Your average management consultant wouldn’t know a Kimmeridge limestone if it cracked him on the bazzer with a cricket bat.

Good management consultants are few and far between.  The world famous John Caswell of Group Partners is one of them.  John’s brilliant – better than brilliant.  That’s why he advises the bosses of some of the biggest corporations on the globe as well as world leaders.

And I’ve also been impressed by Ernst and Young over the years.  So I read with interest the latest EY report on the now famous Horse Hill oil strike at Gatwick Airport..

Ernst and Young are the third big global consultancy to look at Horse Hill and what it all means.

When somebody smart, in a suit, with a degree from MIT or Harvard pipes up and says it’s 124 Billion barrels of oil in the UK’s Weald Basin, what do these numbers actually mean?

They’re just numbers.  Or are they?

Numbers are important because they inform and guide important strategic decisions, management plans and operational considerations.  But they’re still just numbers.

The experienced oil men will put these into the context of the bigger picture.  Is it recoverable?  At what flow rate?  What’s the quality of the oil?  Project forwards?  What are the long term strategic, political and economic factors?  Bottom line – what is the potential upside for the business?  And the risks?

But at the end of the day it’s also about more than that.

It’s about jobs.  People’s livelihoods.

EY reckon 300- 1,500 jobs in the Southeast of England, and 990 – 5,600 jobs nationwide as a direct consequence.  And the multipliers that attach to real jobs. Just think about that for a moment.  We’re talking about real people and families like yours and mine, folks.  Families sustained, mortgages paid, children educated, dreams realised.  These aren’t empty numbers.  This is wealth created.  Real impact.

I’m sick and tired of whingers moaning about how shitty the economy is or how expensive things are.  Get out there and generate wealth.  Create something new. Add value.  Make it happen!

EY reckon the tax man’ll get £2 – £18Bn in tax.  Think about that!  That’s money going into the exchequer – to every man, woman and child in this green and pleasant land.  Funding the NHS.  Paying for kids’ education.  Helping the next generation.  Best case scenario is £18Bn which will help pay for schools, hospitals and pensions.  So when the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that Brexit will leave a £36Bn hole in the public finances (a highly dubious claim by the way as I think any hole will be short term) – I say let’s fill that hole and generate new revenues.

And let’s not forget about community impact.  We’re not talking about shale and fracking.  This is keyhole surgery.  Low impact.  £70m – £550M worth of community benefits.  It’s about being a good neighbour and actually enhancing the community in which the oil industry operates.  The industry has done this admirably for decades in Scotland.  If you want a good example go and look around Aberdeen – it’s a beautiful city, well kept, with a myriad of community projects all benefitting from the economy and the input of Aberdeen people contributing something – not only for themselves and their families but also for their county and country.

So next time somebody tells you there’s between £7.1 billion and £52.6 billion ‘GVA’ – Gross Value Added economic impact sitting under The Weald just stop for a moment and think. That’s the prize.

But it’s not just a number.  It’s people’s lives.