Asian Oil & Gas Awards welcomes Tim Rockell as one of its judges

Rockell has project experience in strategy, risk, deal advisory, and management consulting.

Tim Rockell is the founder of the advisory firm Energy Strat Asia, which is focused on supporting specialist services and technology companies in the energy, oil & gas, infrastructure, and transportation sectors. His local and international client base includes innovative companies developing and growing their footprint in Asia.

He also supports the development and execution of his client’s customer and investor propositions for start-ups and scale-ups. Rockell has relationships with large energy companies interfacing with government, regulators, academia, and financial players.

He has project experience in strategy, risk, deal advisory, and management consulting. 

Rockell spent over two decades in KPMG in roles, establishing and building the Energy & Natural Resources sector practice. In his global executive role with the firm , he coordinated relationships with leading industry bodies such as the World Petroleum Council and the patron’s programme with the World Energy Council. 

He is also a regular participant in the Singapore Energy Summit at the Singapore International Energy Week, hosting several regulatory and panel sessions over the years.

Rockell, in a chat with Asian Power, provided insights as to how start-ups and scale-up companies can leverage digital technologies to remain relevant in the industry. He mentioned that these organisations should primarily focus on the value of their innovations rather than the technology itself.

“I think that 2023 will be a year when we see a number of start-ups, or scale-ups needing new funding, struggle or fail because they have not understood the commercial proposition and are yet to know the drivers of investor behaviour,” he said.

With the industry slowly transitioning to renewable resources, how do you manage to adapt to this?

It’s important that those in the energy industry stand up for the sector and deliver messages that this is a transition and not a binary switch from oil & gas to renewables. There is much that is needed from the traditional industry in the renewables sector including technical standards, project management, logistics, economic, and financial as well as human capacity. Renewables need to be built at scale with suitable baseload, storage and backup with grid upgrades to ensure access. This update and replacement of existing embedded infrastructure are needed for the reliable and secure supply of energy from clean sources that the world is accustomed to receiving and that regulators and customers are demanding. 

How can start-ups and scale-up companies leverage digital technology for them to maintain being relevant in the oil & gas sector?

This is tough. You are always having to change mindsets in industries where the priority has been to keep the molecules flowing. There are opportunities in asset integrity, operations and management, in demand prediction, and energy efficiency. AI is great, but users must ensure that a platform or service is solving the whole problem, ideally end-to-end, through manageable insights that drive decision-making rather than just presenting data or information. My advice is always to focus on the value your innovation brings and not the technology behind the solution itself. I hear of companies who have adopted IOT facing a million red flags a day on their dashboards which is completely useless as a solution. 

I think that 2023 will be a year when we see a number of start-ups, or scale-ups needing new funding, fail because they have not understood the commercial proposition and are yet to know the drivers of investor behaviour. Those that have bootstrapped their companies and taken the chance to get on the road in Asia in 2022 have a better idea of value and chance of success than those who have received grants in my view.

How did your experience from various roles shaped you and helped you hone your professional career?

My 30-year career spanning the United Kingdom and Europe, seven years in the Middle East and now based in Singapore for over 10 years has given me deep insights into regions and markets and an understanding of the drivers of decision-makers. This is key as most projects are change-management in flavour even if they don’t start that way.  I like to think that whilst I can dive in deep to address an issue or challenge, I can also see an opportunity from a broader stakeholder and issue perspective. 

As an industry leader, what advice would you give to young and upcoming professionals who are aspiring to take a similar career path as yours?

That’s quite easy. Understand the country that you live in and work in from an economic and regulatory perspective. Keep your skills honed through postgraduate and professional courses. These can be short or long-term. Always join an institute and get involved in the local chapter or committee. Help organise networking or other community activities. Volunteer to review or provide technical inputs. In my view, the more you put in the more you will develop as a professional and grow your network. Volunteering should not be seen as ‘what can I get out of this effort in the short term.’

As a judge in the Asian Oil & Gas Awards, what do you think is the key component that sets the winning initiative apart from its competitors?

Judges are looking for true innovation. Something that moves the needle. It can be a project that had great achievements in a short period of time or one that impacted the direction of a department or whole organisation. Communicating this clearly, ideally, one page is much better than sending in pages of PDFs and general brochures. As I’ve been asked to judge a few things in my life, believe me, the shorter your entry the clearer it becomes.

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