On March 15th 2016, Guillaume Rongier defended his PhD entitled connectivity of channelized sedimentary systems: strategies for analysis and simulation in subsurface modeling (Connectivité de corps sédimentaires chenalisés : stratégies d'analyse et de simulation en modélisation de subsurface).

Congratulations Dr. Rongier!

In addition to the defense, you can also see the jury's questions.


Channels are the main sedimentary structures for sediment transportation and deposition from the continents to the ocean floor. The significant permeability of their deposits enables fluid circulation and storage. As illustrated with turbiditic systems, those channel fill is highly heterogeneous. Combined with the spatial organization of the channels, this impacts significantly the connectivity between the permeable deposits. The scarcity of the field data involves an incomplete knowledge of these subsurface reservoir architectures. In such environments, stochastic simulations are used to estimate the resources and give an insight on the associated uncertainties. Several methods have been developed to reproduce these complex environments. They raise two main concerns: how to analyze and compare the connectivity of a set of stochastic simulations? How to improve the representation of the connectivity within stochastic simulations of channels and reduce the uncertainties?

The first concern leads to the development of a method to objectively compare realizations in terms of connectivity. The proposed approach relies on the connected components of the simulations, on which several indicators are computed. A muldimensional scaling (MDS) representation facilitates the realization comparison. The observations on the MDS are then validated by the analysis of the heatmap and the indicators. The application to a synthetic case study highlights the difference of connectivity between several methods and parameter values to model channel/levee complexes. In particular, some methods are far from representing channel-shaped bodies.

Two main issues derive from the second concern. The first issue is the difficulty to simulate a highly elongated object, here a channel, conditioned to well or seismic-derived data. We rely on a formal grammar, the Lindenmayer system, to stochastically simulate conditional channel objects. Predefined growth rules control the channel morphology to simulate straight to sinuous channels. That morphology conditions the data during its development thanks to attractive and repulsive constraints. Such constraints ensure the conditioning while preserving at best the channel morphology. The second issue arises from the limited control on the channel organization. This aspect is addressed by taking into account the evolution processes underlying channel organization. An initial channel is simulated with a Lindenmayer system. Then that channel migrates using sequential Gaussian simulation or multiple-point simulation if a training set is available. This process reproduces the complex relationships between successive channels without relying on partially validated physical models with an often constraining parameterization.

The applications of those various works to synthetic cases highlight the potentiality of the approaches. They open up interesting prospects to better take into account the connectivity when stochastically simulating channels.

This PhD was advised by Philippe Renard (Univ. Neuchâtel), Pauline Collon (Univ. Lorraine) and Judith Sausse (Univ. Lorraine).

The other members of this PhD committe were: Gregoire Mariethoz, Klaus Mosegaard, Thierry Mulder, Michael Pyrcz, Julien Straubhaar, Sebastien Stébelle, Vanessa Teles.