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An online short course tackling the critical issue of developing effective governance in new petroleum provinces across the world.

Created with passion and internationally-renowned expertise, this course aims to ensure that the discovery of oil and gas resources becomes a positive and productive venture for any new hydrocarbon province through a good and appropriate governance model.

Developed for a wide spectrum of professionals in law, industry, NGOs, and governments across the world.


Examples abound of the potential of newly-discovered hydrocarbon resources to fuel

corruption, inequality, and factionism, and what is known as ‘Dutch disease’ where growth in national income from natural resource extraction damages other sectors of a country's economy rather than deliver economic benefit in the best and fairest way possible for the population.

At Aberdeen we are committed to demonstrating social responsibility in the teaching of oil and gas law, and to use our acknowledged expertise, experience and influence to do all we can to ensure that the discovery of rich natural resources benefits all members of a population fairly and effectively.

Having good governance in place from the outset can avoid adverse consequences. And this opens tremendous opportunities for legal experts and related professionals in the industry – which this course aims to address.

You’ll look at the definition and theory of governance and regulation, the state's role in governance, transparency, corruption and the use of law to counter it. You’ll examine the role of legal institutions, national oil companies and international oil companies.

The opportunity to study online, at any location, and to fit learning around employment and personal commitments makes this short course ideal for lawyers and a wide range of professionals working throughout the world in the international oil and gas industry, in governments and NGOs – and importantly in law firms based in countries where an industry is beginning and investors are taking an interest.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of track record, 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.

This topic is a particular interest in our academic energy community. Our professors and tutors are passionate about transferring their knowledge and skills to legal and industry professionals with the potential to ensure that hydrocarbon discoveries become a force for good and not a route to economic inequality and corruption.

We boast one of the largest and most 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.

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).

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.

All our energy 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.

As a member of the Aberdeen community you will gain all the benefits of over 500 years of rich academic heritage combined with 21st century innovation and dynamism which today creates and delivers sought-after, flexible, industry-focused, world class programmes.

What you'll study

This course provides a detailed overview of the international and domestic law and regulatory regime pertaining to the proper governance of petroleum developments.

You’ll look at the definition and theory of governance and regulation, the state's role in governance, transparency, corruption and the use of law to counter it. You’ll examine the role of legal institutions, national oil companies and international oil companies.

You’ll study the Norwegian model, which is considered particularly good, and how it may be adapted to suit very different petroleum provinces in other parts of the world.

You’ll learn from highly-skilled lawyers at a UK top-ten School of Law, with much experience in both international law and the energy industry, as you grow your own knowledge, expertise and career prospects while enjoying the convenience of online distance learning.

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 by a variety of methods including podcasts, core readings, discussion boards and interactive discussion.

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 three mini-assessments during your course, and a larger exercise towards the end for which you will be asked to compose a briefing note to a minister in a country with new oil and gas discoveries. In your note you will set out a governance system, customised for his country, which will ensure positive benefit for the whole population and avoid the pitfalls that other countries have experienced.

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.