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Leading entrepreneur honoured at ‘virtual’ Offshore Achievement Awards

Jeanette Forbes
Jeanette Forbes

North-east entrepreneur Jeanette Forbes was recognised for her significant contribution to the UK offshore energy sector in a “virtual” awards ceremony tonight.

Ms Forbes clinched the accolade during the 34th Offshore Achievement Awards (OAAs) for her promotion of Stem subjects to young women and business mentorship efforts.

Organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen Section, the OAAs were initially scheduled to take place in March, but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The winners were revealed during a virtual event streamed across a range of online platforms and hosted by television presenter Rachel Riley.

Ms Forbes said she was “absolutely delighted” to have become only the second woman to win the significant contribution prize at the OAAs.

Her success follows that of Oonagh Werngren, former operations director of Oil and Gas UK, in 2017.

The entrepreneur said tonight that she looked forward to hearing of other female recipients in the coming years.

Ms Forbes also urged the current crop of oil and gas industry professionals to “leave a significant legacy built around new energy innovation”.

In the other categories for individuals, Bilfinger Salamis UK’s Gavin Morris and Taqa’s Erin Ingram were crowned young professionals of the year.

BP and Pale Blue Dot Energy, the Aberdeenshire firm behind the Acorn carbon capture project, were joint winners in the energy transition for future generations category.

Oil and gas firm Serica Energy won the great large company prize, while the great SME award went to ITC Hydraulics.

Modus prevailed in the innovator category, JFD Global was top dog for HSE innovation, while Deep Casing Tools and Tendeka couldn’t be separated in the emerging technology section.

Judges honoured Sparrows Group for its outstanding skills development and N-Sea claimed the trophy for internationalisation.

SPE Aberdeen chairman Ian Phillips said the winners and finalists embodied the “excellence, innovation and ambition” of the UK offshore industry.

Mr Phillips also said the awards could give the Covid-hit sector a “much-needed boost” and provide inspiration as companies “push ahead and support each other in the net zero journey.”

Donald Taylor, Europe managing director at principal sponsor Taqa, congratulated the winners and said celebrating achievements during challenging times was vital, regardless of whether the ceremony format is physical or virtual.

Jeanette Forbes: A serial winner

The significant contribution accolade is the latest in a long line of honours received by the Mr Forbes, who was born in Yorkshire, but considers Aberdeen her adopted city.

She had to bounce back from the disappointment of being made redundant during an oil industry downturn in 1999.

A year later, the qualified systems engineer founded PCL Group, a Granite-City-based cabling and IT service provider to the offshore, marine, commercial, industrial and renewables sectors.

Ms Forbes has gone on to secure numerous awards since then, particularly for her role in promoting career opportunities for women in the energy sector.

She was awarded an OBE for services to business, technology and charity in the New Year 2020 Honours List.

Her impressive list of titles also includes business woman of the year at the Scottish SME Business Awards in 2019 and entrepreneur of the year at the 2018 Elevator awards.

Ms Forbes also won the Queens Award for voluntary service in 2017 and was appointed ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland in 2014.

In 2017, she opened Grape & Grain, a high-end wine bar on Aberdeen’s Thistle Street.

Last year, Ms Forbes took on the CEO role at north-east start-up Blue Gentoo and handed over the running of PCL to her son Chris, who became managing director, and daughter Joanne, who was appointed financial director.

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