Special issue

Charlotte Bucchioni

Associate Editor EMEA, S&P Global Platts

London, United Kingdom

Television promised zombies, aliens, or another asteroid for the fall of this civilization, but really it is just working from home and singing happy birthday to yourself twice as you wash your hands.

I considered myself lucky to have found a job when the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic started to take hold, and what a year it was for the energy industry. They often say the best way to learn is to get thrown into the deep end, and I guess I was, along with everybody else.

Out of my year and half working, only 5 months were spent in the office, and I am one of the lucky ones for which the transition was smooth, considering the company’s flexible policies. Most of my working from home days were spent on phone calls to the various stakeholders across Europe, North and West Africa, talking about crude trade flows, but mostly about their personal lives. Everyone being stuck at home made discussions easier and more open. People started sharing the little things that break their monotonous days, be their discoveries in the kitchen, new tv shows, painting, yoga, or horticulture. Lucky were those with dogs to walk outside with, and luckier were the dogs. Several walks a day as each household member wants to break free of the four walls that have become their prisons – they must feel like they have won. (Bonus point if your pet passes by during a Zoom call!)

Another big part of last year was the participation in webinars, a previously trivial task that suddenly became vital for maintaining good connections across the industry. Weak Wi-Fi connectivity and firewall issues became the new dauting daily concern, but these webinars also widened the reach of events and provided new contacts to connect with.

My hope is that we may come out of the pandemic as a more resilient society. The initial panic (and we all remember the stockpiling of toilet paper and dry pasta of the first months) was followed by episodes of solidarity between individuals. Being from Milan, my heart soared seeing the viral videos of Italians singing in unison from their balconies as a way to keep spirits high during the very first lockdowns.

While I am looking forward to taking a plane back home, I also hope we draw our new relationship with nature and treasure the improvements we have witnessed this year. I have found the trees to look greener, the dolphins are now back in Venice, and there is no longer trash in the streets, and the UK saw the sunniest calendar month on record in May 2020 as much less chemtrails crisscrossed the sky. I shall hope we can build a future which combines efficient management of resources and resilient systems.