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5 minutes with Eric DuchesneSVP Technology Experts, Total

What support systems are in place at Total for process and maintenance engineers?

There is a support system in place for the more junior process and maintenance engineers which mainly focuses on troubleshooting and training in their roles. We currently have a guide for younge engineers that is comprised of set of documents that capitalise on all of the knowledge of the company. The main difficulty we face is that we’ve found young engineers are not that keen to read documents, I believe this is the mind-set of the younger generation! It is very different today to 10 years ago. I am pushing for the company to develop e-learning to make it more like a training course where engineers watch short YouTube videos to highlight the important points they need to know.

What digitalisation projects are you working on at the moment?

We are working on several programmes at the moment, one of them we call mobility and it deals with providing the process technicians additional facilities in order to remove the need for paper.The second is the creation of detailed reports from maintenance in order to register completion of the work and make all the processes more efficient. We have started to roll out solutions in all of our plants and we are testing a full set of solutions in one of our refineries.

The third element is what we call virtual plans; to have all of the data related to one plant available from a single entry point into the system and to be able to do all the changes from one interface including 3D scans and many other aspects. The programme is data driven and deals with the dynamic data coming from the plant, we then carry out productive maintenance, predictive maintenance and remote monitoring from a central location.

What impact will digitalisation have on the refining industry?

I believe that digitalisation it will significantly change the way the refinery industry is run and the job roles within in. It will definitely change Total’s organisation and this is something we are currently working to put into practise in the coming years.

Eric’s top tip for refiners

Always go back to the facts and figures because this is the reality and your role is not about making suppositions. Most problems are emotional, and when emotions are taken out of technical problems then the solution is usually easily found.

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