulting market is estimated to be worth $11.1 billion, with Europe representing roughly one third of the industry. Yet within the energy arena different segments are facing mixed fortunes. The traditional energy and renewable energy segments are seeing strong growth, while the oil & gas and infrastructure segments are anxiously looking at a period of uncertainty, sparked by the low oil price, which is putting a hold on billions in investments. According to Wood Mackenzie, an analyst firm specialised in the energy industry, up to $1.5 trillion in investments for oil projects are at risk of being lost due to the low prices in the short term, down the line also affecting the spending on external consultants.
Despite the mixed outlook, the Energy & Resources arena is according to data from the MCA and Source for Consulting across the board one of the faster growing segment of the consulting market, with digital, operational improvement, and business model redesign seen as the main in-demand services. For Mars and his European team, the outlook, in combination with Opportune’s heritage and on-the-ground client base, provides a window of opportunity to capitalise on the growth ambition, a feat which is viewed by Jefferis with confidence. “We are excited to have Tommy on board and believe that he will quickly help us leverage Opportune’s substantial client service capabilities across our existing EU client base,” he concludes.