Engineer in the Petrophysics Department, within the Reservoir Engineering Division
Based in Rueil-Malmaison
Why did you choose IFP Energies nouvelles?
After graduating from the École centrale de Lille with an engineering degree in 2005, I joined the CEA (French Atomic Energy Commission) in Grenoble to begin a thesis on the subject of hydrogeology on behalf of Andra. It was there that I developed my knowledge and expertise in the field of fluid mechanics and transfer in porous media. Since it has always been a professional goal of mine to work in a major French research center, I applied to IFP Energies nouvelles as soon as I learned there was an opening in its Reservoir Engineering Division and was hired at the start of 2009.
What does your job consist of?
Of all the strategic priorities at IFP Energies nouvelles, my work focuses on the geological storage of CO2 and the improvement of reservoir production. My job is extremely varied. I supervise experiments conducted in the lab to characterize the petrophysical parameters (permeability and porosity) of drilling cores supplied by our oil company partners. I determine the experimental protocol to be adopted on the basis of the sample type, as well as dimensioning or the type of tests to be performed. Since the success of these experiments regularly depends on a number of uncertainties, my work involves drawing lessons from these unknowns and trying to understand what has not worked, the aim being to constantly improve experimental protocols. In addition, I take stock of the tests conducted in the lab on a regular basis, producing reports or presentations, both for internal use and on behalf of our partners. I compare the experimental results obtained with modeling tests, which I also conduct, and I then publicize this work by writing articles for scientific journals and conference papers.
Can you describe your typical day?
There's not really any such thing as a typical day for me. However, overall my time at work is divided between experimental aspects and aspects more focused on research and discussion. For example, I might need to work in the lab alongside a technician to develop a new experiment or fine-tune the parameters of existing experiments. I also spend some of my time on modeling, as well as exploiting and developing the results obtained in the lab (production of reports or articles). To improve characterization of petrophysical parameters, we need to keep up with experimental advances in the various sectors working on these issues. Consequently, technological watch and literature searches are a regular component of my job too. Last of all, I take part in working meetings with colleagues in my division or other IFP Energies nouvelles divisions to discuss both internal and external joint projects.
What do you like about your job?
I enjoy modeling, but this is only worthwhile if you can validate the parameters through experiments, which is something my job allows me to do. The variety of samples received means that you're forced to carefully consider experimental choices, which may sometimes lead to some relatively unexpected phenomena. So an inquisitive mind is needed, along with shrewdness when it comes to deciphering the results obtained. It's pretty stimulating work. Likewise, helping to develop new experimental systems, being involved from the initial design stage right up to final application, working closely with IFP Energies nouvelles's various operational teams, then initiating tests, are all particularly rewarding challenges.
In addition to all that, a significant component of my job involves working with others, something I particularly enjoy.
What are the essential qualities for your job?
A love of teamwork, curiosity and a certain amount of patience, organizational skills in order to be able to handle the unexpected, a strong awareness of what is happening elsewhere, creativity to be able to adapt and apply certain “recipes” that have already been tried and tested in other fields in order to develop your own projects.
How do you see your career developing?
I see myself as a beginner. I've still got a lot to learn and discover. But the career prospects within my division are numerous. In the near future I'd like to have the opportunity to help produce a thesis through all its stages: define the subject, select the PhD candidate then regularly supervise the research carried out. I also really enjoy training aspects and passing on knowledge: in the longer term and alongside my research activities, I could see myself lecturing at IFP School in my area of expertise.