Naomi James

Chief Executive Officer
Refining NZ

Naomi has overseen a huge period of change for New Zealand’s only oil refinery, and in 2020 the company undertook a comprehensive strategic review to determine the best way forward for their business. After an extensive period of engagement with Refining NZ staff, customers and wider industry, and the New Zealand Government, the Board of Refining NZ confirmed its transition away from oil refining, and into a fuel import-terminal. This change, which is due to take place in April 2022, is reflective of the difficult operating environment that the refinery has been facing. Over this period Naomi has been committed to ensuring the safe and continued operation of the Refinery, to ensure New Zealand maintains its fuel supply. With the additional challenges of various COVID-19 lockdowns, and the significant drop in demand for Refining NZ’s products, a key focus has been supporting the Refining NZ workforce, and ensuring they are well prepared for a very different future.

As a leader, Naomi is open and upfront with her team. She is approachable and honest, fronting the difficult conversations as well as the easy ones, and can often be found out on site at Marsden Point, in the control room discussing issues with the operators, or touring a maintenance site and getting to grips with issues across Marsden Point and at all levels of the business.

Prior to joining Refining NZ, Naomi held the position of Executive Vice President at Santos Ltd, Australia’s second largest independent oil and gas producer, where she was responsible for Santos’ midstream infrastructure assets including oil and gas processing facilities. She has also held leadership roles at Australian mining and materials company Arrium Ltd, including Chief Executive of the Group’s non-integrated steel businesses. Naomi’s extensive experience in strategy development, operations and change management has been hugely beneficial as Refining NZ transitions to meet the needs of a lower-carbon economy and realise the full value of Refining NZ’s infrastructure assets.