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Louise K., Subsurface Manager




Can you briefly describe the business areas that you work in and your primary tasks?

I work in the Subsurface Department where we work with ground reservoirs. Our primary task, you could say, is reservoir management. That means we find out how to get the most out of the wells we have, where we should put new wells, and how we should develop areas to get maximum resource recovery. It might sound very abstract, but it’s generally about gathering, choosing, and analyzing a lot of data. With that data, we form hypotheses, determine what we want to do, and then develop these ideas until they come to life.

What are the most exciting and challenging tasks in your job?

For me, the most exciting tasks are when I get to work with people. It’s about motivating my department to deliver our set goals and developing my team members to become even better at what they do. Things like that are really rewarding, and at the same time, challenging. What motivates one person, might not motivate the next person. Also, I’m part of a cross-departmental Asset Leadership Team. One of the rewarding things about being part of this team is that I learn a lot from other departments, and at the same time, I can contribute my own knowledge to improve their departments. Nevertheless, there can also be challenges. For example, sometimes I have to make compromises to my own departmental goals for the greater good of the company. Finally, I feel it’s rewarding that in Subsurface, we work a lot with identifying opportunities and determining if they are good ideas. This means I get to formulate the idea, discuss and develop it with a lot of people, get a budget for it, implement it, and then see the results. These ideas range from getting a well back to life, to producing or doubling the production of another well. It always brings a lot of excitement to see the results of your work.

How are you using your education in your current position?

I’m a chemical engineer by background. I did my master's degree at a technical university in Denmark. I can use a lot of knowledge gained about thermodynamics and separators from my studies. Yet, there are many things that I get to I learn on the job. Still, I apply my problem-solving skills from school to the new things I learn here. A major difference is that at university, I was given reliable data to work with. In Total, however, I have to do the data collection and analysis myself before starting the actual work. During university, I assumed the given pressure data was correct. Now, I have to figure out where I can find that data, which time span to record and measure, and determine if any of it is reliable. Therefore, I often need to contact several stakeholders from our offshore and production departments to verify these things. I guess that’s what makes it both challenging and exciting.

What are the three most important things to you in your job at Total?

The most important thing for me is that Total has strong values. Of course, Total has a great vision and strategy. For me personally, however, it means a lot that Total expresses the values of how we should work together. Total’s value of standing together and respecting each other very much overlaps with the way I like to work. Another great benefit is that Total is a large company. We are 100,000 people across many locations, and we specialize in a lot of different disciplines. This means we have huge opportunities at Total to grow and move around. Lastly, I enjoy coming to work every day because of the people. I get to meet and work with many smart, funny people within Total. Also, I love the multicultural team I’m working in—we are 20 people with over ten different nationalities!

Why is Total an attractive company for you to work for?

Total is one of the energy majors, and that means I play a part in bringing energy to people. The energy Total produces is needed for our everyday lives, but it is also used to fuel developments in greener energy innovation. Without us providing energy now, society wouldn’t be able to move ahead with the greener energy of the future. Actually, Total plays parts throughout the entire energy value chain, and also invests in companies that provide greener energy.