Train in the technical aspects and procedures of decommissioning.

Study this focused part of our Masters in Decommissioning on an online course that fits around full-time work.

  • Cover the key aspects of process engineering for decommissioning and process shutdown.
  • Learn from experienced engineers and industry guest lecturers.
  • Explore the rationale behind decommissioning and learn to tackle its technical challenges.

You’ll discover the range of methods, tools and techniques used to shut down, isolate, clean and remove offshore structures.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards our MSc Decommissioning.

What you’ll study

The decommissioning of upstream oil and gas systems is a staged process. First, turndown and minimum operation options are explored. Then production is stopped. Then isolation and cleaning of the plant and pipework can begin – and this brings its own challenges.

You’ll study each stage of this process, covering:

  • an overview of design for decommissioning
  • process turndown and minimum facilities
  • process shutdown, isolation, and risk management during shutdown
  • vessel and pipeline cleaning challenges (pigging, slug catcher sizing, types of pollutants)
  • disposal of fluids (liquid processing technologies, limitations of existing liquids-handling onshore/topside facilities, challenges of disposal via injection wells)
  • cutting, lifting and transportation techniques
  • abandonment versus offsite disposal
  • derogation for footings, and the particular issues of Gravity Base Structures
  • removal of parts, pipelines, mattresses, and associated soil treatment
  • ‘piece small’ dismantling, heavy lift and single lift removal
  • disposal onshore
  • safe disposal of retrieved equipment and hazardous substances.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand…

  • The scientific, engineering, and economic rationale for process shutdown and removal of equipment.
  • The uses and limitations of various tools and technologies to assess the condition and integrity of ageing infrastructure.
  • How the mechanical and chemical aspects of ageing infrastructure and reservoir contents interact to create hazardous processes during removal, cleaning and remediation.
  • Specific regulations and legislation associated with decommissioning and safe disposal.
  • The methods and techniques used in processing and in the mechanical removal aspects of decommissioning.
  • The risks and limitations of various cleaning, cutting and removal techniques.

How you’ll study

This Process Shutdown course is delivered part-time online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our MSc in Decommissioning, this course is taught at Masters level.

Online learning

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos
  • podcasts (audio lectures)
  • projects
  • audio clips
  • case studies
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from highly experienced engineers, academic tutors and industrial guest speakers.


You’ll be assessed entirely online.

This course usually combines online assessment with a written exam that you attend in person. However, due to Covid-19, in-person exams will not take place until January 2022 at the earliest.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Masters in Decommissioning

  • The first degree of its kind in the world.
  • Designed in collaboration with major operators, supply chain companies and regulatory bodies.
  • Available to study online or on campus.

Build your learning

We offer a range of specialist online Engineering courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


This course will give you the basic knowledge required for working in the decommissioning area of the offshore/subsea industry. You can use this course to work towards career success with:

  • oil and gas operators
  • decommissioning contractors
  • design houses
  • verification authorities
  • subsea equipment manufacturers.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:1 (upper-second-class) degree in Engineering, Geosciences, or other science or technology field
  • or three or more years’ relevant industry experience.

Apply for this course

Start date
24 January 2022
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