Taranaki has dominated New Zealand's most prestigious energy awards, with people, projects and individual companies all taking major honours.
Shell New Zealand, which employs more than 400 people in Taranaki, took out the major prize at the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards held in Auckland on Wednesday night, becoming the first upstream organisation to be named Energy Company of the Year.
Bell Block-based pipeline construction specialists Energyworks won the Environmental Excellence award for its innovation in pipe-laying and remediation work, while Methanex New Zealand's Harvey Weake was named Energy Executive of the Year.
More than 640 guests attended the black-tie event, at which Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges praised the energy industry, claiming the calibre of the award entries clearly showed that innovation and striving for excellence continues to be well and truly alive in the sector.
The judges said Shell's investment in securing New Zealand's energy future was a key catalyst for its awards success.
"In the past year a robust development programme at Maui and Kapuni has paid off, leading to upward reserve revisions and extension of the life of both fields," said judging panel chairman Richard Westlake.
"The company also secured funding from its global parent for frontier exploration, and has committed to drilling a well in the Great South Basin and assessing the prospectivity of the New Caledonia Basin."
Shell NZ chairman Rob Jager, New Plymouth, said winning the award was a real honour and the result of tireless work by employees to realise growth opportunities .
Weake earned his award for leading the restart of the country's idled methanol plants in Taranaki, striking valuable new gas supply deals and returning Methanex's three New Zealand methanol trains to full production. The results underpin gas development in the country and have significantly increased methanol exports.
Weake, who has more than 30 years' experience in the petrochemical and oil industries, led $500 million in capital refurbishments and rebuilt the organisation from 85 employees to the current 230.
He has now been promoted to Methanex's senior vice-president of global manufacturing.
Energyworks impressed judges for its comprehensive and careful management of environmental risks during two large pipeline projects in Taranaki. Hallmarks of the company's success were the use of heli-stringing, heli-delivery, horizontal drilling and a pipe-flume system which combined to ensure minimal adverse impacts on the environment.
Westlake said the calibre of this year's entries was very high.
"The judging panel has been in the privileged position of seeing the work of New Zealand's best energy businesses and learning of their successes," he said. "It was a real challenge to select finalists and ultimately winners from the diversity and high quality of entries."
- Taranaki Daily News
Is this the best summer ever?Related story: Wellington sizzles in January heat