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Uganda’s O&G Projects Play a Pivotal Role in Driving Economic Growth, Says Faith Edigold Musimenta

Faith Edigold Musimenta is the Senior Petroleum Economic and Financial Analyst at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

Faith Edigold Musimenta is the Senior Petroleum Economic and Financial Analyst at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

Uganda’s energy sector is on the precipice of a transformation, with new developments kicking off across the oil, gas and broader energy fields. As the market grows, new levels of innovation and support are required, particularly from state-owned enterprises. Individuals such as Faith Edigold Musimenta, the Senior Petroleum Economic and Financial Analyst at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), play a pivotal role in developing oil and gas financial models. Musimenta is featured on the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) list of 25 Under 40 Energy Women Rising Stars.

Please share a brief overview of your journey in the energy industry that led to your current role? What are some key achievements or milestones that you are particularly proud of?

When I reflect on how I discovered my career path, I realize that it was a combination of various factors and experiences that shaped my decision. First of all, throughout my undergraduate education, I had a keen interest in investment and financial analysis and I found myself naturally drawn to the Corporate Finance course unit and I enjoyed learning more about it.

I give credit to my early years of training at Citi Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, and DFCU Bank which offered me the opportunity to explore my skillset in investment analysis. These experiences allowed me to gain practical exposure and helped me understand the various aspects of the profession. It was during my banking experiences that I was exposed to the energy industry including oil and gas.

I was also fortunate to be selected among the ten Ugandans that were sponsored by the UK government under the Chevening Scholarship umbrella in 2015/2016 to study an MSc. in Energy Studies with a specialization in Energy Finance at the University of Dundee, Scotland, where I graduated with a distinction.

Currently, I am a Senior Petroleum Economist and Financial Analyst at the PAU, where I have developed oil and gas financial models for projects worth over $10Bn. These models have played a role in developing commercial government negotiation strategies, guiding informed decisions, and evaluating the viability of oil and gas projects.  I also contributed to the review and advisory of the commercial clauses in the Host Government Agreement and the Transportation and Tariff Agreement that were signed in April, 2021 and eventually led to the International Oil Companies taking the Final Investment Decision in February 2022. The leadership at the PAU including Mr. Ernest Rubondo, Ms. Peninah Aheebwa, Mr. Tom Ayebaree Rukundo, Ms. Angela Nalweyiso to mention but a few, and my fellow Senior Petroleum Economist and Financial Analyst, Mrs. Liz Adukule Mugisha, have been instrumental in my career development within the sector and I am forever grateful for their tutelage and opportunity to contribute towards the development of the sector.

Pivotal to my career was the four-month Future Leaders of Energy training I undertook at Baker Hughes Oil and Gas University in Italy with the support of the PAU and Baker Hughes Company. This training covered aspects of Finance, Leadership, Energy Transition and Technical Aspects of the sector. I am also a Certified Financial Modelling and Valuation Analyst with the Corporate Finance Institute and I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration and Management with Specialization in Finance and Accounting at Uganda Martyrs University.

The energy industry is known for its complexities. What were some significant challenges you faced along the way, and how did you navigate through them to achieve your goals?

Effective negotiation skills are required to successfully secure the government portion of the revenues from the oil and gas resources. Given the levels of expertise and resources posed by international oil companies, it can be challenging to negotiate these agreements, especially for new producing countries.

It would be expected for the Government of Uganda (GOU) to treat the negotiation phase as an investment by hiring skilled, dedicated, and independent negotiators in order to counter the vastly superior experience and funds of oil companies. However, to mitigate this challenge, the PAU and GOU at large, have extensively trained their personnel. I, therefore, worked closely with other economists, cost experts, technical experts, and legal advisors within the PAU and the sector, to contribute towards the negotiated commercial clauses that aligned with our country’s broader economic goals. This interdisciplinary approach has enabled Uganda to successfully, profitably, and at a relatively low cost, exploit her natural resources for national advancement.

