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Changing the Face of the Oil & Gas Industry
Through Innovation and Digital Transformation

Kevin McLachlan


Our annual Best Innovators competition is instrumental in opening up new opportunities to make real progress in our production performance. With oil and gas prices more unpredictable than ever, our industry needs to tackle the increasingly pressing need for greater operational efficiency. By combining robust teamwork with unique technological know-how acquired over time and situations, our teams are pushing their limits with the primary aims of cutting costs, making decisions more quickly and efficiently and enhancing productivity, without compromising personnel safety. We take a closer look at these challenges with Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President, Exploration at E&P.

Best Innovators 2019: Meeting with Kevin McLachlan - Senior Vice President Exploration - Exploration & Production - Total

The Best Innovators 2019 competition has once again confirmed our pioneer spirit, testing our teams on their resourcefulness and adaptability. Each year, by taking every opportunity to harness the potential of the digital transformation, we create real value added across our entire value chain and throughout Total. All of our innovations — whether they involve exploration or production control, supply chain synchronization or maintenance operations planning, even IT efficiency — offer solutions to challenges prevalent in our industry.

The goal of the South Africa Exploration Project, winner of the top judges’ award at this year’s competition, was to successfully drill the Brulpadda exploration well in the Outeniqua basin, in an environment buffeted by exceptionally strong winds and waves, to a total depth of 3,633 meters. The campaign was singled out for its boldness in breaking new ground for oil and gas engineering and its tireless commitment to pushing back the frontiers of exploration.

This year also demonstrated the importance of emerging new technology for our operations, including additive manufacturing — better known as 3D printing — which captured second prize for the way it’s being used at our Akpo and Culzean assets. Thanks to advances in digital and robotics technology, we can create more lightweight and compact equipment in record time, without compromising on our commitment to sustainability.

Our third prize shines a spotlight on seismic data compression, thanks to a patented innovation known as Wavelet Packet Compression developed by our teams. Coupled with the recent start-up of our Pangea III supercomputer in June 2019, this technological breakthrough reduces our reliance on file systems while optimizing our HPC infrastructure. It’s a significant innovation for reducing the cost of our seismic surveys.

Our colleagues' Reactions to Best Innovators 2019

 Best Innovators 2019 Awards Ceremony - Exploration & Production - Total


First Judges' Award
South Africa Exploration Project

Second Award
Akpo & Culzean go for 3D-printing

Third Award
Compression of seismic data

Honorary President's Award
Well Test Log

Total Employees' Choice Award

Cold hull repair - T-ExS - Robot Process Automation - Air-Skate - Jacket Crawler Robot

Best Innovators

Achieving the Impossible on Brulpadda in South Africa

Best Innovators

3D Printing, a Series of Firsts for the Oil Industry

Research & Development

The Driving Force Behind Total’s Competitiveness