5 Strategies for Reinventing Your Career in Uncertain Times


Executive Summary

Uncertainty can make us cling to the familiar — but it’s also an opportunity to expand our mindsets and explore new avenues for growth. Based on their experience as consultants and leadership coaches, the authors offer five strategies to help anyone reinvent their career: First, explore a range of options, including the unthinkable. Second, imagine your best possible future. Third, build up your capabilities. Fourth, start small. Finally, be ruthless about what you need to leave behind. Ultimately, there are no easy answers, but with these strategies, you’ll have the tools you need to deal with whatever the future may bring.

During times of uncertainty, we tend to hunker down and cling to the status quo. A kind of myopia kicks in, and we focus on our most urgent decisions: how to keep our families safe and healthy, how to keep our bosses happy, or, if we’ve lost a job, how to find a new one as quickly as possible. When we’re overwhelmed, it can be hard to find the time, motivation, and mental energy to think about longer-term questions.

But despite the challenges that extended periods of uncertainty present, those periods also offer unparalleled opportunities for strategic planning. Total control and predictability are always an illusion — and when circumstance strips that illusion away, it can open our minds to the wide variety of paths we could take. On the basis of our experience as consultants and leadership coaches, we’ve developed five strategies that can help anyone leverage the power of uncertainty to reinvent their career strategy.

1. Explore a range of options — including the unthinkable.

Anything can happen in uncertain times. The breadth of possible outcomes can be overwhelming, and even when we understand them intellectually, we often avoid confronting our worst-case scenarios. But explicitly considering the most unimaginable of outcomes can actually make them less intimidating, enabling you to think through your options more clearly and to plan more effectively.

One of us, Dorie, worked with an organization that was drafting budgets detailing what it would do if the pandemic led to revenue declines of 5%, 10%, or 20% for the year. Dorie urged it to craft a scenario in which 50% of revenue evaporated. Thankfully, that financial apocalypse didn’t come to pass. But knowing what it would do in that case meant that the organization was prepared no matter what, giving it a far greater shot at success than peer organizations that avoided even considering such a possibility.

Similarly, if you’re looking for work, consider planning not just for the most likely scenarios but also for one in which you’re unemployed for twice as long as you expect, or in which your spouse also loses his or her job. Although such possibilities can be difficult to think about, figuring out exactly how you would handle them — and setting triggers for action, such as “If I haven’t landed a job by February, I’ll move to a cheaper apartment or rent out the spare bedroom” — can help ensure that you don’t find yourself in a more dire position later on, such as having to sell your home or move in with relatives.

2. Imagine your best possible future.

Of course, strategic planning isn’t just about imagining the worst possible outcomes. Equally important is considering ideas and opportunities that might never have occurred to you before. Challenge the assumptions you are making about yourself — things like “I’ve never tried that type of work before, so I wouldn’t be a good candidate” and “I’m just not cut out for management.” Think about different ways you could leverage your skills and fulfill your passions, both at work and in other aspects of your life. Would working a three-day week give you more time for parental care or entrepreneurial ventures? The more you’ve thought through your options, the better prepared you’ll be to act when an opportunity arises.

Although it may sound simple, imagining best-case-scenario futures is sometimes even harder than preparing for the worst. Here are some strategies to help you get started.

  • For inspiration, delve into your most vivid difficult moments — challenges you faced during the pandemic, for example — and think about the skills or creative adaptations you drew on to meet them. Perhaps you struggled without the routine of a daily commute but then repurposed your commute time into a new fitness regimen. This could suggest that going forward, you should consider remote work opportunities.
  • Construct a personal highlights reel to help you remember the moments when you were at your best. The patterns you discover can serve as clues. If you’ve consistently enjoyed mentoring colleagues, for instance, you might consider how to develop new skills around coaching or look for ways to make it a larger part of your professional life.
  • To understand what you value, think about how you spend your free time. One of David’s clients, who had long nursed a side passion for writing, recently left her job and has now started to work on a book.
  • Go beyond your past experience and current industry to explore new arenas and emerging trends. A few years ago one of David’s former colleagues noticed that interest in AI was rapidly growing. Although he lacked formal experience in the field, he applied for and soon landed a role in a new innovation unit focused on developing and implementing AI technologies.

