National Politics

Cameron hires oil and gas consultant to advise on energy and the environment

Stephen-Heidari-Robinsonschlumberger fracking site

If any further proof were needed that David Cameron has well and truly ditched the “Green crap”, then look no further than today’s announcement that he has hired a consultant from the secretive oil and gas engineer Schlumberger to be his special adviser on energy and environment.

Stephen Heidari-Robinson (pictured above) will take up the role immediately today (16 September 2015). Heidari-Robinson was formerly vice president in Schlumberger Business Consulting’s UK office, and has 10 years of experience in oil and gas consulting, according to an article here. He has also worked in the civil service, private equity, and the not-for-profit sector, with a focus on the Middle East and Asia. Before joining Schlumberger, Heidari-Robinson was head of McKinsey’s organisation and NOC (National Oil Companies) services line in the oil and gas practice.

Schlumberger, which provides specialist kit for oil and gas wells, and especially for fracking (picture above), was recently described by The Guardian as “The oil world’s most secretive operator” in an article entitled “Where there is oil and gas there is Schlumberger”.

That article reveals how Schlumberger was recently hit by the largest corporate criminal fine in US history for violating sanctions against both Iran and Sudan and for attempting to hide those activities from authorities.

It also states that unlike other giant oil and gas service giants, such as Halliburton, it resists lobbying, donating to political parties and hiring politicians. Still, perhaps Schlumberger executives feel they don’t need to. They must be delighted that their former employee now has the ear of the British prime minister.

As a “special adviser”, although Heidari-Robinson will be paid by the taxpayer, he will be answerable only to David Cameron and the Conservative Party, not to the civil service.

Heidari-Robinson will be able to tell Cameron to get on with making fracking easier in Britain for his former employer’s clients, and encourage him to keep giving tax breaks to North Sea oil companies (who need fancy kit from the likes of Schlumberger) to extract the last drop of fossil fuel from their drying out wells.

But Stephen H-R is not likely to warn Cameron that he is slowly throttling Britain’s nascent renewables industry. Nor that the renewables industry employs more people, per unit of energy it produces than the fossil fuel industry. Nor that oil and gas majors and the companies that service them, like Schlumberger, are dependent for future profits on wrecking the planet by burning more fossil fuel than the world’s ecosystems can bear.

As if to underline Cameron’s wilful blindness, on the same day, a report from Ernst & Young shows that the UK has dropped out of the top 10 countries for renewable energy attractiveness for the first time. It says this comes as a result of “severe” and “totally unexpected” policy revisions.

The analyst’s quarterly Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index published today (Wednesday 16 September) puts the UK in 11th place overall, down three places on the last quarter. It said that the government’s interventions on renewables policies over the past few months had left many “perplexed as to what the future now holds for a renewables sector that has already been plagued by uncertainty and policy U-turns over the past two years”.


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