Open Porous Media Simulator

The principal objective of the Open Porous Media (OPM) initiative is to develop a simulation suite that is capable of modeling industrially and scientifically relevant flow and transport processes in porous media and bridge the gap between the different application areas of porous media modeling, including reservoir mechanics, CO2 sequestration, biological systems, and product development of engineered media.


The OPM initiative will provide a long-lasting, efficient, and well-maintained, open-source software for flow and transport in porous media built on modern software principles. The resulting software should:

  • have functionality supporting multiple application areas
  • handle industrially relevant cases
  • be easy to extend with new functionality
  • be built on open source code principles
  • have a relatively low user threshold

The OPM initiative is based on a collaborative effort of several research groups, each having a different research focus, and will mainly target developers and advanced users of new modelling schemes and computational methodologies within academia and industry. Graphical user interfaces, visualization and integrated work flows is also within the scope of OPM.

The suite is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) software license, which is the most popular license for free software. The motivation is to provide a means to unite industry and public research on simulation of flow and transport in porous media. For academic users, we seek to provide a software infrastructure that facilitates testing of new ideas on models with industrystandard complexity, while at the same time giving the researcher control over discretisation and solvers. Similarly, we aim to accelerate the technology transfer from academic institutions to professional companies by making new research results available as free software of professional standard.

The idea of an open-source simulator suite for flow and tranport in porous media was initially set forth by Dr. Alf Birger Rustad at the Statoil Research Center, Trondheim. The OPM initiative is initially supported by several research groups in Norway and Germany. Based on existing grants from public research agencies and funding from Statoil, the research groups have made the first steps towards developing the OPM simulation suite.

Read more on the OPM website


The OPM software suite has been developed with contributions from multiple projects. Examples include:

  • Clastic:  a joint-industry project funded by Statoil Petroleum and Total E&P Norge. The project aims at developing OPM with simulation capabilities of enhanced oil recovery processes from clastic reservoirs. Research partners are: IRIS Energy, SINTEF ICT, University of Heidelberg, and University of Stuttgart.
  • Numerical CO2-laboratory: a knowledge-building project funded by Statoil Petroleum and the CLIMIT program at the Research Council of Norway. The project aims at developing OPM with simulation capabilities of basic mechanisms for trapping CO2 in aquifers and abandoned petroleum fields. Research partners are: SINTEF ICT, IRIS Energy, University of Bergen, and Uni Research/CIPR.
  • Simulation tools for CO2 storage and CO2-EOR: a demonstration project funded by Statoil and the CLIMIT program. The project aim is to provide field scale simulation capabilities necessary for studying CO2 EOR and storage operations on the Norwegian continental shelf. Partners are: SINTEF ICT, IRIS Energy, Statoil, Digitrail and Dr. Markus Blatt.

All projects focus on developing simulation tools based on modern software principles using compiled languages (C++/C). In addition, SINTEF ICT is developing the Matlab Reservoir Simulation Toolbox (MRST), which provides a script-based interface to solvers in OPM. MRST also implements the same solvers in native Matlab and can thus be used independently.