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Obituary- Peter Bild, pioneering international energy reporter

Peter Bild, who was a pioneer in Reuters international energy reporting, died on May 13 from complications after vascular surgery. He was 80.

He will be remembered by many as a witty raconteur, who loved entertaining friends with stories of his time at the BBC, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Reuters.

Bild, fluent in German from his Austrian heritage, worked at a Stuttgart radio station and freelanced for the BBC before joining Reuters in 1968. Posted to Bonn in 1970 with his first wife Jenny, He carved a name for himself on the West German political scene, interviewing some of the most prominent politicians. Statesmen including Willy Brandt and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt came to his leaving do at the end of his three-year posting.

On his return to London, he excelled at reporting on the 1973 oil crisis, one of the biggest stories at the time, and his role as Reuters first energy correspondent was created. The supply of oil from the Mideast largely defined the politics of the era and Bild’s keen news sense and networking skills gave him access to the key movers and shakers of the time. He forged an enduring relationship with Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the Saudi oil minister and a key figure in the unfolding crisis caused by an Arab oil embargo.

Bild left Reuters in 1979 after being headhunted by the major oil industry publication, Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. He also helped launch  "Energy Compass," another industry journal.

He later based himself mainly in in Berlin, working as a CBS reporter and as correspondent of GRNlive, which represented over 1,000 journalists reporting on demand for major news organisations. He developed a reputation as an opinion former, with a deep, resonant voice and was a natural for television, becoming political correspondent for Deutsche Welle TV news.

After retirement, Peter switched to the business world, writing speeches and annual corporate reports. He also found time to write and perform in satirical poetry readings about UK politics. In 2017 he published “A Cherry Dress” a memoir about his mother. 

A cricket enthusiast, Bild was a keen offspin bowler in a strong Reuters team in London in the late 1960s..

His daughter Jessica Bates, writes: "Peter was a much-loved family man and friend. He will be greatly missed  by his second wife, Jan, and daughters Miranda, Jessica and Laura (also a journalist), and grandchildren Arthur, Rosa, Teddy, and Caleb. ■