Through this experience, I advise other new producing countries to upskill their personnel in order to build capacity that understands the social, economic, environmental, technical, and legal implications of contractual terms. In order to continuously attract investment, negotiating teams need to also understand negotiable factors from non-negotiable factors, while taking into consideration investor interests as well.

What advice would you give to young females aspiring to excel in the energy sector? Are there any specific strategies or mindsets that helped you overcome obstacles and reach your current position?

To young females aspiring to excel in the energy sector, I offer the following advice and five strategies that have helped me overcome obstacles and reach my current position:

  • Believe in yourself: Foster both self-efficacy through continuous learning, and self-confidence through a positive mindset. These qualities will help you succeed in the energy sector and in life. Both self-efficacy and self-confidence are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Developing one often enhances the other, leading to a positive cycle of achievement and personal growth.
  • Embrace challenges: Challenges present learning opportunities and enable you to grow and develop resilience. As you embrace challenges, celebrate every win no matter how small it is. The power of small wins is about focusing on small steps instead of big goals. By celebrating these little achievements, you stay motivated, improve your chances of success, and have a happier journey toward your goals.
  • Build a strong network: Networking is invaluable for career growth. Networking is about building genuine relationships and connections with others first. Then use your networks to exchange ideas, information, and opportunities.
  • Set clear goals: Setting career goals involves identifying specific accomplishments and skills you want to achieve in your professional journey to guide your growth and success. Define those goals and create a plan to achieve them. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your strategies as needed.
  • Work-life balance: Strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout. Prioritize self-care and make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

By adopting these strategies and mindsets, you can navigate the energy sector with confidence, resilience, and determination to excel. Remember that your unique perspective and contributions are valuable assets that can drive positive change and innovation in the industry.

A career in energy can be demanding. Could you describe a typical day in your life?

A typical day in my career within the energy sector involves a dynamic mix of responsibilities and tasks. Mornings begin with exercise and a healthy breakfast, followed by a review of emails, industry updates, and team meetings. Project work dominates the late morning and early afternoon, involving data analysis, technical report reviews, and financial assessments.

Evenings are dedicated to personal activities, professional development, and relaxation. Leisure time allows for hobbies, family interactions, and rejuvenation. The night often ends with continued learning through industry research, networking events, or online courses. Adaptability, time management, and a commitment to personal growth are integral to navigating the demands of this impactful field.

One of my passion projects is to create an impact through education. I believe that true national transformation entails nurturing its human capital as well. Beyond my role at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, I have guided over 3,000 individuals across Africa and beyond in the development of career paths and the pursuit of scholarships including the AEC’s Education Fund Scholarship Program. Through these efforts, I actively contribute to individual education and, by extension, the enrichment of communities.

Looking ahead, what changes or advancements do you hope to see in the energy sector, and how do you envision your role in shaping that future?

Looking ahead, I am optimistic about the potential changes and advancements in the energy sector that could pave the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

While the extraction and use of fossil fuels contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change, it is crucial to recognize that Uganda’s oil and gas projects can play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. Therefore, the challenge lies in finding a sustainable path that allows Uganda to pursue its oil and gas projects while mitigating climate impacts and striving towards net-zero emissions.

As part of the Energy Transition team at the PAU, I am currently contributing to efforts aimed at identifying Uganda’s pathway to net zero whilst taking forward the oil and gas projects. I hope to contribute towards the development of a Climate Change Action Plan in conformity with the National Climate Change Action Plan and Framework Strategy on Climate Change.

Secondly, I look forward to contributing to the economic and financial assessment of the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) projects and new commercialization possibilities for Uganda. Only 1.4 billion barrels of oil out of 6.5 billion barrels of oil in place are estimated to be recoverable in Uganda. The use of EOR methods in Uganda’s oil industry holds the potential to significantly optimize oil production, extend the life of existing fields, and contribute to the country’s energy security.

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