Skip to content

Maisa Monteiro Da Cunha - Digital Product Owner

Woman with very long straight brown hair wearing a white blouse

Maisa, you joined TotalEnergies in 2008 working in our Buenos Aires office in Argentina. Tell us about your career journey with the Company since then.

I started with the Company working as an engineer in the drilling and wells department. It was during a key phase of Argentina’s shale gas development. I had several operational roles covering well servicing, completions and stimulation which were really exciting as they involved travelling a lot to our sites, mainly onshore, to follow up on our tight and shale gas operations.

I then moved to the Company’s Centre of Technical Excellence in Pau, in the south of France, where I was responsible for stimulation and completion studies for the Exploration & Production business around the world. After three years in this role, I supported the integration of Maersk Oil’s drilling and wells technical standards and procedures into ours after it was acquired by TotalEnergies in 2017. It was completely different to anything I had done before but a role which started to pave the way to a future change in my career.

What do you do in your current role?

In 2021 I moved to the UK to start working in the Digital & Data team as a Product Owner. We have several squads developing digital solutions such as apps and tools to help make production as well as our offshore operations, maintenance and logistics smarter and more efficient.

A great example of one of our solutions is Well Guardian, a collaborative tool that brings the Drilling & Wells, Field Operations and Geoscience disciplines together. It essentially helps you better understand what is going on in a well, when a well needs to have an intervention and how to shorten the preparation time. It’s an integrated digital platform that enables data visualisation and analytics which means interventions can be accelerated with simpler, more efficient planning and execution.

What do you love most about your job?

The interaction with users! Being able to listen to them, understand and analyse how they work and what their pain points are is my passion. Getting everyone together in a room and starting a new product from scratch is absolutely fascinating to me.

Typically, we start with design thinking workshops where we go through a team’s processes, understand their frustrations and start imagining what a possible tool could look like.

Another thing I love is working with people from different backgrounds. In Digital & Data we use a combination of Lean and Agile methods, specifically Scrum, which presents great differences from traditional operational ways of working. For example, a cross-functional team is formed around a certain purpose (i.e. a client’s needs); continuous improvement and experimenting is greatly encouraged; and mistakes are the measure of an organisation’s learning, so a fail-fast approach to a develop a product is highly promoted!

Do you feel like you’re making a difference in your job?

Absolutely! The sensation of creating something completely new, something that has never been done before to make our technicians and engineers work safer, more efficiently and reduce the impact of our operations to the environment is not only exciting and innovative but also fills me with a great sense of purpose and meaning. We are literally transforming the way our teams work and paving the way in this energy transition.

What is a particular career highlight when you look back at your time in the Company?

My transition from operations to the digital team and our achievements with Well Guardian. I’m still super proud of what we achieved with it: in just five months, we designed, developed and released this product to our users. We published an SPE Paper on the product and I also had the chance to present it at different conferences in 2022 such as ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi, the ICoTA Well Intervention Conference & Exhibition in Aberdeen the Future Digital Twin Conference.

The value was quickly recognised by HQ in France, and they have now deployed it in Denmark, with plans for Nigeria, Congo, Angola and Brazil.

Graduating as an Engineer, did you ever think you would end up working in a field like Digital & Data in the energy industry?

When I started working at Total in 2008, as it was known then, I would never have imagined that there was going to be a branch of the Company dedicated to digital products or the extent of digitalisation within the Company itself. Nowadays, it is completely different which is just incredible.

There are many more and varied types of jobs to consider for young people compared to when I started. People can join an energy company and go into renewables, carbon capture and storage, offshore wind and solar, hydrogen, biomass… it is now so diverse! I changed track to move into digital, which is a transferable skill that is useful in many areas. I can’t wait for further challenging projects to come along and to support TotalEnergies on achieving its energy transition goals.

What do you think sets TotalEnergies apart as a company to work for?

One of the biggest differentiators for me is the internal mobility programme and the possibility of working and living abroad as an expat with your family. Getting to know other cultures is something that I find so enriching from both a professional and personal point of view. And I love travelling so it’s a win win for me!

I left Argentina in 2015 and spent six years in Pau, which was just mesmerising. It’s a perfect spot as you are near the mountains and near the sea…and as I’m from Argentina, being able to escape to Spain every other weekend was a huge plus! I had an amazing time and it will always remain as one of my favourite places in the world.

Another thing is the training, workshops and conferences… there’s always something going on and we are given the chance to participate in a wide range of activities (virtually and in-person) that motivate you and help you to engage with others in a similar field.

And finally, outside of work, what do you like to do?

Life with three young children can be quite challenging and sometimes finding time for myself can be very tricky! But I love walking in the woods, particularly here in Scotland, and feeling connected with nature. Spending time outside in the fresh air recharges me and helps me refocus on what is needed at the time. I also practise different meditation and breathing techniques that have a true impact on my wellbeing, and these are activities I can easily “squeeze” into my tight agenda!

To find out more about the Well Guardian tool, read Maisa’s interview with Future Oil & Gas.