‘Women in Africa’s energy sector should be purposeful’

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Mariah Lucciano-Gabriel, head, Commercial & Business Development, Asharami Energy (A Sahara Group Upstream Company) represents the growing wave of vibrant African professionals committed to transforming the continent. She was one of the panelists at a session in the recently concluded Oil and Gas Council’s Africa Assembly in Paris. In this interview with Dipo Oladehinde, she highlights the need for gender parity at all levels in the energy sector.

 

What has your experience been as a senior manager at Sahara Group’s Upstream division?

I joined Sahara’s training program at the age of 22 with no prior knowledge or desire to work in the energy industry nor a STEM degree (my first degree was in Economics, Finance and Management) and after six months of hands on training within all the Sahara companies which cuts across downstream, midstream, upstream and operations, I was deployed to the upstream arm and asked to coordinate the next internship program simultaneously. These are the sort of opportunities and challenges you face working in a fast paced innovative company like Sahara.

After a year of juggling both roles, I focused solely on the Upstream covering Government & Partner Relations, Business Development and Commercial Operations and 10 years down the line I now head the Commercial & Business Development Unit of the Upstream arm.

The upstream sector of the Nigerian energy industry is a highly regulated and competitive one being that it accounts for over 90percent of Nigeria’s GDP and as such this brings its own set of challenges  to  my role.   However, I am able to work through problems and achieve solutions because the work environment at Sahara fosters innovation and employees are made to own the vision and given the freedom to be creative around solving problems.

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