The Press and Journal celebrated 50 years of the North Sea oil and gas industry at a glittering awards ceremony in Aberdeen last night.
Six awards were presented at the inaugural Gold Awards, run in association with the paper’s sister website Energy Voice and title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management, while prominent petro-economist Professor Alex Kemp was inducted into an industry-first hall of fame.
John Wood Group triumphed in two of the night’s categories – Most Influential Business of the Last 50 Years and Global Impact – and Norwegian oil giant Statoil was crowned Most Influential Business of the Next 50 Years.
The judges picked Mark Richardson, a manager at Apache North Sea, as the best candidate for the Emerging Industry Leader award.
Balmoral Group won the Innovation in the Past 50 Years accolade at the ceremony, held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, and VisuaLoSal took home the prize for Innovation in the Future.
Prof Kemp of Aberdeen University was recognised for his contributions to the success of the sector throughout his distinguished career.
The UK’s official historian for the North Sea, his many accolades include an OBE, which he was awarded in 2006 for services to the oil and gas industry.
Press and Journal energy editor Jeremy Cresswell, who sat on the judging panel, lauded Prof Kemp as one of the Granite City’s treasures and fully deserving of his lifetime achievement award.
Mr Cresswell said: “Schooled at Skene Primary and Robert Gordon’s College and then on to Aberdeen University, Prof Kemp has witnessed the entire North Sea Oil saga so far.
“This extraordinary individual has played an important role influencing the course of that great story as a linchpin advisor to a succession of governments and petroleum companies.
“Moreover, he has played a major role in influencing the shape of oil and gas fiscal regimes in many countries worldwide.”
Last night’s event, attended by 250 leading lights of the oil and gas industry, featured a captivating orchestral piece composed by Stonehaven’s Benjamin McMillan, who will take up a place at the renowned NYU Steinhardt film music school in the US later this year.
The piece of work came about after the Press and Journal approached Aberdeen University’s professor Paul Mealor, who in turn put forward Mr McMillan, one of his former students, for the task.
Prof Mealor shot to international stardom in 2011 when one of his compositions was performed at the wedding for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Another of his arrangements, Wherever You Are, performed by the Military Wives Choir, was the Christmas number one later that year.
Setting the tone for a magnificent evening, Mr McMillan’s brilliantly cinematic composition, titled Celebration of the Waves, captured the essence of an industry that is striving to overcome its difficulties and play a vital part in the economy of the north-east over the next half century.
Damian Bates, editor-in-chief of the Press and Journal, said: “We launched these awards to celebrate the amazing success this industry has achieved in the last 50 years and to look forward to the next 50 too, celebrating the young leaders of the future.
“While we all know these are tough times for the sector, it’s important to recognise the amazing contribution the oil industry has made to the north of Scotland and, if the right decisions are taken now, it can be very bright for decades to come.”