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An online short course to develop expertise in a key area of the anticipated boom market in decommissioning of oil and gas installations.

Looking at the UK model, you’ll gain a comprehensive overview of the complex contractual and commercial issues in a market estimated at £30-50bn.

As an ambitious industry or legal professional you’ll boost your skills in a highly topical area as you enjoy the convenience of distance learning with a university proud of an unrivalled reputation in energy and law.


As the UK and other offshore basins mature and industry activity evolves, decommissioning existing infrastructure is creating new career opportunities in a market estimated at £30-50bn.

Using the UK example, you’ll consider the commercial aspects of decommissioning in light of the MER obligation to maximise economic recovery of hydrocarbons.

You’ll look at contracts, innovative contracting models, the legal (including tax) issues which arise as a result of decommissioning costs, and the interaction between the law of decommissioning and the law of insolvency.

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.

The opportunity to combine this quality of teaching with the convenience of studying online, at any location, and fitting your learning around employment and personal commitments, makes this short course ideal for lawyers and a wide range of professionals working both in the UK and throughout the world in the international oil and gas industry.

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, 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.

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.

The University has specialist strength in all the disciplines required to meet the decommissioning challenge, from engineering to law, business and environmental protection. A suite of new educational opportunities is now available from undergraduate to postgraduate professional development to PhD research opportunities.

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 the full online Masters programme in Decommissioning.

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

This flexible, online short course will give you a comprehensive overview of the contractual and commercial issues which arise when decommissioning offshore installations.

You’ll use the UK as an example to consider the commercial context for decommissioning in the light of the MER obligation to maximise economic recovery of hydrocarbons. You’ll consider the supply chain and the perspectives of the operator and the contractors.

Your study of contracts will include key contractual clauses and how risk is allocated. You’ll also examine innovative and alternative contracting models, including turnkey and campaign contracting strategies. And you’ll look at decommissioning costs and the tax implications of decommissioning including tax stability, portability of tax history, and decommissioning cost deeds. You’ll also focus on the interaction between decommissioning and the law of insolvency.

The University has specialist strength in all the disciplines required for decommissioning, having developed a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the oil and gas industry locally and globally over many decades. Decommissioning has been a topic of strong interest for some years.

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, so that you can 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 online lectures, materials, 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 four assessments during your course, which may include multiple choice tests, essays, and group work. Towards the end of the course these will become more challenging to test your understanding of the issues and your critical analysis.

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.