I had the chance yesterday to visit with David Klien, head of a new data offerings from EnerKnol, a company who is described on their website as providing “U.S. energy policy research and data services to support investment decisions across all sectors of the energy industry.” Enerknol will soon be coming to market with what is, as far as I can tell, a new class of data for any business that owns energy assets or trades/markets energy commodities – “energy regulatory data”.
In most energy utility, production, processing, trading and marketing companies in the US, tracking changes to regulatory rules or policies falls within a specialized group that spends their days reading websites and pdfs issued by the myriad of regulatory agencies that oversees the various parts of their business dealings, from local or state level agencies all the way up to the feds such as FERC and NERC. Unfortunately, many times these regulatory groups live a bit in isolation, and while tied closely to the legal groups, they usually interact with the commercial groups on an irregular basis, either to inform of an inevitable change that may impact the company’s operations or to seek information should the company wish to challenge or comment on pending regs. Given that these regulatory analysts aren’t in the real-time loop of the commercial operations, they may not always have full clarity as to the potential impacts the pending or announced regulations will have on business, leaving the commercial groups to play catch-up with regulations instead of being able to anticipate the impacts and proactively adjust.
According to David, Enerknol will change this by providing a fully parsed live stream of regulatory data to whoever needs it, including asset managers, traders, analysts, and any others that may be impacted by regulation being formulated or promulgated in their areas of interest. Enerknol has identified more than 2000 separate agencies that set the rules for the energy business in the US, and has been developing web scraping tools for each, turning reams of PDFs and thousands of web postings into easily consumable data. With some 700 sites already in production, the company has taken the scraped data and, via their own algorithms, created a metadata cloud with all that information fully classified, categorized and tagged. With over a million documents now in their data cloud, anyone with a subscription to the service can identify all relevant regulatory changes that can or will impact any and all aspects of their business. Maybe more interesting though, and beyond simple regulatory tracking, users will also be able to look back at historical rule changes and, when combined with price or volumetric data, be able to measure the market impacts of those rule changes, informing them of the potential future impacts from pending or proposed changes.
While the product is not yet available, the company is planning its roll-out in the next several months through both direct sales and via channel partners. Given that this industry is being constantly pounded by regulatory change and intervention, it certainly seems an appropriate time for such an offering. We’ll keep watching as they near the first release of this new data product.