3. Build capabilities relevant to your future self.

In normal times, it’s typical to first identify a job you’d like to have and then work to acquire the skills needed to land it. But in periods of extreme uncertainty, that can be a risky approach, because the company or even the sector you’re focused on may face unexpected disruptions. We suggest taking a “skills first” approach instead: Identify the skills you’ll need to cultivate in order to grow toward your broad personal and professional goals, and then determine which jobs might be a good fit. A colleague of ours was committed to the idea of becoming a “global leader.” To pursue that high-level goal, he determined that he had to improve his cross-cultural communication skills, regardless of the requirements of any particular job opening.

To identify and develop new skills, we recommend the following strategies:

  • Find opportunities to practice new skills in your current role. Without changing his formal role at all, the colleague we just mentioned made an effort to cultivate relationships with coworkers from vastly different backgrounds to better understand their diverse experiences.
  • Explore online programs and courses. Our colleague invested in several courses focused on managing across cultures, bolstering his confidence and helping him avoid rookie mistakes.
  • Reach out to people you can learn from through informal mentoring or formal coaching. Your network is your best educational resource — and the people in it might also be in a position to advocate for you in the future as they become aware of your growing skill set. Our colleague asked a mentor if he could shadow her on certain calls and meetings to observe how she handled various situations, giving him valuable real-world perspective.

4. Start small.

To move past the paralysis of uncertainty, focus on what you can change in the short term. If your tasks feel intimidating, try “chunking” them into more-manageable sub-tasks. Writing a book might seem overwhelming, but drafting a high-level outline can be done in an afternoon. If you’re not sure what to prioritize, start with some “no regret” moves — actions that will be helpful regardless of changing circumstances — such as brushing up your résumé or updating your social media profile. Finally, ask yourself, “What small move could I make today that would bring me joy?” or “What could I accomplish if I gave myself a week?”

An executive we know was contemplating a career move, but after years of focusing exclusively on the day-to-day tasks of his job, he found the prospect of rebuilding his skills and network somewhat daunting. As a first, step, he decided to set up five calls every week with people in his network (university friends, previous customers, and people he knew socially) to catch up on news in their various industries and learn more about different roles and organizations. After a few months, some of those people started sending him job openings they thought would be relevant — and he eventually landed one of them.

5. Be ruthless about what you need to leave behind.

Planning for an uncertain future isn’t just about arming yourself with new skills or making new connections. It’s also about making strategic choices concerning what — and who — to abandon. Of course, it’s hard to give up things in which you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and energy. And it’s easy to be nostalgic about the past, especially when facing uncertainty in the present. But moving forward means taking a clear-eyed view of what’s no longer serving you and giving yourself the space to pursue something new.

One of David’s colleagues had always envisioned herself in a portfolio career, one that would include serving on a corporate board. She realized she was not on track to achieve that goal because she chronically overfilled her calendar with work and volunteer obligations. Once she understood the opportunity cost of her current schedule, she began delegating more responsibilities. She created formal handover plans, developed a script for turning down requests and more assertively saying “no,” and practiced such delicate conversations. Once she had eliminated the unnecessary responsibilities that were weighing her down, she had a lot more time and headspace for exploring director opportunities.

Human beings are wired to avoid uncertainty — but no matter how hard you try, there’s no escaping it. Instead, it’s best to view uncertainty as an opportunity for growth, whether that means exploring new skills, a new job, or an entirely new career. There are no easy answers, but with the strategies described above, you’ll have the tools to deal with whatever the future might bring.



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Former officials urge Canada to keep silent on uncertain U.S. election outcome


The last time a U.S. presidential election ended in uncertainty, the Canadian government adopted a policy of saying nothing until all the votes were counted and the legal challenges resolved.

And advisers to the government of the day say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is wise to adopt the same approach now — even though the circumstances surrounding the current cliffhanger are vastly different than those that prevailed in 2000.

Back then, the uncertainty hinged on the disputed outcome in a single state: Florida.

It took a month of recounts and legal challenges before Democrat Al Gore finally conceded defeat to George W. Bush.

