Reservoir simulation based on open-source software "OpenFOAM"

Stephan Reitler

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

1296 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of reservoir simulation is to predict the future performance of a hydrocarbon bearing reservoir and find ways and means to optimize the recovery of the field. In the last two decades reservoir simulation has become more and more essential for the worldwide up-stream industry and numerous reservoir simulation tools have been launched on the market. These user-friendly, commercial software packages were designed to satisfy the needs of the petroleum industry for reliable production forecasts and reservoir characterizations. When compared to commercial software, reservoir simulation based on OpenSource software OpenFOAM [12] would offer several advantages, particularly for academic reservoir simulation-training. For the first time, users have the possibility to gain direct access and to modify the source code. Apart from this benefit, OpenFOAM is equipped with integrated state of the art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models [19]. OpenFOAM is also cost-efficient as it is freely available. However, OpenFOAMs user-friendliness is restricted by the fact that users are required to possess solid programming and specific mathematical skills, which are not required when using commercial software. For this thesis an OpenFOAM based reservoir simulation solver called PRSFoam was developed and tested. The results of this OpenSource solver were compared to the performance of the commercial solver ECLIPSE [22] by Schlumberger [32]. Both tools were used to solve the single-phase black-oil model [4] for three test-reservoirs. The final conclusions of this thesis indicate that the results of both simulation tools only differ slightly in respect of achieved pressure performance and production rate. Consequently OpenFOAM reservoir simulation truly represents an expandable, useful and alternative option to costly commercial simulation tools.
Translated title of the contributionModerne Lagerstätten Simulation basierend auf der OpenSource Software "OpenFOAM"
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Brandstätter, Wilhelm, Supervisor (internal)
Award date18 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • upstream industry reservoir simulation software Eclipse OpenFoam open source software academic reservoir simulation training

Cite this