The Scottish Oil Club is a national forum for the presentation and discussion of views on the economic, industrial, technological and political aspects of petroleum and other energy resources. The programme of regular meetings gives members of the club the chance to hear briefings by specialists of international standing. Members enjoy opportunities for lively and informed debate in informal surroundings, and benefit from networking with others from a range of energy-related enterprises.
The Club’s origins date back to 1975 when it was founded as The Edinburgh and Leith Petroleum Club. In the autumn of 1998, the Club merged with the Glasgow-based Oil Club and changed its name to The Scottish Oil Club. Regular monthly meetings are held over the Autumn, Winter and Spring.
The Scottish Oil Club is a key non-profit energy NGO and a highly credible energy discussion forum with significant membership across Scotland, Europe, and the world. The diverse membership is drawn from the energy industry and its supporting service companies. The membership includes decision/policy makers, financial sector analysts, trade, academics and consulting--a true breadth of experience and knowledge. The Club values all opinions and aims to facilitate discussion and debate of topical issues, research, and projects across the full energy spectrum for all those keen to deliver their views to our members, or wishing to challenge our collective experience. The Club also enables invaluable networking at the industry level, and across peer groups. All are welcome to hear the presentations, debate the discussion and learn more about the energy sector than they probably knew before.
The following is an edited version of an email written by Kenneth Inglis, a long-time member of The Scottish Oil Club. Kenneth wrote this c. 2006 in an email to the Executive Secretary of The Scottish Oil Club.
To the best of my knowledge, the Glasgow and Edinburgh "Oil Clubs" were both dreamt up on a return flight from an OTC (Offshore Technology Conference) in Houston in the 1970s, attended by several Scottish representatives who had declared an interest in "getting-in-on" North Sea development. The then (or recent) Chairman of Scottish Enterprise, a Glasgow lawyer, along with a Lanark accountant decided to form the "Glasgow Oil Club" as a dining club (black ties) to which a distinguished speaker would be invited. Occasionally the speaker would have oil links but not necessarily so. The dinners were a marked social success and satisfied many of the Club's members in that format.
I am uncertain who the Edinburgh linked delegates were (probably they had an engineering or oil background) but they took a sterner attitude to their mission, inviting an oil linked speaker to address them in a Leith pub once a month in a very convivial atmosphere. I remember it well as I was invited (while still with BP) to speak to the Club in 1978 or 1979. There was from the start a conventional club structure with a chairman, secretary, treasurer and board of directors--who enjoyed the support of the then Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures who provided the administrative back-up. The Chamber's Secretary was, before I took over, also the Club Secretary. Interest in the club widened to include financial and legal firms in Edinburgh and the LPC became the ELPC. At the same time, it slightly lost its sense of purpose and direction.
Tony Willcocks, in charge of BP's office in Edinburgh set up to await the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, took over the Presidency, organised the first Scottish Oil Clubs' Dinner at Prestonfield House, and attracted speakers such as David Simon, now Lord Simon of Highbury, soon to be made Chairman of BP. The Chamber was anxious to disentangle itself from the Club now that it was established, if going through a shaky period. Tony decided to change the organisation by inviting an individual to take over the administration who would also be expected to "drive" the Club as Executive Secretary. Tony invited me to tackle this role - and you probably know the story from there on.
The (first?) Scottish Oil Clubs' Dinner at Prestonfield had some drawbacks - the Stables were still very drafty and Barry Manilow had held his beer-soaked farewell party there the night before. On its eve, Tony's assistant secretary, who was doing the admin for the dinner, locked herself in BP's front porch until rescued in late evening by a passing taxi driver who fortunately heard her cries of distress.
There were many reasons to move two years later to the then NB. Success bred success and the facilities and space of the new Edinburgh Sheraton were essential to house the record number of over 500 diners and some twelve hospitality suites - life was different then. The Aberdeen Club had been notional co-sponsors of the Dinner but dropped out after the first - being more of a Country and Golf Club than anything else.
It was shortly after this that we changed the format of our monthly-in-season meetings from an address for members followed by a dinner for the speaker and the directors only - to the format which I think you still adopt. This proved a great success and induced many members who belonged to both Glasgow and Edinburgh Clubs to accord priority to the then George Street occasions.
Thanks to one of the Club's directors being a member of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, we were able to hold our golf meeting with the Glasgow club at Muirfield every second year. The trophy for the winners was gifted to the Club by the Muirfield member and the actual first Secretary of the LPC.
One failure on our part was to gain support for Tony's proposal that the Club should be an Energy Club - fifteen years before the Institute of Petroleum became the Energy Institute and twenty years before BP has chosen to be known as an Energy Corporation rather than an oil company. (The failure stemmed from the lack of a "quorum" at the AGM - after which we invited a charismatic speaker to speak after each AGM and we never lacked a quorum again.)
Going through Tony's initiatives, I feel it was little wonder that we introduced a class of "Honorary" Members about the same time as we introduced Corporate Membership - and appointed Tony Willcocks as the first Honorary Member. I hope you feel that some of the success that the Club enjoys now stems from the efforts then to save it from almost certain demise and to set it on an expanding course.
With best wishes,