Todd Energy traces its roots back to 1929 as the first indigenous oil company in New Zealand. Before this however, the first Todd-owned commercial venture in New Zealand was a fellmongery opened at Heriot in Central Otago in 1885. The fellmongery was soon accompanied by a wool scouring business set up to support the growing sheep farming industry in the lower South Island.
The fellmongery and scouring business were set up by Charles Todd, a pioneer Scotsman and manager of the Quartz Gold Mine at Bendigo near Cromwell. Once established, he appointed his son at the age of 18 – also named Charles – to manage the scouring business.
The young Charles Todd further developed the wool business before diversifying into trading grain as he grew the operation into a successful stock and station business that covered West Otago. He also introduced the first motor car into the district in 1908 and, upon recognising the motor car’s potential, established the Heriot Motor Garage four years later.
The young Charles Todd’s vision and business success led to the creation of the Todd Group, which continued to diversify and go from strength to strength over the following century to become one of New Zealand’s leading energy companies.
In conjunction with the establishment of the Heriot Motor Garage, Charles Todd obtained the Ford dealership in Otago in the very early part of last century. This represented the Todd Groups first foray into the motor industry. By 1928 the company had acquired the Rootes Group franchise for Hillman, Humber and Commer and opened a branch in Auckland.
The establishment of the Todd Motor Industries Limited plant in Petone for the assembly of CKD (Completely Knocked Down) vehicles from Chrysler and Rootes was an important milestone in 1934. By 1964, Todd Motors was assembling and selling around 10,000 cars each year.
Todd Motors went on to acquire the Mitsubishi franchise in 1970. When sold to Mitsubishi in 1987, Todd Motors was assembling a wide range of cars, and light and heavy commercial vehicles. During the period leading up to the sale, Todd Motors held the number two market share position for manufacturing in New Zealand.
In 1929 a petroleum price war cut off supplies to the Christchurch branch of a Todd motor dealership. This was the catalyst which lead to the formation by Todd of an indigenous petroleum marketing company – the Associated Motorists Petrol Company Limited.
By March 1933, a new brand of petrol called Europa was available to New Zealand motorists. Ocean terminals at the four main New Zealand ports in addition to further infrastructure and supply installations supported Todd’s supply business. The arrival of Europa in the market sparked yet another price war bringing the price down eight times and forcing the Government to impose price regulation.
The company changed its name to Europa Oil New Zealand Limited and established a reputation for innovation and customer service. Europa was the first to offer electric petrol pumps in New Zealand and had the first articulated road tankers, as well as initiating the sale of consumer products in service station forecourts.
For the purposes of conducting exploration activities, Todd Energy entered into a joint venture agreement with Shell Petroleum Mining Company Ltd & BP Oil Exploration Company In 1959, the joint venture discovered the Kapuni field- which was rich in natural gas and condensate. Following a development decision the field began production in 1970 and allowed the country to benefit from cheaper indigenous gas and condensate products that were previously all imported into New Zealand.
Demand generated on the back of the onshore Kapuni field spurred on further exploration in the Taranaki area and led to the discovery of the offshore Maui natural gas and condensate field in 1969.
The Crown acquired a 50% interest in the Maui field which led to its development to full production by 1979.
Todd Energy’s involvement in the discovery and development of oil and natural gas resources continues to this day. An extensive exploration and production programme is now complemented by Todd expanding wholesale, retail and natural gas reticulation operations.
Todd Energy’s original interests in the Kapuni and Maui fields are now just part of a much larger portfolio of producing and development fields. Now one of New Zealand’s leading energy producers, as a result of exploration together with acquisitions and joint venture partnerships, Todd Energy now currently holds interests in producing fields that account for more than 50% of New Zealand’s annual hydrocarbon production.
Todd Energy’s share of Kapuni increased from 25% to 50%, and then to 100% in 2018. It also holds 100% of McKee – New Zealand’s largest producing onshore oil field – as well as the adjacent Mangahewa natural gas condensate field. A 26% interest in the large Pohokura field also gives Todd Energy a significant stake in the future energy supply of New Zealand. Todd Energy’s interests in both the Maari and Maui fields were divested in 2018.
Based on our reputation for innovation and proven ability to deliver, Todd Energy continues to be the partner of choice for large and small projects alike where its expertise and focus enable new ideas and opportunities to become commercial realities.
Todd Energy remains 100% New Zealand owned and – from humble beginnings in Central Otago – it has developed into a truly integrated company, that continues to explore the boundaries.