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Gain specialist knowledge and skills in the issues arising when international investment disputes occur in the oil and gas industry.

Get the benefit of Aberdeen’s unique combination of strength and experience in teaching and research in energy, international law, and dispute resolution.

Take advantage of growing career opportunities in a global industry as an ambitious energy lawyer, with all the advantages of distance learning whatever your location in the world.


This course complements the short courses in International Investment Law and International Investment Arbitration to provide a specific focus on the oil and gas industry. Lawyers with clients in the energy industry, or working inhouse, are likely at some point to face a dispute in an investment or contractual issue.

You’ll concentrate on the particular issues arising when disputes occur in this industry and the key issues that interact in the dispute resolution process. You’ll gain a detailed overview of oil and gas international arbitration proceedings in the context of foreign investments. Arbitration is growing in popularity as a dispute resolution method across a variety of sectors, and internationally, and is now the preferred means of resolving, for example, a trade dispute between companies based in different legal jurisdictions.

Aberdeen is the obvious provider of this course, with a proven track record in teaching, research and advising on all international aspects of the energy industry. You’ll learn from highly-experienced experts and practising lawyers specialising in the fields of energy, international law and dispute resolution.

The course will give you significant professional benefit as a lawyer advising clients on international activity, or if you work inhouse in this global industry as legal professional or in senior management.

This credit-bearing programme can be studied standalone, or you may wish to use your credits in working towards our highly-rated Masters programme in Oil and Gas Law, also now available online.

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. An education in energy from Aberdeen is recognised as among the best in Europe.

Similarly, 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 topic of dispute resolution is also particular strength at Aberdeen, with academics highly experienced in teaching and researching this subject. We teach this at undergraduate, professional postgraduate and Masters levels, with the on-campus Masters programme in Professional Arbitration Skills accredited by leading professional body, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

You can study this credit-bearing online short course standalone, or as a taster to continue your professional development and progress to a full online Masters programme in Oil and Gas Law. This has proved a passport to career success for many alumni now working at senior level for government and industry around the world.

What you'll study

You’ll concentrate on the particular issues arising when disputes occur in the petroleum industry and the key issues that interact in the dispute resolution process. You’ll also gain a detailed overview of oil and gas international arbitration proceedings in the context of foreign investments.

You’ll study the substantive, procedural and technical issues of arbitration specific to the oil and gas industry, and issues of compensation for inequitable treatment or expropriation.

The course will also cover topics including applicable law and lex pretolea (the notion of rules specific to international petroleum transactions), the Energy  Charter Treaty, stabilisation and renegotiation clauses, and an extensive discussion on disputes concerning gas supply, upstream oil and climate change.

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.

We expect you to spend 10-15 hours a week on your course. You’ll be guided through your programme with video lectures, weekly tutorials, projects and reading list. This is a highly interactive course and you’ll enjoy plenty of interaction with your tutors, and with your virtual classmates on discussion boards.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the career advantage of this course combined with the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.


Assessment is by assignments through your discussion board, together with an open book examination.

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.