During that time, the Canadian government led by Jean Chrétien — involved in its own election campaign at the time — took a wait-and-see approach, allowing the American election process to play itself out without comment.

Silence is golden

Michael Kergin, Canada’s ambassador to Washington at the time, said silence is even more golden now — when any hint of favouring a particular outcome could only inflame an already volatile situation in a deeply polarized United States, where President Donald Trump is alleging election fraud.

“In a situation like that, I think discretion is even more important by the prime minister, to let the process run its course,” Kergin said in an interview Wednesday.

By mid-evening Wednesday, Trump had secured 214 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win, while former vice-president Joe Biden had 253, according to The Associated Press.

Then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien (foreground) and former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Michael Kergin walk past a Christmas display on their way to a breakfast meeting with business leaders in Durham, N.C. on Monday Dec. 4, 2000. The Chretien government said nothing when the fate of the 2000 U.S. election hung in the balance, a policy Kergin says the current government would be wise to follow. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Alaska remained uncertain, with ballots still being counted.

Nevertheless, Trump declared himself the winner early Wednesday morning, denounced the continued counting of ballots as “fraud” and promised to take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court.

Trudeau declined to weigh in Wednesday, saying only that the Canadian government is “watching very carefully events unfold in the United States” and will continue defending Canadian interests as Americans decide their “next steps forward.”

The ‘smart’ approach

Eddie Goldenberg, a top adviser to Chretien during the 2000 Bush-Gore contest, said that approach is “pretty smart.”

“My own view is that you allow the Americans to decide who’s winning before you decide who the winner is,” he said in an interview.

“Is it really for us to comment on? I think we’d do better to let the Americans decide what the process is … We’re not going to send the army in. We’re not going to send the RCMP in. We have to sit and wait and watch.”

President Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden are locked in a tight election with a handful of battleground states yet to be called. (Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Goldenberg and Kergin agreed that the standoff between Trump and Biden leaves the U.S. in a much more precarious situation than the one the country faced 20 years ago.

Neither Gore nor Bush “was suggesting that the election had been stolen or rigged or whatever” and the Canadian government knew that, eventually, after the recounts and legal challenges, both sides would “respect the decision,” Goldenberg said.

The situation is different now, he said, “We weren’t worried about violence in the streets, we weren’t worried about that type of polarization.”

Goldenberg said everyone needs to “calm down, particularly when you’re outside the United States, because you’re not going to change the situation but you could make mistakes” that could hurt relations with the U.S. down the road.

Kergin said Trudeau’s response recognizes that the U.S. “is a democracy” and that to pronounce on the election result before all votes are counted “would be, in a way, not respecting another democratic country, which happens to be our largest trading partner.”

That position, Kergin acknowledged, amounts to an implicit repudiation of Trump, who is arguing that counting of mail-in ballots should be stopped.

“But you are, I think, in line with what you perceive as a democratic process as it’s established in the constitution.,” he said. “You don’t get into the question of what are legitimate ballots and what are illegitimate ballots.”



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The US election result is uncertain — these are Trump and Biden’s paths to victory


2020 has been a strange and uncertain year, and true to form, it has delivered a strange and uncertain US election result. Here’s where we’re at.

The US election is currently too close to call — both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have legitimate paths to victory and it could be days before a winner is confirmed.

As he foreshadowed before the election, that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from prematurely claiming he won. Here’s why that’s not true, and an outline of the paths each man has to victory from here.

A proportional map of the United States’ electoral college

To win the presidency, Trump or Biden needs to win a majority of electoral college votes. The key number for victory is 270.

Each of those votes is represented on this map as a single hexagon.

Each state is allocated a number of votes that is loosely based on population. The largest state, California, has 55, while the smallest states, like North Dakota, have the minimum number of three.

Most states award their votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote.

First up, let’s award electoral votes to both candidates based on ‘safe’ states, those that the Democrats and Republicans win reliably every four years.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
An early win for Trump in Florida

Immediately, this puts Biden ahead. But there are still plenty of votes up for grabs in the battleground states.

An early win for Trump in the south

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Trump won Georgia and North Carolina in 2016

The Biden campaign’s hopes of a quick victory were scuttled early, as Trump took the perennial swing state of Florida by a greater margin than he did in 2016, defying the 2020 polls.

