History

"We were going to figure out a better way to forecast price trend shifts, leaving no stone unturned – because the indicators had to be somewhere"

With early beginnings in the geosciences, petroleum, and engineering, our firm was conceived out of an inherent frustration within the oil & gas industry: Why couldn’t anyone seem to do a decent job in forecasting its absurd economic swings? Major projects started, then major projects suspended or abandoned. Start something, place it on hold, or terminate it. Everyone listening to the same forecasters, making decisions based on poor analysis, and suffering the consequences.

The quest began back in the mid ‘90s, Gil Dawson, a founding partner, had just left a production management role with a major integrated oil & gas company in the UK. He recognized that despite all of their vaunted expertise, the business strategy was to essentially to spend their cash flow all the time, resulting in nominal ROI, much to his frustration.

Enter Gil’s friend and colleague, Duncan Robertson, who had started, managed and sold a variety of companies and interests in the oil & gas industry. Duncan too had experienced major down cycles where projects were cancelled, budgets were cut, and people were laid off. While working as consultants to the energy industry together, they asked – was there any way to work in this industry without getting burned?

They came to a personal decision: come hell or high water, they were going to figure out a better way to forecast price trend shifts, leaving no stone unturned – because the indicators had to be somewhere. Gil and Duncan combed oil and gas connections, publications and resources to find data and information, analyze it, and painstakingly begin to build their own unique model for commodity price indicators.

This was what you might call Turnstone’s first chapter – and it took over two years and thousands of hours of tinkering.

The upstart, then called SBM Inc., which stood for Scenario Based Management, gained a few curious clients, but was also met with a great deal of skepticism, i.e. “Who are these guys? Why are they going out on a limb to disagree with all the big-name analysts?” Then 2007 arrived. Despite SBM’s overwhelming proclamations that oil & natural gas prices should drop drastically, prices kept rising. Energy companies thought it was smooth sailing. But within a few months, the huge market crash of 2008 happened. SBM’s clients that would have folded were saved, and a couple made millions. Prospective clients that were “on the fence” finally leaped on board.

Today, SBM has been rebranded to our current name, Turnstone Strategy Inc., symbolic of our “leaving no stone unturned” philosophy, with a client list of leading energy companies, investment firms, and large commercial consumers. As a boutique firm, we are still often the lone dissenting voice among mainstream energy advisors. But that is precisely why we make public proclamations– and watch these predictions come to fruition time and time again. By leaving no stone unturned, we definitely have been able to put the future on our side, and our clients’.