Increasingly, Jersey’s business landscape is being associated with the natural resources sector, in a range of guises. Warren Strange, Chairman of Strada, explains why he sees Jersey as the ideal centre for his innovative global energy business.
“Strada is a geothermal drilling company. We own patented drilling technology that is making it easier, quicker and cheaper to access geothermal energy, reducing hard rock geothermal drilling costs by as much as 80%.
“The technology is unlocking some real opportunities in geothermal energy, district heating and desalination and means that, for the first time, clean geothermal heat and energy is a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”
Highlighting just how important it was to find the right place to headquarter the business, Warren did a significant amount of research before taking the plunge:
“I’m originally from Australia where the drilling technology was developed and tested. However, the competition for clean energy was too strong out there and so I moved the business to Europe where there is a real need for energy security and clean energy solutions. I spent a year in Germany in 2014 studying the geothermal district heating market and identified this as a huge potential market.
“After looking at several locations for an international base, such as Malta, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Dubai, Ireland and a few others, I chose Jersey. A sensible tax regime was a consideration but it was more about its location, English language and, crucially, strong English law to protect our intellectual property.
“From an investment perspective, raising money in Jersey is a lot easier than in other locations too. There’s also excellent professional support and investor networks and all that adds up to an attractive environment for our business. Our vision is for Strada to evolve into one of the largest and most successful drilling and geothermal energy companies in the world. By 2020, we’re projecting Strada will have a valuation of £2.13 billion.”
“The move was very smooth - I was lucky to make some really useful contacts at industry and government levels. In particular, I called one of the well-known legal firms in the island in 2014 and the team there was amazing, welcoming me to Jersey and assisting in setting up my necessary company structures. Jersey’s expat-community feeling makes meeting personal and corporate acquaintances very easy.
“Living here is great and I was certainly drawn in by the lifestyle. It’s a safe, community-driven place, and it’s actually cheaper to live here than Perth in Australia.”