Rock Flow Dynamics was started in the Spring of 2005, when two mathematicians, one physicist, and one businessman each invested their own funds into office, computers, and salaries of the initial RFD team with just 5 people on board. By the end of 2005, the company released its first commercial product RFSim™, which worked only in serial non-parallel mode and supported a limited set of “black oil” and compositional dynamic reservoir models. But despite the limited functionality of the early versions, fully-implicit RFSim™ already had a number of very distinct advantages over the existing industry standard simulators. It featured live runtime monitoring of dynamic simulation data, had a highly interactive multi-window GUI, and could run on multiple platforms (32 and 64-bit Windows, Linux). Overall, RFSim™ was simple, but fairly reliable and easy to use software laying the ground work for the next generation RFD product - tNavigator™. It was the ability of RFSim™ to handle large hydrodynamic models, which eventually helped Rock Flow Dynamics win its first commercial contracts. The early success of RFSim™ allowed the company to get engaged in reservoir simulation consulting and generate much needed cash flow to fund the ongoing software development.
In 2007, the aggressive marketing campaign and growing competiveness of RFD technology finally paid off and the first large scale software development contract was signed with TNK-BP. The special software package iFlood helped engineers to generate and run simple dynamic reservoir models and use streamline analysis to optimize waterflooding for mature fields in Western Siberia.
Like any new player, the development team of RFD faces two almost self-contradictory challenges: on the one hand, the product must deliver a steady pipeline of new innovative features and thus differentiate itself from the rest of the competitors, but on the other hand it is supposed to support all the basic functionality and industry standard input and output data formats. As a result, tNavigator™ is able to handle the input decks of ECLIPSE© 100 and 300 by Schlumberger, IMEX and STARS™ by CMG and Tempest MORE™ by ROXAR directly, without any additional conversions. The list of new and rather unique pieces of technology implemented in tNavigator includes a thermal compositional simulation module developed together with the engineers of state owned oil major Zarubezhneft. The following simulation technologies were jointly developed with the TNK-BP reservoir simulation experts: BrightWater nano-polymer flooding, near well bore zone modeling, simulations of fractures for full-field models, flooding in the presence of reservoir salt, and others.
The year 2010 can be called a breakthrough year in the short history of Rock Flow Dynamics. The wide spread availability of computers with multicore CPUs combined with the excellent parallel scalability of tNavigator put RFD in a unique market position. The breakthroughs in HPC computing technologies developed by RFD attracted attention of one of the world’s largest venture technological investment funds - Intel Capital. In November of 2010 Intel Capital made a decision to invest $2 million in Rock Flow Dynamics. At the same time, the world’s technology leader Intel Corporation signed a 3-year world-wide co-marketing agreement to promote RFD revolutionary software technologies together with Intel’s next generation multi- and many-core computing platforms.