Broadly, there were three reasons that led Ehimeakhe-Momodu to pursue an in-house career with one of Nigeria’s leading companies in the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry.
First, she wanted to hone her skills in energy law; second, she was being deliberate about her career growth and advancement; and third, after life in a top-tier law firm, in-house practice provided flexibility and a more balanced life.
“A lawyer’s career path is typically one dimensional,” she says, “You start as an associate and remain so for several years without the possibility of making partner. In contrast, an in-house role provides one with multi-dimensional career opportunities, depending on the type and size of the company.”
Ehimeakhe-Momodu’s work includes providing legal and commercial advice and delivering technical know-how; analysing transactions; drafting, reviewing and negotiating commercial oil and gas contracts; as well as assessing a broad range of issues from a legal, compliance and regulatory perspective.
“I also lead the team at negotiations with international oil companies (IOCs), manage the external counsel portfolio and provide legal advice to management and various business units within the organisation.”
She also manages clients who are stakeholders with varying interests in the energy sector. To her, an invaluable management technique is understanding the intricacies of each stakeholder, including the nature of their interest, the role they play (ie as a regulator, joint venture partner, or sub-contractor) and then ensuring there is a maximum level of transparency and openness in transactions.
Highlights for her at Westfield Energy include representing the company, alongside the managing director and chief executive, at the 10th World Energy Capital Assembly (WECA) and Awards of Excellence in London in December 2018.
“Our attendance at WECA afforded us the opportunity to interact, exchange ideas and establish relationships with some of the most influential senior executives from across the energy, finance and investment worlds including the Group General Manager for Corporate Planning and Strategy of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Bala Wunti.”
Another highlight was acting as contract manager to Westfield for a US$90 million dollar contract for the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) of subsea umbilical, risers and flow lines for an oil exploration and production company in Nigeria.
Also worthy of mention was negotiating a multi-million naira EPCIC contract in respect of a Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions community electrification interdependency project for an international oil company.
Ehimeakhe-Momodu was born in Kaduna in north west Nigeria but soon afterwards, moved with her family to Lagos. She obtained her law degree from the University of Manchester and an LL.M in International Commercial Law from the University of Nottingham.
Ehimeakhe-Momodu says her family is her support and the driving force in her life, career path and work ethics — financially, emotionally, and intellectually. Her supervising partners at her previous firm, Aelex, where she worked for five years, played a major role in developing her as a lawyer and the skills and knowledge she learned at the firm continue to guide her in her daily professional life.
To young lawyers, she says, “Be a problem-solver and a multi-tasker. Display creativity and anticipate your organisation’s problems. In so doing, you create value and contribute to the overall strategic direction of the business within the relative legal frameworks.”