Werner Schinagl, a petroleum engineer with BP in Aberdeen, won the Pearl Award for Overall Excellence; Matt Cox, an operations electrical technician working at BP's Wytch Farm oil field in Poole Harbour, Dorset, scooped the Pearl Award for Young Technician of the Year; while Martin Wylie, Marathon's Brae facilities team leader received the accolade of the Oyster Award for Mentoring at a gala dinner in Aberdeen attended by over 350 people.
Specially commissioned artwork by final year students at the Aberdeen Gray's School of Art and checks for £500 were presented to each of the winners by the award sponsors Mike Horgan, UK asset manager at Marathon Oil UK Ltd, David Doig, chief executive of OPITO and Ian Stevenson, managing director of Technip North Sea and Canada.
This is the first time that prizes have been awarded in three categories: the Pearl Award for Overall Excellence recognizes outstanding work by young people in the UK oil and gas industry today; the Pearl Award for Young Technician of the Year recognizes the vital contribution of the industry's young technicians; and the Oyster Award for Mentoring recognizes the important role mentors play in passing on their knowledge and expertise to fellow oil and gas workers.
Speaking on behalf of the evening's main sponsor, Dave Blackwood, Head of BP's North Sea business, said: "The growth of the oil and gas industry is one of the UK's biggest post-war industrial success stories. As we strive to sustain the success we have achieved over the past 40 years, it is important that we take the time to celebrate our achievements. We need to recognize not only the new generation of talent that will deliver the next 40 years, but also to acknowledge the wisdom and professionalism of those who share their experience to enable the next phase of North Sea success.
"The UKOOA Conference and Awards dinner is about understanding the challenges to come, and acknowledging the people who continue to rise to meet those challenges."
Candidates entering the Pearl Awards had to submit a short essay outlining a personal vision for maintaining competitiveness in the UKCS while those put forward for the Mentoring Award had to demonstrate their commitment to fostering skills, talents and expertise in their work colleagues.
UKOOA chief executive Malcolm Webb said: "The North Seas future relies on the abilities, technical skills and ambitions of the people working in our industry. These are the qualities we will have to nurture and draw upon to maintain the UK's competitive position in the years ahead as maturity presents us with ever increasing economic and technical challenges.
"I am delighted with the caliber of all nine of our finalists, who were short-listed from a very strong field of entries. Their achievement highlights the rich talent that may be found within the sector."
The UK Offshore Operators' Association (UKOOA) is the representative organization for companies licensed by the British Government to explore for and produce hydrocarbons in UK waters. It has 41 members.
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