Are your contacts worth anything in LNG business development?

Those well-connected are supposed to be the magic cure to a rotten LNG portfolio. They are not so important, after all.

It is said that those well-connected get ahead in the business world. This is most certainly true when it comes to your career, but how about LNG?

Idi-Amin-Whitaker

Leave the cash – I will get the LNG

There is another saying: “Offer a good friend a bad deal and he won’t be a good friend anymore!”

All too often in the business world the Rolodex stands in for good old-fashioned business development. Events and conferences are booked often with the ultimate aim to swell the business card count.

Reality check: if your business proposals are no good, your Rolodex won’t save you. On the other side, all relevant contacts can be built by a business developer – who deserves the title – in no time.

Back to LNG: any industry under tension – such as LNG right now – produces an extraordinary number of windbags with impressive speed. Suddenly the son of the nurse of a certain sheikh who supposedly can secure LNG shipments promises to take care of your LNG supply problems. Just pay him a large sum of money upfront and he will open the gate to eternal bliss.

Most people would not even consider such a fishy offer. Strangely, in LNG it happens all the time. There is just a limited number of LNG liquefaction plants so the amount of LNG available on this planet cannot be increased at will. Whatever exists is firmly controlled by a number of players and they have no interest to let some so-called “well connected” do juicy side deals.

Connections may well help to open a door. The willing LNG buyer will soon find that opening the door is the easy part. Walking through it is much more difficult. The logical consequence is that connections are not so incredibly important after all.

Really important is the right attitude and the willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. An honest proposal that takes into consideration the sellers situation and worries will do more than great contacts.

I todays split-second lives time has become a priced commodity. My father could count on contacts being valid for decades. Once he had established a business contact, odds were high that he would find that person at its place even after long separations. Today’s world is more global. We change jobs just as we discard last summer’s fashion.

Nothing is older than last year’s address book. Don’t build your entire LNG business on it only.

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