MSc Mature Field Management
The bulk of the world’s hydrocarbons come from producing assets – so-called 'mature fields'. In turn, these supply the bulk of the world’s energy.
Managing these assets is therefore a central aspect of global energy supply and will become more so as the world’s giant fields become progressively more mature. Most industry jobs in exploration and production will be in this arena, requiring a talented workforce to fill them for decades to come.
Heriot-Watt's Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering has therefore created a Masters programme to address this need. The topical content is broader than the existing programmes, embracing not only geoscience, reservoir and well engineering but also surface engineering and the linkage between them in the form of Integrated Asset Management (IAM).
The subject also demands a grasp of incremental petroleum economics and risk analysis, and a methodology for handling decision-making in assets in which production and data gathering are continuous. This methodology provides the link between the programme components and sits at the core of the group exercise, with Edinburgh’s own Forth Bridge as a visual metaphor for the process.
Finally, the programme deals with the asset endgame. When does production cease, how can field life be extended, how do we decommission (or then recommission?) and what are the potential uses of these reservoirs in the post-carbon era?
September 2023 entry
The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31st August 2023. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1st August 2023.
Flexible study options
This course can also be studied via Online Learning, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.
Semester 1: September – December, 4 mandatory courses
Semester 2: January – April, 4 mandatory courses
Semester 3: May – August, 2 projects (MSc students only)
|Semester 1||Semester 2||Semester 3|
|Strategy and Planning||Managing the Wells||Field Management Project|
|Managing the Reservoir||Optimising Productivity|
|Optimising Recovery||Producing Field Practices||Individual Project (Dissertation)|
|Managing the Surface||'Cessation of Production?'|
Strategy and Planning
The first course sets the theme for the programme: making value-based decisions in producing assets through iterative working of live data. Petroleum economics will be refreshed with a focus on incremental project economics, and followed by risk analysis specific to ranking mature field options: how to make optimally risked commercial choices.
Asset management requires a firm grounding in the three underlying components of reservoir, wells and surface engineering – an overview of the full producing system from the reservoir pore to the final flange on an export line. The aim is to create an understanding of the whole system rather than expertise in every sub-topic, and will be taught in three courses:
Managing the Reservoir - dealing with the core issues pertaining to an understanding of the reservoir as a producing system: surveillance, characterisation, geochemistry, geomechanics, analytical reservoir engineering techniques, static modelling, dynamic modelling and history matching large data sets.
Optimising Recovery - fluid fundamentals, drive mechanisms, lab & core work (SCAL), remaining oil distribution, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) options: polymer, gas flooding, water-alternating-gas (WAG), low salinity floods (loSal)
Managing the Surface - what happens after the wellhead: fluid treatment (produced water, sea water, oil, gas handling), data gathering, specs, flow assurance, export, power generation, EIA, sub-sea technologies and optimisation.
Where are the technical limits and how can we do better? Taught in two modules: optimising what we recover from the reservoir, and optimising the productivity from wells. This includes an opportunity to access leading edge research at Heriot-Watt IPE.
Managing Wells - how do producing wells work dynamically and what are options in well construction. This is core production technology and will be delivered as a shared module with the Petroleum Engineering MSc programme (the only module shared with another programme)
Optimising Productivity - logging, monitoring, scale, SSSV, artificial lift optimisation, failure prediction, hydrate prediction, water shut-off, well start up, dynamic well modelling, smart wells.
Production Field Practices
The practicality of implementing good ideas in the subsurface and at the surface. Includes infill drilling (sidetracks, multilaterals, jetting, managed pressure drilling), workover techniques, well control issues and hydraulic fracturing, and the practicalities of surface facilities modification. The topics are linked through Integrated Asset Modelling (IAM)
Cessation of production?
The options for extending field life and a view of reservoirs and facilities in the post-carbon era: field extension opportunities, decommissioning and recommissioning techniques and post-carbon usage. The general issue of managing subsurface energy.
Field Management project
Students work in teams and are provided with data from a mature field, similar to that which would be available to an operator prior to a re-development decision. Analysis of this data results in an assessment of the reservoir and definition of choices: the do-nothing option (the ‘NFA’), a collection of minor incremental projects or radical changes in production mechanism or field operations.
Students will work through the decision-making process following the Rail Bridge template and work out how these major decisions get made by making them themselves. Analysing, identifying, calculating value, risking and ranking.
During the project students have access to state-of-the-art computer technology and industry standard software. Assessment is by means of a written report and by group presentation. The development plan is presented to a group consisting of examiners, industrial experts, and government representatives.
Individual project (Dissertation)
Students are required to carry out a detailed investigation of a topic related to mature field management. Projects are offered both by academics and by the industry, and normally include a wide choice of experimental research, computer modelling and real oilfield problems. Assessment is by means of a thesis and oral presentation.
The Institute also has an industry-based Strategic Advisory Board who monitors activities in the wider context of the needs of the industry and offer guidance on the course ensuring content is up to date and relevant to current industry needs. Seminar sessions are also conducted by staff from a variety of petroleum engineering companies.
The courses provide specialist education tailored to the requirements of the upstream petroleum industry, which is undergoing significant changes and faces major challenges when operating mature field managements in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, Malaysia, East Asia and South America. Petroleum, however, remains the dominant source of energy for our society, with current world production of oil and gas at record rates and increasing volumes coming from existing and mature fields rather than new discoveries.
It is widely recognised that a steady influx of well-trained and industry-aware people with fresh ideas is vital for longer term success and stability of an organisation. The relevance of the education offered by this new MSc course in Integrated Mature Field Management, combined with careful selection of candidates and Heriot-Watt University’s long-standing global success in providing graduate training for the petroleum industry, will ensure that operating companies and oilfield service companies will continue to target Heriot-Watt for recruitment of graduates in the future, especially candidates who will be able to make sound technical contributions to the management and operation of mature fields.
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
- Minimum of 2:1 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area.
- For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered.
- Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.
Recognition of prior learning
We are committed to providing study opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). For more information on RPL, please contact the Admissions Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) ahead of application. We can only consider requests for RPL at the time of application to a course of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
- 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)
- Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
- Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.
Additional fees information
All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full electronic versions of the course notes, core text books, field trips and any day trips arranged as part of the course.
Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the university, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.
Scholarships and bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.