What is the Open Porous Media project?
Time for a change
The OPM project started 10 years ago but the first work on Flow, the reservoir simulator, didn’t start until four years later. It didn’t become a separate project within Eqinor until three years ago. Rustad believes the project came about as a means to cut costs and improve existing technology.
“I think the timing was due to the cost focus we had at the time. Licenses for software like these are very expensive and I believe it was seen as something we should try to change. We’ve also seen that reservoir simulator development has stagnated, and we’re paying large sums for tools that rarely change. So, we wanted to accelerate the technological development and began working on the project,” he says.
And this was when open source came into play, being seen as the only viable solution to solve this. Now, three years later, they’ve managed to do what others have tried before them: gathering a variety of contributors and creating a successful reservoir simulator.
“The oil business is traditionally very proprietary. And while we’ve seen that IT sectors have been successful in working open source, we had no idea how this project would turn out within our field. But it’s been amazing,” Rustad smiles.
He explains that while it seemed like the market was more than ready for this way of working, he was taken by surprise by how Equinor responded. Looking to the future, he believes that the open source model of working has created a domino effect that we’ll see in the years to come.
“I’m an open source enthusiast and was ready for an uphill battle. But Equinor saw the potential, made a change and got on board right away. This surprised me, but I believe it’s because we have a culture of sharing. The way Equinor handled this project and continues to work towards open source is admirable and something we can be proud of.”
Alf Birger Rustad
Open source 101
The term Open Source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. Authors of open source code make it available to others who want to view, copy, learn from, alter or share it. Different licenses affect the way users can use, study, modify and distribute software
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Alf Birger Rustad
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