The Quest by Dan Yergin

My old boss has a new book and, as usual, he has done a solid job of framing the energy issues we face in practical terms respecting the geopolitical and economic realities around us.  Like The Prize and Commanding Heights before it, The Quest will be a lasting contribution to both the literature and the energy business.

As an outsider, CERA was always a magical place we all wanted to be.  Through CERA week we got to live a fantasy life of scholarship and thoughtful research boiled down to its essence for an executive audience.  As an insider it never quite measured up to our utopian aspirations because it is full of people who each do their own thing.  Collegiality is a wonderful thing unless you are on deadline.  And CERA was always more like the Harvard faculty than many places I’ve worked.  As a competitor to CERA I learned that being part of the CERA fraternity was highly prized and for most of my utility and energy company clients at Ventyx that meant the client would ALWAYS buy CERA’s retainer research products to stay in the family, BUT they also would buy ours at Ventyx because we offered a more quantitative and actionable view of energy fundamentals across markets than anything CERA produced.

And that is the lofty perch that The Quest and its author occupies deservedly in the energy biz.  Dan Yergin is a class act and his long term strategic perspective has always been spot on. So when he says that renewable energy is good but not sufficient people listen.  When he says peak oil is a myth people grumble but think about it.  When he says unconventional oil and gas is not something promising for reviving America’s domestic energy production—at 30% of natural gas supply it is something we’ve already accomplished get used to it—he gives the blue state guys heartburn.

That is Dan Yergin’s great gift being able to speak truth and still be respected even when it is not the answer expected.  So congratulations, Dan, on another great read!

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