NZ Refining hires renewable energy executive Mike Fuge as CEO, replacing Sjoerd Post

Current chief executive Sjoerd Post recently dealt with the outages on the refinery-to-Auckland pipeline. Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand Refining has named Mike Fuge as its new chief executive, tapping a manager with experience in renewable energy as the company seeks to engage with the government over its policy of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Fuge is currently head of Melbourne-based renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, which has over 1 gigawatt of renewable projects in operation or construction and operates across Australia, Chile and Brazil. The Whangarei-based company said Fuge's start date hasn't been settled but he was expected to start no later than the fourth quarter.

NZ Refining announced in February that current chief executive Sjoerd Post would leave in July after five years in charge of New Zealand's only oil refinery. Under his watch, the company completed its $365 million Te Mahi Hou upgrade and extension to boost production, and more recently dealt with the outages on the refinery-to-Auckland pipeline. He has now agreed to stay on beyond his intended departure date to assist in the interim, it said

Fuge has previously worked at Royal Dutch Shell and "has the leadership skills and experience to lead the refinery in the coming years and to contribute to the initiatives which arise from the government’s commitment to zero carbon emissions in the context of the business of the refinery," the company said in a statement today.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw is to hold a briefing today on the government's Zero Carbon bill, having put the legislation out for six weeks of consultation earlier this month. In February, NZ Refining posted a 66 percent gain in full-year profit, driven by higher average refining margins. At the time, Post said the company sees itself "as part of the solution on a pathway to 2050 carbon neutrality for the country".

In the next six years, "demand for petroleum products in Asia Pacific is expected to continue to outpace capacity growth and we are therefore cautiously optimistic about margins," he said at the time.

NZ Refining shares fell 0.8 percent to $2.52 today and have gained 4 percent in the past 12 months, lagging behind the S&P/NZX 50 Index's 18 percent gain.