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A new, flexible, online short course to boost your career through specialist expertise in a cornerstone of oil and gas law.

Opportunities are growing for well-qualified experts in collaborative contracting, as companies increasingly share risk through joint venture routes to exploration and production.

As a lawyer in this fast-growing field or an ambitious industry professional you'll enjoy the convenience of online distance learning with the quality you expect from a top energy university.


For ten years Aberdeen's celebrated LLM in Oil and Gas Law has produced outstanding energy lawyers, with many alumni working at senior level for government and industry around the world.

The cornerstone of this highly-acclaimed programme is now available as a standalone, online short course, a unique offering from a university world renowned and highly experienced in oil and gas education – including this rapidly-developing area of commercial law.

Opportunities are growing for well-qualified experts in legal issues around co-operative contracting as oil and gas companies increasingly share risk through partnership routes to exploration and production. Lawyers build the legal arrangements necessary for co-venturing partners to collaborate, including complex joint bids, joint operating agreements, unitisation, confidentiality agreements and what happens when co-venturers disagree.

This course is designed for you – whether you are already a practising lawyer with interests in oil and gas law, or are working in the industry and nurturing ambitions to be fast-tracked to a senior role in commercial operations.

The University has long been at the forefront of researching many novel developments in policy and regulation as the industry evolves both in the UK and globally. You'll gain from this depth of expertise, decades of experience and influence in Europe's energy hub, and strong ongoing links with the industry and its regulators.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of track record, location, breadth of expertise, long experience, teaching and research strength, plus industry input, makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in all areas of oil and gas.

Our international School of Law is one the UK's elite training grounds for lawyers, ranked 5th in the UK for Law (The Complete University Guide and The Time Good University Guide 2019), joint 1st for Graduate Prospects (The Complete University Guide 2019) and highly rated for teaching, research and student care with 94% student satisfaction rating (NSS 2018).

We boast one of the largest and most internationally-experienced teams of oil and gas experts in any European law school, a team of leading practitioners in teaching and research across all legal fields pertaining to energy, including oil and gas, renewables and environmental law. This course addresses an area of particular strength and experience.

Previous graduates have gone on to enjoy highly successful careers. These range from senior positions with oil and gas companies, with international law firms servicing the industry, and also with government organisations across the world.

You can study this credit-bearing online short course standalone, or as a taster to continue your professional development with a PgCert, PgDip, and progress to a full online Masters programme in our popular and topical portfolio across the spectrum of law.

In an exit survey in 2016, 98% of students graduating from our LLM programme in Oil and Gas Law said that it had added value to their career prospects, and 97% would recommend this degree to others.

Our online and campus students benefit from the added focus and profile provided by the University's Aberdeen Institute of Energy, its Centre for Energy Law, and a rich programme of energy-themed events throughout the year. You will also have access to the wonderful online resources of the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library and the Law Library, with a first-class collection of reference works in law and related subjects.

What you'll study

Oil and gas companies increasingly share risk through collaborative routes to exploration and production. For example, expensive drilling operations may fail to deliver. For this reason companies increasingly choose to spread their risk exposure across a number of projects and with a variety of partners.

This course provides a detailed overview of the contracts which govern the commercial relationship between oil and gas companies when they form consortia to bid for and develop oil and gas assets. Lawyers build the legal arrangements necessary for co-venturing partners to collaborate, including complex joint bids and the agreements outlined below.

The course covers topics including the purpose and key terms of Area of Mutual Interest agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, Joint Bidding Agreements, Joint Operating Agreements (JOAs) which regulate the relationship between the parties to the joint venture, and Unitisation and Unit Operating Agreements (UOAs) for the management and operation of a unit area and a unitised zone.

You will learn from detailed discussion of selected issues, including the significance of the legal nature of the joint venture, the problem of dissensus between the co-venturers, and the legal issues arising from a default in a party's obligations under the joint venture.

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, employment and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities. We aim to create an online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

You'll be guided through your programme with podcasts of lectures, reading list, case studies, projects, videos, access to the wonderful online resources of our award-winning libraries and plenty of interactive discussion and support. Our first-class support structure will ensure that you are not alone in your study. Contact with your course tutors may be by email, Skype or Facetime, and you can use social media and discussion boards to find and talk to your fellow students wherever they are.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.


Our online courses are delivered through an online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and have been developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

You will have a range of different types of assessment during your course which will include online tests, essay answers and the writing of a legal brief.

Entry Requirements

Normally, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this course. Relevant practical experience in a related field will also be beneficial.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.