In Miami-Dade, the largest county in the state and one of its most Democratic-leaning, Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton’s result from 2016 by about 10 points.

While the Democrats won about as many votes in the county as they did last time, Republicans received hundreds of thousands extra, contributing to the blowout.

But Florida seems to be somewhat of an outlier in the south in terms of its electoral swing.

Donald Trump won Georgia by 5 per cent in 2016, and North Carolina by more than 3.5 per cent.

They are both currently too close to call.

Trump has falsely claimed to have won Georgia, but while he holds a small lead in the count, the remaining ballots are in areas that have voted heavily for Joe Biden.

A burst water pipe delayed the count in Democrat-leaning Atlanta, and voting officials reportedly went home for the night, so we will not have a result until Thursday (Australian time) at the earliest.

In North Carolina, Trump is ahead, but the state will continue accepting mail-in ballots, which favour Biden, for several days, making this result still uncertain.

If the swing to Biden is enough to flip either of these states, then Trump’s path to victory gets significantly harder.

It isn’t just these two states that have seen a swing away from the President.

Trump won Texas, a Republican heartland, and its 38 electoral votes easily — but by a smaller margin than his almost 10 per cent win over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Trump also won Texas

Travelling further west we come to the first of Joe Biden’s most likely pickups — Arizona.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Arizona is leaning towards Biden

The state has not voted for a Democrat since Bill Clinton won it in 1996, but off the back of massive margins in votes cast before election day, Joe Biden is currently favoured to flip the state. Fox News, AP and ABC elections analyst Antony Green have all declared a victory for the Democrats.

In nearby Nevada, a state that voted for Clinton in 2016 but which the Trump team targeted during the campaign, Biden is just ahead, with only some mail ballots left to count.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Nevada is still a toss up

No-one is calling the state yet, but if Biden manages to hold on then it would give him a cushion in the region where it looks likely, just like in 2016, the election will be decided – the Midwest states that turned against Hillary Clinton.

Will the rust belt flip again?

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
The rust belt is still a battleground

With the southern and western states out of the way, attention turns to the Midwest, where Trump forged his path to victory in 2016.

Iowa and Ohio, both considered toss-ups at various stages during the campaign, have produced healthy margins for the Republicans.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Iowa and Ohio have produced heavy margins for the Republicans

Meanwhile, Minnesota, which voted Democrat by 1.5 points in 2016, has done the same again this year, albeit in vastly greater numbers, as has New Hampshire.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Minnesota and New Hampshire went to the Democrats

The state of Nebraska has voted for Trump, but is one of two states which gives two votes to the statewide winner and a vote to the winner of each of its congressional districts.

After voting for Trump in 2016, one of those districts, which contains the more blue-leaning capital, Omaha, has flipped to Biden.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Biden flipped one of Nebraska’s districts

This single vote could prove decisive in the event of a tight result.

So once again, assuming Trump holds on in the southern states of Georgia and North Carolina, the race will come down to three states which all voted Democrat for decades until they flipped to Trump last election.

Biden needs only two of these states to scrape over the line.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Two of these three states are enough to get Biden over the line

The high proportion of mail ballots, which are still being counted, means all three races are too close to call.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
These three races are too close to call

Wisconsin has a hard deadline of election day for accepting mail-in ballots, and has given the electorate a taste of what to expect in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Donald Trump led early on, only for Joe Biden to take a slender lead as postal votes were counted — though the result still remains uncertain.

Michigan and Pennsylvania will accept ballots after election day. If the count is close, we may not know the result in either state for days at least.

So what are the remaining paths to victory?

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
All five of these states are too close to call

Unless he claws back the margin to take Nevada off Biden, Donald Trump needs to win at least four of the key battleground states to stay in office.

He could win Georgia, North Carolina, and at least two of the rust belt states.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Trump taking all but Pennsylvania would secure victory

Or he could win the rust belt and North Carolina.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
All but Georgia would also give Trump the required votes

Biden, on the other hand, has more options, needing to win fewer of the outstanding states.

