Rocks under scrutiny



By inaugurating an imaging platform for oil & gas on the campus of Pau university on October 23, Total is clearly asserting its ambition to create a scientific competency hub of international renown, focused on X-ray tomography imaging.

Using imaging to penetrate rock to a thousandth of a millimeter… With the latest-generation X-ray tomography imaging, this is no longer science fiction! In addition to the ultra-high-performance microtomograph installed at CSTJF*, Total – in partnership with the CNRS – has just created a new imaging platform and endowed a new Chair on the campus of Pau university. The objective here is to develop the technology and extend its scope. As new fields become increasingly complex to produce, the challenges we face are huge: by viewing fluid flow at pore scale we will be able to gain greater knowledge of the mechanisms that trap oil drops inside rocks to ultimately enhance our recovery factors.

“Our ambition is to establish a real scientific hub of international renown focused on microtomography imaging” explains project manager, Richard Rivenq. “The initiative represents a €5.4 million investment over five years.”

By pooling equipment and talents – the research team should have nine members by the end of the year – we will be able to develop tomorrow’s instruments, algorithms and petrophysical tools.

*Total’s scientific and technical center in Pau

What is X-ray tomography imaging?

It is a non-destructive technique that is used to transpose an object – including its internal structure – into a 3D image.