This chat was held online on Monday, 26 March 2018 at 10:00 Central European Time, in English. The chat was organised by European Schoolnet in collaboration with one of the STEM Alliance partners: the European Petrochemical Association.

The purpose of this chat was to offer primary and secondary school students a better understanding of careers in the STEM field with the chemical and petrochemical industry. Specifically, this chat provided an insight into an engineering career. Two speakers from Total – a company member of the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) – presented their experience related to this career path and talked about the opportunities in their sector.

The chat was moderated and introduced by Maïté Debry, the STEM Alliance project manager from European Schoolnet. In order to tackle the shortage of STEM professionals in Europe, the STEM Alliance organises a series of webinars and online chats, the "STEM Careers and Skills of the Future" series, promoting STEM careers and studies. With this activity, the STEM Alliance stimulates students' interest for STEM careers with knowledge on opportunities, challenges and required skills and prepares teachers to be well equipped for current issues. For the purposes of developing a better insight into STEM careers, two STEM professionals were invited to join the chat.

  1. Find the Career Sheet: Operations Engineer created based on content picked up from the chat.
  2.  Download the chat summary here.
  3. Watch the webinar recording below!


Nick Bastiaansen is a dynamic manager at Total, responsible for all spot activity on Toluene and Xylenes (MX-OX-PX) within the Marketing – Base Chemicals Division in Europe. He is responsible for managing purchases and sales for system balancing, taking trade positions and using geographical arbitrage opportunities to other regions and negotiating spot deals and contracts in line with the commercial strategy. Nick has a solid background in economics: he completed a Masters in Economics at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His previous roles included risk management, compensation and HR-tools management, and internal auditing.

Nick Bastiaansen
Senior Trader Aromatics, Marketing – Base Chemicals Division, Total

Frederic Charton comes from a background of engineering in the energy, petrochemical and refining sectors. For his Master's degree, he studied Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Ecole Nationale Supreieure des Industries Chimiques. He started his career in a Process and Maintenance Engineer role, and then he moved on to various Operations Engineer positions in the energy and petrochemical industry. These positions have allowed him to manage teams, operate production units and ensure a high integrity of processes. Frederic has been an employee of Total for over 10 years. For the past three years, he has been working as an Aromatics Commercial Manager at the company.

Frederic Charton
C6 Aromatics Commercial Manager Europe, Total

About EPCA

Based in Brussels, the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) is the primary European Business Network for the global petrochemical business community consisting of chemical producers, their suppliers, customers and service providers. It operates for and through more than 700-member companies from 54 different countries. EPCA provides a member-oriented platform to connect and meet peers and potential partners, exchange ideas and showcase successes. EPCA is also a forum to develop and share knowledge and support innovation, forward thinking and sustainability. EPCA promotes STEM education, with a clear focus on gender and diversity inclusion. EPCA also highlight the multidisciplinary approach and the variety of challenging career paths that the petrochemical industry offers.

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