If he wins Georgia, which is currently too close to call, he would only need one of the Midwest states to get past 270 votes.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
At this stage, Biden only needs Georgia and North Carolina

But even if he doesn’t win Georgia he currently would only need two of the rust belt states.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Two of the three rust belt states is enough for Biden

But this election has thrown up a combination of scenarios only fitting for an uncertain year like 2020, so it’s clear at this point that anything could still happen — including potential court challenges.

Graphic showing an allocation of electoral college votes
Nothing is certain at this stage

The US is in for a tense few days as the votes continue to be counted, but it’s important to remember that it’s not Donald Trump or news organisations like the ABC that declare the winner, but the official electoral bodies for each state.

Be patient.

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Canada’s economic recovery heading towards an uncertain future after a sunny summer


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“We expect business investment to remain weak as uncertainty persists and exports to grow only slowly,” Macklem said, according to acopy of his remarks. “When we add it up, the Governing Council projects that the economy will still be operating below its potential into 2023.”

Some of the growth through the summer months was generated by hard-hit businesses that are once again subject to restrictions, such as bars, restaurants and gyms. Other sectors, like education, have had one-off booms in activity.

Statistics Canada said the education industry expanded by 3.4 per cent in August as schools prepared for students to return to classrooms. This activity, the agency said, “partly contributed to an atypical August increase in an atypical year as educational services continue to recover from low spring levels.”

Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter on Fridaysaid he suspects that fewer restrictions, ongoing financial support from governments and the way that consumers and businesses have adapted to the pandemic could make for a more forgiving slowdown.

Porter and BMO expect “modest growth overall” for the fourth quarter of 2020, although that forecast could be subject to pandemic-caused uncertainty.

“While no big surprise, the August GDP report (and September flash) is another signal that the Canadian economy responded to the initial reopening with more force than generally expected,” he said. “The way forward has been deeply clouded by the second wave and renewed restrictions, so growth will cool considerably in (the fourth quarter).”

• Email: gzochodne@nationalpost.com | Twitter:





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Melbourne retailers exasperated over uncertain future


“I think employment will be the next major challenge. It will be about how many hours we can give to people.”

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Mr Andrews emphasised on Sunday the government wanted to wait to analyse test results and ensure an outbreak of the virus in the northern suburbs was under control before a further ease of restrictions.

Suburban shopping strip operators expressed their dismay with having to wait longer for re-opening news. Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said the uncertainty was “frankly inhumane” given the case numbers. The state record seven new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the 14-day rolling average below five.

“We are just eight weeks out from social distancing with Santa, but far from getting into the spirit,” she said.

Third Drawer Down owner Abigail Crompton.

Other smaller retailers said despite their disappointment, the safety of their customer bases and communities was front of mind.

“The main thing is that we’re all safe – and that we are doing everything that we can to get through this crisis,” said founder of Fitzroy homewares store and artists studio Third Drawer Down, Abigail Crompton.

Ms Crompton said retailers around the globe had been learning to cope with daily uncertainty in the face of the pandemic.

While the Melbourne store has been closed since April, Third Drawer Down’s wholesale business was continuing to thrive in other Australian states, she said.

“Today was disappointing, the idea of reopening is a lovely idea…I’m excited to go back and see it [retail] differently,” she said.

“It doesn’t have to be seven-days-a-week [in store]. The online experience is vital for any good retailer.”

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra, said even a two day wait for reopening news would hurt businesses into Christmas.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra, said even a two day wait for reopening news would hurt businesses into Christmas. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Australian Retailers’ Association chief executive Paul Zahra said while safety of customers was paramount, the sector was tired and frustrated by the unknowns given Victoria was now under an average of five cases a day.

“We’re exasperated, and it appears the goal posts have moved,” he said.

Even if retailers only had to wait until mid-week for more updates, this short time period would still take a toll, he said.

“It’s just been a rollercoaster of expectations, disappointments and delays. I just think every day counts.”

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Giro d’Italia rider Fernando Gaviria tests positive to coronavirus, as race faces uncertain fate


Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria has become the latest cyclist to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus as the race heads toward an uncertain conclusion this weekend.

A staff member for Team AG2R La Mondiale was the only other positive out of 492 tests carried out on Sunday and Monday to coincide with the race’s second rest day, organisers RCS Sport said.

