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Energy Innovators: Ringing in an Age of Enlightenment

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1999

manage pressure like that with group outings. There is a lot of camaraderie and joking that goes on [at] the desk that helps relieve the tension of working on a really big transaction.

What has been your biggest success with weather derivatives?

There are different benchmarks of success relative to where you are at any point in time. For us in the weather market, when we did our first transaction, hey, that was terrific. When we did our hundredth transaction, hey, that is also terrific. When we feel we have closed out a year and we made more money than we expected to make or we thought that we could make, that in itself is fantastic. You sort of have to savor all the small victories as you go along, but you can't spend a whole lot of time on them because there is too much work to do.

What is your mandate in your business? How has it changed?

The mandate has been to go out and build a set of profitable businesses that fit within Enron's other businesses. Clearly, weather has an impact on many of Enron's other businesses. The mandate I don't think has changed, except to the extent that now that the business exists, [the mandate is] go out and make it bigger, make it better and more profitable. In order to do that, we certainly focus on building the industry and not just our desk.

What insights have you learned at Enron?

Clearly, three years ago, four years ago, we did not know this market existed. The lesson here is there is always an opportunity. It is just a matter of locating it and being able to recognize that things that have been accepted for ages don't have to stay that way. No one ever believes that they can hedge or do anything about the weather. Now there is a product out there that can help them do that. The fact that I helped bring that product to market and help that industry develop, really, I think, is a testament to Enron giving me the latitude to go out and do that.

Tell me about the Weather Risk Management Association.

The Weather Risk Management Association was launched by myself, and by Jim Gosselin of Castlebridge Partners, Darren Wilcox of Southern Co., Ravi Nathan of Aquila Energy and Jeff Porter of Koch Industries. The idea behind it is to bring together some of the industry players and create a forum where people who are interested in this marketplace can come to seminars sponsored by the WRMA. [Interested parties] can also go to the website put together by the WRMA and get information effectively from the horse's mouth, if you will, as opposed to having to rely on third-party articles or conferences.

What's the future for weather derivatives?

Big - very big. We have already done a number of European deals. I see growth in Asia, Japan, Australia and in the Southern cone. There is just an enormous amount of interest right now.

What has been your sweetest victory?