Total at Work


Meet Arnaud!  He’s the Head of Total’s Data & Knowledge department, working in our Exploration & Production division.


In charge of geosciences data, Arnaud tells us more about his daily tasks “my team sorts and indexes all the data we retrieve from all over the world, and then makes it available to Total’s reservoir engineers, geophysicists and geologists. They then interpret the results to find information such as where reservoirs are.


So, what’s the biggest challenge in this job? “We have to retrieve a large amount of data and managing that can be a major task. For a start, there are many different data sources, including national databases, physical measurements and field tests.”


Various kinds of education allow you to pursue a career in this area. For Arnaud, his studies began at INSA Toulouse and then continued at the Delft University of Technology. “I specialized in signal processing and seismic imaging. During my studies, what really interested me was the potential application of high performance computing. I was fascinated by simulations and by how those computers could perform incredible calculations.”


Working in such a fast-moving field means staying abreast of all the latest changes and interacting with others in the field, according to Arnaud. “To be up to date and informed about new technologies and emerging technologies, I travel a lot, especially to the USA to attend conferences.” Staying in contact with other energy firm data specialists is also important. “It’s very interesting to meet counterparts from other companies to share methods and technical advances.”


Digitalization is rapidly changing and positively impacting geoscience, according to Arnaud, who is enthusiastic about the developments. “I believe it’s not an evolution, but a revolution that is underway. A few years ago, we were working more on sorting the data, whereas today it is shifting towards users, using Machine Learning Program applications to gain knowledge from all the data we have. We are now able to analyze data in a meaningful way to make better decisions.” 


There are few things Arnaud especially enjoys within his position “My work environment is a huge research office. If we can make a convincing case, we have the freedom and the means to undertake projects and move forward with new technologies. I enjoy being a manager, and the responsibility to lead, inspire and motivate my team. It requires some personal investment, but it is very rewarding. And I’m a believer in the MBWA management technique - ‘Managing by Wandering Around" - which consists of circulating and going around offices for informal discussions and sharing knowledge with colleagues.”


Finally, Arnaud shares his vision of the future in this exciting area: “Data management is changing, and it’s more and more important in our business. We see that there are more data science courses than ever in universities, which is a new trend. For anyone interested in innovation and technology, it’s a great career, and we’re only at the beginning of the revolution!”