The race is scheduled to end on Sunday in Milan, the capital of the Lombardy region, which is putting in place a nightly curfew beginning on Thursday because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in an area already hit hard during the first wave of infections.

Two other stages in the final week of the race are also slated to ride through Lombardy.

Race director Mauro Vegni has said from the start that the race’s greatest achievement would be reaching the finish in Milan.

The three-week event was already rescheduled from its usual slot in May because of the pandemic.

Gaviria’s UAE Team Emirates said the rider “was immediately isolated following the test result and is feeling well and is completely asymptomatic”.

The team noted that Gaviria also had COVID-19 in March.

Gaviria has won five stages at the Giro during his career — four in 2017 and one in 2019, plus two stages at the 2018 Tour de France.

Overall contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk had already been withdrawn from the race after testing positive, as had Australian standout Michael Matthews.

Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team and Kruijswijk’s Jumbo-Visma team withdrew their entire squads last week following a series of positive results from the first rest day.

Team Emirates said all of its other riders and staff came back negative in the latest round of exams. The team added that its medical staff was “monitoring the situation closely and doing all they can to ensure that we can proceed safely”.

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Italy added another 10,874 confirmed coronavirus infections to its official toll on Tuesday.

The Government has implemented new restrictions to curb nightlife and socialising in hopes of slowing the resurging outbreak.

Another 89 people died, bringing Italy’s official COVID-19 death toll to 36,705, the second highest in Europe after Britain.

A face-mask wearing cyclist in a pink jersey sprays champagne after a Giro d'Italia stage.
João Almeida still holds the leader’s pink jersey with five days left in the Giro d’Italia.(AP/LaPresse: Marco Alpozzi)

Portuguese rider João Almeida leads the race by 17 seconds ahead of Dutch rival Wilco Kelderman.

Team Bahrain-McLaren’s Jan Tratnik earned his first stage victory in a Grand Tour by winning the 16th stage, beating Australian rider Ben O’Connor by seven seconds at the end of the hilly 229 kilometre route from Udine to San Daniele del Friuli.

Neither of them had ever won a stage in a Grand Tour and both entered the final stretch together.

However, it was Tratnik who crossed the line first, with his arms outstretched and tears streaming down his face. O’Connor — riding for NTT Pro Cycling — thumped the handlebars in frustration.

AP/ABC



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Why East Africa crude oil exports remain uncertain


Ideas & Debate

Why East Africa crude oil exports remain uncertain

Cycles of delayed investments have exhausted the patience and interest of citizens and local enterprises, who have been waiting to enjoy promised oil and gas fortunes. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Since 2014, global and regional oil and gas sectors have been making more misses than hits with no certainty when turnaround will happen, mainly due to doubts about future oil demands and prices. And as the sector remains down and subdued, the climate change advocates are relentlessly and successfully firing renewable energy bullets, leaving oil investors unsure of what risks to take in new oil ventures. Year after year investors are finding every excuse to postpone Final Investment Decisions (FIDs) on new investments.

And the East African host governments have inadvertently— and often wrongly — played it “tough” with investors while failing to read and interpret global investment moods and predicaments. Official slowness, indecisions, policy flip-flops, have often given investors good reasons to justify their own investment predicaments and delays.

Cycles of delayed investments have exhausted the patience and interest of citizens and local enterprises, who have been waiting to enjoy promised oil and gas fortunes. Yes, oil and gas frenzy in East Africa is all but diminished. Even the governments cannot categorically, and with certainty, say when first oil will be commercialised.

Let us look at Kenya which discovered and confirmed commercial oil reserves in year 2012. The anchor investor, Tullow, has all but “withdrawn” from Turkana oil, with no obvious “capital-ready” investors to take its place. For quite a while, Tullow collapse was inevitable due to under-performance of their global ventures, and Tullow’s evident under capitalisation. The Covid-19 pandemic did not cause Tullow’s collapse – it only accelerated it. A force majeure justified on Covid-19 is a bit wobbly and difficult to convince Kenyans.

With no obvious readiness by any investor to take a risk with Turkana oil deposits, no one can with certainty claim to know when (or if) Kenya will export first oil. With oil export netbacks obviously below oil production costs, and with no firm commitments on the oil export pipeline, and with the growing green energy momentum, Turkana oil is likely to remain in the ground for much longer.

