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TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS.

Summary: TOTAL HAS HAD A CONTINUOUS PRESENCE IN QATAR FOR CLOSE TO 80 YEARS AND IS DEEPLY INVESTED IN THE COUNTRY'S ENERGY SECTOR -- BOTH ON THE DOWNSTREAM AND UPSTREAM SIDES.

On the upstream side, Total is the operator of the Al Khalij oil field and has inter- ests in Qatargas and Dolphin Energy op- erating companies as well as in the block BC (exploration license). On the downstream side, Total is involved in refining and petro chemistry as a shareholder of Qatargas, QAPCO and QATOFIN. Total is also present in the marketing of lubricants. In 2009, the cre- ation of the Total Research Center Qatar (TRC-Q) at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) strengthened the commit- ment of Total to Qatar National Vision.

T RC-Q is one of the French energy com- pany's seven regional Exploration and Production research centres, along with its research headquarters in Pau, France. "We wanted to have research dedicated to the Qatar and Middle East technical challenges. And indeed, our R&D fo- cuses on carbonate reservoirs," says Dr Philippe Julien, Director of TRC-Q. "On a worldwide scale, more than 60% of oil and 40% of gas reserves lie in carbonates. During the last decade, two thirds of the giant discoveries (more than 500 million barrel oil equivalent) have been done in carbonate reservoirs. This is why, when we designed the TRC-Q, we decided to build one laboratory involved in Analyt- ical Organic Geochemistry to better un- derstand and monitor the production of the carbonate oil and gas fields and one laboratory involved in Acid Stimulation of wells to improve this production."

Committed to deliver innovation

In the Geochemistry lab, several high- tech equipment are available: gas chro- matographs and sophisticated systems to measure isotope compositions and biomarkers in oil. "This allows us to work in production allocation and well integ- rity," says Julien. "As the technological challenges of the oil and gas industry are mounting, some solutions can be found in other industries such as aerospace or medicine for instance. And indeed, we collaborate with the medical and space domains. They constitute beautiful exam- ples of crossover technologies. As a con- sequence, our research is quite active and innovative, with several patents filed and scientific publications presented in inter- national conferences." In 2014, a com- pletely new equipment, the Laser Induced Pyrolysis System was installed in TRC-Q to measure the organic content of cores. This high-tech system is unique and is quite useful to better describe and under- stand the fast vertical or lateral variations of Qatar's carbonate reservoirs.

Committed to cooperate and share expertise

"Our main objectives at TRC-Q are not only to develop new technologies but also to cooperate with local entities on innova- tions related to Qatari challenges, and to share our research with our Qatari part- ners. Moreover, we regularly organise high-level scientific presentations for pro- fessionals (engineers and scientists) from our partner institutions" explains Julien. In 2014,Total experts or specialists have given various training sessions on sub- jects such as Geochemistry, Acid Stim- ulation, Petro-physics, Rock Mechanics, Reservoir Engineering, Uncertainties and Geo-modeling. In 2015, Dr Philippe Tanguy, Total's Deputy Chief Scientist, gave a keynote presentation on the en- ergy transition for the human beings. Fi- nally, Total has been involved in courses given to students and in the energy city project where teachers and professors of public schools are taught about energy challenges and disciplines. Such partner- ships between the academic medium and the industry are key to success, and Total is highly committed to such collaborative developments.

Committed to work on Qatar's grand challenges

T RC-Q is not only involved in Exploration and Production but also in Petrochemi- cals. A synthesis laboratory has also been designed at TRC-Q to work on CO2 con- version. In close links with Total's main petrochemical research centre in Bel- gium, catalysts are developed to use the carbon of the CO2 to generate some valu- able products. In December 2014, a proj- ect submitted by Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), Total, Qatar University and Northwestern University has been approved by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). "We are extremely happy to participate in such a challenging and innovative project", added Julien. "Re- cently, we started a new water manage- ment project and initiated collaborations with the Qatar research academic me- dium, which is in phase with the Qatar National Research Strategy".

Committed to contribute to a knowledge-based economy

Julien sees TRC-Q as a long-term invest- ment in developing indigenous research capability. Innovation relies on building on previous work, acquired skills and ex- pertise. Breakthrough technologies often emerge from a deep familiarity with the sciences, the challenges and the oppor- tunities. "We develop a real expertise that leverages the global research ca- pacity of Total on a worldwide scale and directly benefits our partners in Qatar. At TRC-Q, we produce applied research: we immediately apply the new technolo- gies to real cases. As a consequence, we provide some advanced expertise where we apply the latest ideas that we have de- veloped in research on Qatar oil and gas fields"

"AS THE TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES OF THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY ARE MOUNTING, SOME SOLUTIONS CAN BE FOUND IN OTHER INDUSTRIES SUCH AS AEROSPACE ORMEDICINE,FOR INSTANCE."

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Publication:Oil & Gas Review
Date:May 20, 2015
Words:886
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