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04/01/2023 News

OPERA, 20 years’ research cooperation between TotalEnergies and the UPPA

  • TotalEnergies’ R&D teams and the UPPA (University of Pau and the Pays de l’Adour) have been working together for more than 20 years as part of OPERA.
  • The OPERA research organization focuses on geophysical imaging and data.
  • The team develops innovative tools, in line with TotalEnergies’ activities.

OPERA is a long-standing partnership in our region! And one which has included almost daily exchanges between TotalEnergies and the UPPA for the past 20 years. Bertrand Duquet, a geophysics expert at the CSTJF in Pau and technical coordinator of the OPERA project, and Reda Baina, Director of OPERA as part of the ADERA, talk of it as “a lasting win-win partnership and results that everyone can be proud of.” “Thanks to this partnership, we have a strong working relationship with a dozen researchers in Pau, all dedicated to TotalEnergies’ R&D issues and at the cutting-edge of technological progress in seismic imaging,” explains Bertrand Duquet. A project group, which is a driving force behind all the emerging technologies that present an interest for TotalEnergies affiliates.


OPERA drives innovation

Since the early noughties, the OPERA team has developed more than half of the tools used in TotalEnergies’ operational imagining studies (TITAN, DIVA). These innovations were the subject of jointly filed patents, numerous publications and co-presentations at international conferences. “OPERA’s success can be explained by the fact that the researchers are fully integrated into TotalEnergies’ teams,” adds Reda Baina. “They take part in many workshops and in the technical committee meetings. They also represent a talent pool for the Company which has hired several of them over the years.” The CSTJF also frequently welcomes the OPERA/UPPA researchers for periods of six months to two years so that they get to fully understand the operational constraints in the field.


A well-oiled method 

“Every three years we define a work plan together based on issues encountered in the field,” Bertrand Duquet continues. Recent examples include the LAPA project in Brazil, where TotalEnergies wants to improve the characterization of carbonate reservoirs using new imaging methods, within lead times that will ensure production requirements are respected. “We have also set up an annual steering committee meeting, attended by the researchers, the heads of each discipline and the R&D team members in order to adjust the roadmap. And every fortnight, we hold a meeting to follow up on work, inform everyone of the progress made, of successes and any difficulties,” concludes Reda Baina.


From ideas to after-sales service, toward new topics

OPERA advocates a global R&D approach, from concept to industrialization. “We act at several levels: developing an idea, applying innovation to real data, and moving up to industrial scale. Not forgetting an after-sales service for the innovative solutions developed, including training TotalEnergies teams in how to use them and making changes to the tool according to feedback received. This agility and flexibility are the backbone of our partnership, a distinctive characteristic that sets it apart from many other university research groups,” specifies Reda Baina. In response to the development of the Company’s multi-energy activities, to which the CSTJF and the PERL massively contribute, OPERA is thinking of new research topics outside of the oil & gas perimeter: 4D monitoring, carbon storage, very high-resolution imaging for geotechnical studies. “As part of the energy transition, we are working with TotalEnergies on the imaging of CO2 sequestration, particularly on new, low-cost, less conventional acquisition methods, such as fiber optic acquisition.”
To be continued...


Proximity, interaction, impact, watch the video to discover the benefits of OPERA with Frédéric Joncour,  Seismic Imaging and Processing Manager - CSTJF TotalEnergies Pau