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Uganda’s oil (discovered in 2006) faces the same woes and predicaments as Kenya’s. However, the better capitalised investors (Total and the Chinese CNOOC) and higher crude oil volumes with better economies of scale give Uganda better baseline chances of success than Kenya.

However, Total (the presumptive anchor investor in Uganda) is not immune to ongoing budgetary rationalisation that all major oil companies are going through due to diminished cashflows from low oil prices. It is also facing the same green renewable challenges confronting major oil companies in transition from “oil companies” to “energy companies”.

Further, delays in finalising investment decisions and commitments on crude oil export infrastructure through Tanzania, are not helping Total to commit FID on crude oil production.

Uganda government apparent slowness and policy inflexibility may also be helping investors to justify their own unreadiness to commit FIDs. The Chinese CNOOC partner will likely wait and follow the course of action taken by Total. Yes, Uganda cannot say with certainty when first oil will be exported or locally refined.

In Tanzania it is the natural gas story which is either commercialised locally as “natural gas” or planned for offshore exports as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Tanzania has over the past decade successfully commercialised natural gas for local power generation and industrial fuel replacing imported fuel oil.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel with a lower carbon footprint and is currently categorised as an acceptable “transition energy” towards renewable energy, giving it a green lease of life, perhaps for another decade before climate change advocates pounce on it.

It is in export LNG investments where Tanzania may have been too slow and over-cautious in finalising investment policies, laws, and regulations.

Investors have been waiting for years with ready cash, with some losing patience and withdrawing their interest and participation.

It is Mozambicans who are the regional leaders in FIDs, with billions of dollars of investments already committed for LNG development and exports with futures export orders and contracts firmed up.

For Kenya and Uganda oil is a case of either missed or delayed opportunities, a victim of both global and local circumstances.



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Collingwood deal to come for Darcy Moore but length uncertain in times of coronavirus


Moore, however, was definite about one thing at least: he wants to remain with Collingwood.

“[I’m] loving playing here and this season has given the group a chance to live together and live in each other’s pockets at times and it has definitely brought us closer together so it’s a good place to be and I would love to stay,” Moore said.

Going nowhere: Darcy Moore is committed to the Pies.

Going nowhere: Darcy Moore is committed to the Pies.Credit:Getty Images

The Magpies want him to stay too and are working on getting both his and injured forward Jordan De Goey’s signatures before the season is over despite not knowing for sure what list sizes or the annual TPP will be once the mid-term CBA review is completed.

Moore’s body has become more reliable in recent seasons after a spate of soft-tissue problems kept him sidelined in the 2018 finals series with his absence felt in the grand final. He said he has worked hard to refine his program to give himself the best chance of staying fit and performing well.

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But for Moore, his biggest priority is helping the Magpies bounce out of a patch of poor form against North Melbourne on Monday night and find a spot in the finals.

“We have got a chance to reset now and this group has shown over the last two or three years we can be super-resilient … we have done it before and we can do it again,” Moore said.

“We are out of form at the moment and we have to turn it around.”

He said the nine-day break was welcome after a series of four games in 14 days and he expected both Collingwood and North Melbourne to hit hard in the contest.

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He described the break as “a chance to reset” saying Collingwood had to “put great pressure on the opposition. That’s the hallmark of our game and that really fell apart against Melbourne so we will be keen to rectify that against North.”

The Magpies defender said when the players heard that the Aboriginal flag was privately owned they saw that as an affront and wanted to support the Free The Flag movement.

“We wanted to be able to signal to Australia and the world that we stand with the Aboriginal community and we are proud of the contribution they have made to our club and the league and we want to be able to show that,” Moore said.

“The fact that we can’t without paying for it … is something we have got an issue with.”

Collingwood’s Travis Varcoe spoke to the players about the issue on Wednesday ahead of the Sir Doug Nicholls Round and what it means to see the Aboriginal flag displayed.

“To hear what it means to be able to display our Aboriginal flag on our jumper was pretty moving and definitely solidified the group’s commitment to the cause,” Moore said.

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