ComPASS: a tool for distributed parallel finite volume discretizations on general unstructured polyhedral meshes. The objective of the ComPASS project is to develop a parallel multiphase Darcy flow simulator adapted to general unstructured polyhedral meshes (in a general sense with possibly non planar faces) and to the parallelization of advanced finite volume discretizations with various choices of the degrees of freedom such as cell centres, vertices, or face centres. The main targeted applications are the simulation of CO$_2$ geological storage, nuclear waste repository and reservoir simulations. par The CEMRACS 2012 summer school devoted to high performance computing has been an ideal framework to start this collaborative project. This paper describes what has been achieved during the four weeks of the CEMRACS project which has been focusing on the implementation of basic features of the code such as the distributed unstructured polyhedral mesh, the synchronization of the degrees of freedom, and the connection to scientific libraries including the partitioner METIS, the visualization tool PARAVIEW, and the parallel linear solver library PETSc. The parallel efficiency of this first version of the ComPASS code has been validated on a toy parabolic problem using the Vertex Approximate Gradient finite volume spatial discretization with both cell and vertex degrees of freedom, combined with an Euler implicit time integration.