The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date


  • Contact

    Postgraduate enquiries (EPS)

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 451 3023

  • Email


The oil and gas industry faces several challenges in the supply of oil and gas, both as energy and sources of chemical raw materials. There are a large number of areas in the world where reservoirs are in decline and a number of new reservoirs that are more challenging to produce from. Both present major technical challenges to the oil and gas operators. Of equal difficulty is maintaining the number of engineers within the industry who have the necessary skills and knowledge needed to produce oil and gas. This course was developed to provide engineers entering the oil and gas industry with the background and knowledge of these challenges.

Traditionally in the UK, the vast majority of engineers enter the industry through two routes; either as facilities or surface engineers or through the petroleum engineering or sub-surface engineering route.

This course was been designed with the help of the industry to provide a cross over between surface and sub-surface engineering functions with the intent that future oil and gas operations can be better optimised to enhance recovery of the reserves. In order to maximise recovery, surface engineers in an operating company must communicate effectively with the reservoir and production engineers within their own company as well as develop relationships with and assess the work of contractors and vendors when designing and constructing facilities. Therefore, surface engineers need to be competent not only in the areas of process design, pipeline engineering, but also be familiar with reservoir engineering, production technology and a variety of other engineering and management subjects, such as safety and control, management of projects, economics and planning, etc.

The course is organised and managed through the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and offers courses in process, mechanical and petroleum engineering. It is suitable for those with a background in chemical and process engineering, mechanical engineering and related engineering disciplines. Taught courses cover topics in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, pipeline engineering, materials, corrosion, process engineering, reservoir engineering, economics and petroleum production technology.

Programme duration

  • 12 months for the MSc

Course content

Detailed course guide

For the MSc and PGDip degrees, students are required to take eight taught courses. MSc students then complete the course by undertaking two 30 credit projects.

Semester One Mandatory

Process Engineering A (B41OB)

Provides the necessary core engineering subjects necessary to understand the processing systems employed on oil and gas facilities. The goal of this course is to bring course participants quickly up to speed on topics ranging from flow sheeting, pumping, and heat transfer through to separation by distillation, absorption and an understanding of the control of oil and gas processes.

Thermodynamics (B41TM)

Multiphase thermodynamics relates to understanding the behaviour of complex mixtures where changes in temperature and pressure bring about a change of phase of the mixture. Predicting these changes are a key skill and one which requires a good understanding of the mathematical models describing the phase behaviour. Another key aspects of oil and gas systems is the changes in mixture that impacts on production rates e.g. formation of solids as the wax point temperature is reached. The thermodynamics course therefore covers some of the aspects of “flow assurance”.

Reservoir Engineering (G11RE)

This course deals with the sub-surface behaviour of petroleum fluids and allows participants to understand what aspects of the geological nature of the reservoir rock govern the flow of fluid from the reservoir. The courses covers:

  • Properties of rock and fluids of a hydrocarbon reservoir
  • The nature of fluid flow and pressure distribution within a reservoir
  • The effects of production/ injection on recovery of reserves

Pipeline Engineering (B51PI)

Concerns three key aspects of surface treatment operations; the mechanical design of pipelines and process equipment, selection and choice of materials for construction, and the monitoring and protection schemes for corrosion.

  • Mechanical Design of Pipelines and Pressure Vessels
  • Ancillary Equipment
  • Pipeline Materials and Construction
  • Inspection, Monitoring, Maintenance and Repair
  • Corrosion Engineering
  • Environmental Impact, Risk Management and Life Extension

Semester One Optional


Semester Two Mandatory

Oil and Gas Process Engineering (B41OC)

Covers the design and operation of gravity separators, the systems for removing water, SO2 and other acid cases from gas, the systems used to treat water produced from the well and the water used for injection. The course also includes sections for sub-sea installations which are used increasingly for developing offshore oil and gas fields. Topics include:

  • Process selection
  • Subsea manifold
  • Pipeline gathering systems
  • Oil and Gas Separation
  • Three phase separation systems
  • Treating Emulsions
  • Crude Stabilisation
  • Gas Processing Schemes
  • Instrumentation and Control
  • Produced Water Treatment
  • Safety, HAZOP and Risk Reduction

Production Technology (G11PT)

The term “production” here relates to the methods to extract fluid within the reservoir to the surface. Topics include:

  • the major components of the production system
  • options available to efficiently complete a well
  • Use of Reservoir – Well – Facility flow modelling
  • techniques available to enhance production from both reservoir and well
  • design of appropriate procedures to ensure optimal initial production
  • the process of delivering and treating reservoir and injection fluid at the surface

Petroleum Economics and Planning (G11PE)

The economic aspects of oil and gas projects cannot be neglected; investing in oil and gas facilities is a major undertaking and understanding the risks, the fluctuations in economic factors that can change viable projects into marginal projects is part of what an oil and gas engineering must have. This course therefore covers the key aspects of economics and enables learners to:

  • understand the economic concepts involved in project evaluation
  • understand the value of investments as defined within a fiscal system
  • evaluate risks associated with economic decisions

Critical Analysis and Research Preparation (B81EZ)

This course provides research training and addresses literature review skills, project planning, data analysis and presentation with a focus to critically discuss literature, and use data to support an argument. In addition to project planning, included will be a series of case studies using computer tools to assist in developing oil and gas processing schemes. Participants may be required to develop macro based toolkit to assist in the semester 3 group project.

Semester Two Optional


Semester Three - Mandatory for MSc

Masters students will complete their studies with an individual research project and a group based facilities design project. The research dissertation where possible is carried out in collaboration with industry on campus or at an industrial site. The Masters dissertation may only be taken by those students who have met the progression requirements (an average performance in all taught courses of 45% or better). Students select a dissertation title at the start of the 2nd semester, either internally from a list generated by the academic staff, by personally generating a topic and agreeing this with an academic supervisor, or externally with an industrial placement agreed with the course director. Detailed guidelines on the conduct of the project and the production of the dissertation project are provided to the student, together with guidance on the level of support that they can expect to receive from their academic supervisor.

For the group Facilities Design project, students will be assigned to a specific design group. This project will usually run before the individual dissertation during the first part of the summer semester. Topics will vary and each student in the group will be allocated specific tasks. Further details will be found in the project course notes.

Field Development Project (B41FG)

This module enables learners to conduct a technical and economic study of a proposed oil or gas field based on exploration data

Individual Project (B41IP)

  • develop a greater understanding of a specific petroleum engineering problem
  • determine the limits of applicability of the proposed solution
  • relate the project findings in a succinct, technical manner

Additional information

Career Progression

This course seeks to expand the knowledge and skills of engineers to function in the oil and gas sector and by implication the career opportunity for those seeking employment in the oil and gas industry.