Realistic simulation of structurally complex reservoirs (SCR) is challenging in at least three ways: (1) geological structures must be represented and discretized accurately on vastly different length scales; (2) extreme ranges and discontinuous variations of material properties have to be associated with the discretized structures and accounted for in the computations; and (3) episodic, highly transient and often localized events such as well shut-in have to be resolved adequately within the overall production history, necessitating a highly adaptive resolution of time. To facilitate numerical experiments that elucidate the emergent properties, typical states and state transitions of SCRs, an application programmer interface (API) called complex systems modelling platform (CSMP ++) has been engineered in ANSI/ISO C ++. It implements a geometry and process-based SCR decomposition in space and time, and uses an algebraic multigrid solver (SAMG) for the spatio-temporal integration of the governing partial differential equations. This paper describes a new SCR simulation workflow including a two-phase fluid flow model that is compared with ECLIPSE in a single-fracture flow simulation. Geologically realistic application examples are presented for incompressible 2-phase flow, compressible 3-phase flow, and pressure-diffusion in a sector-scale model of a structurally complex reservoir. © The Geological Society of London 2007.