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Careers

Total is a global oil and gas producer and supplier operating in 130 countries with nearly 100,000 employees, who practise their
skills in more than 500 industrial, commercial and support occupations covering all aspects of the petroleum industry: oil and
natural gas exploration and production, renewable energy development, refining, distribution and trading. Total is also a major
player in chemicals.
To further its development, the Group annually recruits worldwide nearly 10,000 new employees, both male and female, juniors
and seniors, at all levels of training. All are different, but share the dynamism, receptiveness, adaptability and team spirit that
are key to the Group's success.

Downstream
Research Engineer m/f
In transforming crude oil into petroleum products, Total must be as efficient as possible. It achieves this through
its research in refining: careful analyses of its products, improvements to the transformation processes, new
products that meet market requirements, and a determination to stay at the leading edge of science and
technology.
Downstream Research Engineers have two main duties which require constant synthesis:
• Always staying in close touch with the current industrial activities of the Group, which requires continuous
contact with the exploitation departments, the operational divisions, customers, government research,
professional associations, public authorities and standards organisations;
• Anticipating future requirements, which are dictated mainly by technological or regulatory developments.
This research, conducted under a variety of projects, requires researchers to be innovative and scientifically
rigorous. It consists of work which is consistent with the strategy of the Group, and at the same time meets
stringent profitability criteria.

> First steps


After serving as a member of a research team, a junior engineer starts in a laboratory where he or she will be
taught the specific methods used in research. Then the researcher, supported by a team of technicians, is given
responsibility for different projects, which he or she sees through to completion.

> Career options


If an Engineer wishes to specialise in research, he or she can move to a position as leader of a research group,
or become a specialist in a particular field. The opportunity also exists to move on to other functions such as
refinery process engineering, or to exploitation, sales engineering or strategy.

> Profile required


• Engineering School graduate with a specialisation such as ENSPM or Doctorate in Science.
• Curiosity, creativity, capacity for team work and team leadership, analytical skills.
• Fluent English.
Experiences

Leïla V. Nicolas R.
Nationality: Algerian – Age: 29 Nationality: French – Age: 29
Downstream Research Engineer – Based in Gonfreville Based in Solaize (France)
l’Orcher (France) Doctorate in Chemical Engineering
Doctorate in Chemical Engineering, ENS de Chimie de Lille,
University of Science and Technology of Lille and the Centre for
International Industrial Property Studies (CEIPI)

Before even joining Total, I already felt part of the “family” because I did My introduction to the Group came as a result of my thesis on the
my thesis in the Group's chemical branch. Thereafter, it seemed natural upstream side of petroleum products. I did a post-doctorate at the
that I should apply to join the Total group. Research Centre of Gonfreville l’Orcher in the Refining & Marketing
branch, then I was accepted for a post in analytical chemistry.
A dynamic induction
I was recruited as a Research Engineer to work in the Industrial Property From basic research to applied research
Department. The department's work is crucial for the Group because the
aim is to protect and increase the value of Total's know-how. The At present, I lead a team of five chemistry technicians in the Analysis
department is represented in the three research centres of the Group and Department of the Research Centre at Solaize. We work on products
at headquarters where our management is located. There is a centre in under development, which are often secret: new lubricants, tomorrow's
Solaize (near Lyon), another in Feluy, Belgium, and the third at Gonfreville fuels…
l’Orcher in Normandy where I am based at present. My induction took Our analysis activity is diversified:
place over several months. It began with a period at headquarters to
familiarise me with the Group. Then I was sent to each of the two other • Analysis of products developed by other researchers at the centre to
research centres before taking up the post I now occupy. international standards.
Closely involved in innovation • Development of new methods of analysis to meet the future
At present, as an Industrial Property Engineer, I am engaged mainly on requirements of our customers and to analyse their future products.
three types of work. • Utilisation and evaluation of the latest analysis equipment: mass
Firstly, I am in charge of writing patent applications and the procedures spectrometers, X-ray fluorescence spectrometer…
required to lodge them and obtain patents. This part of my work is the
most interesting because I see innovation materialise within the Group. • Technical assistance for the European refineries beyond the routine
Then I carry out patentability studies to establish the existence of three analyses usually carried out on site (e.g. analysis of deposits in units).
conditions: novelty, inventive activity and industrial application. After
applications have been submitted, I am in constant contact with the • Expert analytical reports (law suits, malfunctions, Formula 1
national and regional Industrial Property offices, such as the National assistance…).
Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and the European Patent Office
(EPO), until the patent certificates are issued. Defining new standards
The second area of my work relates to the freedom-of-use studies I also participate in national and international standards committees.
required before an innovation can be implemented, to check whether it is These committees prepare new standards to meet analysis requirements
covered by an existing patent. I search currently valid patents and associated with new regulations and the new products we develop (bio
examine them. This work also enables us to determine how much room fuels in particular).
for manoeuvre we have technically on innovations related with existing These developments have a significant impact on our strategy. Indeed,
patents. new standards have a direct effect on production and the technical
Finally, I have a role as advisor to researchers. For example, they consult specifications on which it is based.
me when they want to publish a technical paper and they submit their The type of work I do is very rewarding and I feel fully involved in the
project to me. I ensure that they are not disclosing any knowledge that research carried out by the Group.
should be protected.
This work with researchers is an important part of my activities. I would
not have had these contacts in an Industrial Property Agency where I
would be dealing with patent applications out of context. Here, I am
given a strategy and I get to work on projects. I have the opportunity to
continue in research and also to develop the results obtained.
I find it extremely rewarding to help others protect their innovations.

Photo credits: Dufour Marco and Patrick Boulen.


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