Congo - Operation "20,000 leagues under the sea" in the congo
Forests and Climate - Committed to a beneficial environment for humans
Annabelle Kama's path. Environmental studies and methods engineer for Total in the Congo, she participated in a "supermonitoring" operation off the N'Kossa oil field.
At each production site operated by Total, the Group performs environmental monitoring operations. This involves measuring the impact of our activities on the environment. In 2010, Total decided to compare the different environmental tools used for the seabed in order to choose the most appropriate monitoring tools for assessing the ecological quality of the surroundings. This “supermonitoring”, which I organized on a technical level, took place just off N'Kossa, one of our offshore oil fields in the Congo.
After four months of intense preparation, we mobilized a team of experts on the high seas for two weeks. Onboard our boat, equipped with a boom for taking samples and setting up multiple sensors, we brought together representatives of the Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (French research institute for exploration of the sea) and the University of Angers, a Norwegian research team studying ecotoxicity, as well as members of the Institut de recherches internationales et stratégiques (IRIS) [institute for international and strategic research] and the Total Petrochemicals research center.
Improving existing techniques
In general, we use "conventional" methods that rely on analysis of the seabed. This work on sediment has two aspects: physicochemical analyses and assessment of benthic macrofauna (crustaceans, mollusks, etc.), which are very sensitive to any trace of environmental contamination. Our work consisted in comparing these known techniques with other innovative techniques, in this case, the installation of passive sensors, the use of biomarkers, and ecotoxicological testing. We reached the conclusion that the conventional methods remain more effective at this time. Nonetheless, we are currently working on perfecting the innovative techniques to develop know-how in the area of environmental monitoring. It is our responsibility to offer our contribution to scientific knowledge.