Elsie Mbugua BIO
Board Vice Chair, Founder of Leadwood Energy

BOMA Vice Chair Elsie Mbugua is the Founder and Managing Director of Leadwood Energy; a specialist energy advisory company focused on renewable energy projects. She was also one of the financial transaction advisors to the Government of Kenya on the country’s crude oil and natural gas prospects and is considered a thought leader and a key policy maker in Africa’s energy markets. She is well known for working on what she terms as ‘first of a kind’ energy transactions in the region. She has been involved in restructuring various parastatals in Kenya through Financial Independent Business Reviews, developing the framework for a local currency Power Purchase Agreement, negotiating the Heads of Terms for Kenya’s Upstream Crude Project, overseeing critical infrastructure projects, and driving the energy transition discussions on the African Continent.

In Jan 2022, she was awarded Africa’s most notable contribution to the Oil and Gas sector by the Association of Women in Energy and Extractives. In 2019, she was voted Young Emerging Energy Leader and received an award recognition for her exceptional leadership in Africa’s energy sector. In 2020, her Firm was voted Best Renewable Energy Consulting Firm in East Africa and won the East Africa Green Future Leadership Award. Her thoughts on Africa’s energy transformation are widely published in numerous energy journals.

Elsie started her career as a physical energy trader for some of the world’s largest trading houses – Goldman Sachs and J.P Morgan – covering markets in coal, emissions, power, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil.  During her time as a trader, she participated in the first market-based effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US. She also assisted in the management and optimization of 3000 MW of power generating assets in California.

Her success at quickly learning the intricacies of physical energy markets as well as how to derive value from assets provided her with an opportunity to build J.P Morgan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) business as lead North America LNG trader. The business had LNG import rights for up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas at the Cheniere Sabine Pass import terminal in Louisiana.

In 2012, she relocated to London as a physical crude oil trader covering the dated Brent and West African crude oil markets. She was one of the youngest physical oil traders in London.

In 2015, with her heart drawn to improving and transforming East Africa’s energy sector, she moved to Nairobi to start her energy entrepreneurship career. Today her firm is involved in some of the largest energy transactions in the region and plays a central role advising on Africa’s energy policies.  In addition to this, Ms. Mbugua was appointed to the Board of State Corporation Kenya Pipeline Company by the President of Kenya H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and made Chair of the Technical Committee responsible for oversight and governance of all KPC capital projects and technical matters. She is the co-founder of a US 501c3 called Ekenywa, which builds water infrastructure projects with the goal of ensuring all rural public schools in Kenya have access to clean water. So far, more than 70,000 Kenyans rely on this infrastructure for their daily access to clean water.