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The “BIOZAÏRE” Program: A Multidisciplinary Environmental Study on the Equatorial African Margin—Application to Deep Sea Oil Field Developments


Miné, Jacques1, Myriam Sibuet2, Lenaïck Menot3, Josiane Durrieu4 (1) Total E&P, Paris la Défense Cédex, France (2) IFREMER, Plouzané, France (3) University of Occidental Brittany, Plouzané, France (4) Total E&P -HSE Division-Environment Operations Department, Pau, France


The ecological characteristic of the Equatorial African margin (Angola, Gabon) is the existence of two additional major trophic sources: terrestrial deposits transported by the Zaïre River deltaic system and local sources issued from “cold seepages”. These sources generate the development of rich and complex deep-sea ecosystems with the special feature of benthic communities related to chemosynthetic processes.

These characteristics lead to develop the “BIOZAÏRE” research program, performed in a technical partnership between the French Oceanographic Centre (IFREMER) and TOTAL, in order to increase the reliability of the environmental studies performed in connection with the deep-sea oil fields developments in Angola.

The paper will present the program itself and its results with emphasis on:

.                       • The elaboration of a reliable and reproducible methodology of sampling adapted to thesize, the abundance and the natural variability of the fauna.

.                       • The understanding of the structure and functioning of benthic communities to betteridentify a possible impact of the oil E&P activity and to measure the ability of the environ­ment to return to the equilibrium after perturbation.