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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:39

Course Overview

Oil and gas are valuable commodities.  They provide a state - and the companies it permits to exploit these commodities - with a source of financial revenue, boost to local economies, potential to secure energy supplies and geo-political power.  This comes at a cost: development of oil and gas assets may be associated with health and safety risk or environmental degradation.  Burning hydrocarbons contributes to climate change.  Oil and gas are finite resources, so the state must face the prospect of decommissioning installations from which oil and gas was produced, and prepare for the time when these assets are gone.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Greg Gordon

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

To provide students with an overview of the key issues in oil and gas law, particularly in the UK.

The course further aims to permit students to develop their critical and analytical skills by considering relevant policy and other contextual material and integrating such material into their analysis.

Main Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of a number of issues in oil and gas law.  The particular areas studied will vary from time to time depending on factors such as current developments in the law and the research interests of staff involved, but irrespective of the topics selected, students will have an opportunity to:-

1.       Demonstrate an understanding of the licensing model used to exercise control over hydrocarbon resources by the UK government.

2.       Demonstrate an understanding of the commercial and strategic imperatives underlying oil and gas contractual arrangements and the key legal devices used to further those goals.

3.       Demonstrate an understanding of the regulation of key substantive issues in the oil and gas industry.

4.       Explain and analyse the legal rights and responsibilities of key actors in each of the above settings.

Subject Specific Skills and Concepts

Students will be able to:

1.               differentiate between and use appropriate primary and secondary sources and identify and retrieve up-to-date legal information using paper and electronic sources;

2.         use recognised methods of citation;

3.         use  sources to support arguments and conclusions;

4.         recognise, analyse, and rank arguments and evidence in terms of relevance and importance by managing volume of legal sources and select key material to construct written or oral answers to a legal problem;

5.         bring together, integrate, compare and synthesise information and materials from a variety of different sources, which explore policy and doctrinal issues;

6.         present arguments for and against propositions;

7.         think critically and make critical judgements on the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions and make choices as to the most preferable;

8          communicate orally and in writing (and electronically where appropriate) using English language by creating work in a permanent format that is understandable by the intended audience (through submission of exam answers, essays, and participating in seminar discussion);

9.            display informed knowledge and understanding of the social, economic, moral and ethical contexts in which law operates by demonstrating legal knowledge in association with related policy, underlying social conditions, professional ethical issues and moral issues.





Key Skills (Transferable)

Key Skills (Transferable):

1.         Communicate orally and in writing;

2.         ability to  work independently, to organise and manage  time, stress and effort in performance of tasks;

3.         critical analysis;

4.         logical argument;

5.         an ability to synthesise and organise complex materials and arguments;

6.         with limited guidance act independentlyin planning and undertaking tasks;  

7.         conduct informal oral presentations by contributing to class discussion; 

8.         make appropriate use of technology in research, writing and oral presentations; and

9.         reflect on own learning and to seek and make use of feedback.

Course Content

The course will explore and critically evaluate selected areas of oil and gas law..  The particular topics selected will vary from time to time depending on factors such as current developments in the law and the research interests of staff involved, but are likely to include some or all of the following:

·                Energy Security and policy

·                Historical development of oil and gas industry in the UK

·                Petroleum Licensing

·                Third Party Access to Infrastructure

·                Joint Operating Agreements

·                Indemnification provisions and/or other provisions bearing upon liability

·                Oil spill liability

·                The regulation of health and safety offshore

·                The decommissioning of offshore installations

·                The law and regulation of onshore unconventional operations

·                The transportation of oil and gas

·                The legal challenges facing Enhanced Oil Recovery Using CCS


Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

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Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

1 two-hour written examination (75%); continuous assessment by way of a piece of coursework of 2000 - 2500 words (25%).


Any student failing the course overall will be assessed way of a further two-hour resit examination.  Students who failed the continuous assessment will be assessed by means of the resit examination alone; students who passed the continuous assessment will be entitled to carry forward the result of the continuous assessment.

Formative Assessment

This will be by way of optional online quizzes.



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