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Innovation for all

What interests me in innovation is the transversality of ideas, the sharing of talents, the decompartmentalization, the creation of value around simple ideas. I am at the origin of two award-winning projects within the framework of the Best Innovators: the Early Bird Petroleum Engineering video conference device (2016), the use of additive manufacturing in the design of parts (2019). Each time, I worked on subjects that I would describe as orphans ... They were emerging in the industry but there was no project leader at Total. A challenge to take up!

Ideas arise from experience

The “Early Bird Petroleum Engineering” system took shape in the mid-2000s, I came back from the UK subsidiary and I had more than 16 years of expatriation to my credit… With each transfer, I made the same observation: the weakness exchanges between the subsidiaries and the head office, the lack of sharing of experience and knowledge between Russian, Angolan, Dutch, Nigerian engineers ... The new technologies were timely, we set up a video conference system which allows to connect around twenty sites simultaneously, a platform on which everyone can access invitations and previous sessions… Every Tuesday between 8:15 am and 9:00 am, a technical meeting is offered on process, development, construction, drilling, well, reservoir … The strength of this innovation is its simplicity. No heavy governance, no committee for the selection of subjects, participation based on volunteering.

The 3D Adventure

Aeronautics was interested in it, I wanted to know more ... And to see if the Oil & Gas could not also benefit from this revolution. The first test took place in early 2018. For the first time, Total used additive manufacturing to urgently design a polyamide bubbling tool intended for Akpo's underwater installations (offshore Nigeria in 1,250 m of water ). Printed in just 36 hours by Hutchinson, the tool was used to inject methanol and overcome the hydrate plug that had formed in the connection module. The FPSO Egina gas export line was therefore able to be quickly connected to that of Akpo. The conventional solution - replacing the ITA assembler - would have been much longer and ten times more expensive.

Second experiment, still in 2018, four titanium inductors were designed and 3D printed, by my colleagues from TEP UK, to be integrated into transfer pumps for the development of very high pressure condensate gas from Culzean, off the coast of Aberdeen. The latter presented a high risk of cavitation. Again, additive manufacturing confirmed its effectiveness: the parts were delivered in two weeks while the manufacture of modified impellers would have delayed the delivery of pumps to Singapore by 24 weeks ...

From July 2019, these successful experiences made it possible to structure a team dedicated to additive manufacturing at Total. The Pau Booster was equipped with two 3D printers, it is a very beautiful showcase. Now, innovation has to make its way, operations have to be ready to experiment ... Wearing an innovation also means ensuring that it is used by as many people as possible. You have to know how to give up paternity to register it in the DNA of the company. It is important !

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