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Professor Ricardo Raineri, Former Energy Minister of Chile Visits the School

Durham University Business School’s MSc Finance and Economics Programmes and Centre for Environmental and Energy Economics (CE3) welcomed Professor Ricardo Raineri to the School in June to present his lecture: ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Development and Financing of Energy Projects’. Professor Raineri is the former Energy Minister of Chile and the immediate past President of the International Associate for Energy Economics (IAEE).

Professor Raineri is a prominent economist and energy specialist, with a track record of international engagement with business and industrial stakeholders. During his visit, Professor Raineri also spoke with current MSc students at the School, sharing his career insights and knowledge about the energy sector.

Tell us about your early education and career. Why did you decide to pursue a career in energy economics?

“I am 100% an economist and proud. I hold a Bachelor in Economics and Business Engineering and Masters in Economics degrees from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. I also have a Masters and PhD in Economics from the University of Minnesota. My career began after receiving a job offer in the Industrial Engineering Department at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. From there, I started developing my profession working on different economic issues in areas such as business, regulation and technology, where I have worked with engineers, lawyers and other social scientists on energy-related issues. This is how I first got involved in the energy industry.”

“Throughout my career I have taken on several roles, including; Chairperson of the Board at the Chilean State Oil Company; Alternative Executive Director at the Board of the World Bank Group; former Energy Minister of Chile; and 2017 President of the International Associate for Energy Economics. I am also a Board Member of a 160 year old Chilean Company in the energy and mining sectors, Schwager.”

What did you learn during your time as Energy Minister of Chile?

“I learned a lot in this role. As Energy Minister of Chile I was responsible for the country energy policy, and the promotion and surveillance of the sector, which takes on the electric sector, alternative energy sources, and oil and gas sectors, which comprise of public and private interests, and the relation with other ministries, the Congress and the international relations on energy issues.”

“I also learned the importance of working as a team and on reaching broad consensus. Sometimes when you are in the political arena, what might be the best solution is not always achievable, so it is important to work with your team to develop the right plan and to get the political support for it.”

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing a career in the energy sector?

“Academic knowledge, business, and technical knowledge – as they are learning at Durham – are fundamental in the energy sector. Understanding market behaviour is key to making the right decisions, for example, in terms of energy investments. I advise students to continue to build their competences; developing a further understanding of both the private and public sectors, and a deep understanding of how things work and how different variables change the sector.”

“I also advise students to follow their dreams. Sometimes I would say that life opens new doors that you didn’t expect – you never know where you will be in the next couple of years. And, never give up!”

You can find out more about the Centre for Environmental and Energy Economics at Durham University Business School here.