Global energy consulting sector grows to almost $15bn

The global energy and resources consulting market grew 6% to $14.7bn in 2014 despite slumping oil prices, a new report from consultancy firm Source has found.

The UK market mirrored the global picture, growing 6.1% to $816m on the strength of efficiency projects in the North Sea, the report said. Long planning cycles also helped to keep consulting work on an even keel, it said.

Alison Huntington, a senior analyst from Source said: “A key question – that’s very hard to answer – is how long energy clients will carry on spending on consulting. Work in this sector tends to be capital intensive and long-running, but once current programmes come to an end, will cash-strapped clients shell out again on major investments?”

Growth areas

The report said the utilities sector was the stand-out market, growing at 8% to $3.4bn thanks to new competition, regulation, green technology, and smart metering.

The EU mandate that 80% of customers should have a a smart meter for their electricity by 2020 is expected to provide a boost to consultants, as providers try and find was to take advantage of increasing amounts of data.

According to the report: “Many firms are still in the early phases of planning major initiatives in this area, so many consultants are predicting very healthy pipelines for the coming years.”

Party in the USA

The US remained the biggest opportunity for energy consultants thanks to its active utilities sector, a large and demanding energy sector, and newer areas like shale exploration.

The US market grew nearly 10% to $6.8bn, although Source predicts that the sector will start to feel the effects of the low oil price in 2016, as firms see energy costs start to fall by themselves

Global spending on sustainability consultants in particular is continuing to grow and is expected to reach $1bn in 2019.

Edie’s own 2014 Environmental Consultancy Report revealed that consultants were relatively sanguine about expansion, with 64% budgeting for growth in 2015. That optimism, however, was not matched by clients, of whom just 19% were budgeting for growth.

Brad Allen

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