Interview with Michel Fouteau from Total Professeurs Associés

2020-02-26

Our interviewée last week Michel Fouteau from Total Professeurs Associés was delivering a special module on “Oil and Gas Project Management” for UFAZ fourth-year students from Oil & Gas and Geosciences Engineering specialities, on February 3-7, 2020.

Could you briefly describe your academic background?

I am a Graduate Engineer from Arts & Métiers (1966) and a Graduate Welding Engineer from ESSA (1967). I spent most of my career in the oil and gas industry, and mostly in offshore business. I worked in various positions from Field Engineer to Client Representative at different installations, up to Project Director at SAIPEM SA. 

Could you tell us about the module you teach in class?

The module I am teaching in class is related to project management. I explain to the students the content of links that exist between oil companies and contractors. Since students do not still possess an industrial experience, sometimes it might seem a bit difficult for them to understand, but I try my best to illustrate the important aspects of contracts in this business. It is important that the contracts are well made, and well followed up and  in this respect, I am explaining to them the classic possible scenarios that exist. The topics I am presenting can be applied to any industry, although some of them are quite strict to the oil and gas industry.

On the last day of class, students will be taking an exam on what they have covered during the one-week class in small groups. The ones who pass the exam will get a certificate.

What are your impressions and feedback about UFAZ students? How do they differ from the students of other French universities?

Some of them seem very interested and curious - they are asking relevant well-formed questions.

When I provide them with exercises, I ask them to work in small groups of 2-3 in order to get used to the structure of the project team where people are always working together rather than individually. Some of them get surprised by this, but we are here to help them to go in this direction. In France, students tend to work in groups, but here students are more prone to individualistic approaches when it comes to solving the exercises.

What do you wish and recommend to UFAZ tudents?

UFAZ students are very lucky, since in Azerbaijan there are a lot of opportunities regarding the oil and gas industry. I wish them to concentrate more on the courses, take as much knowledge as possible during their studies and to move further.