Gain a detailed understanding of the regulatory options for safety in the oil and gas industry, and how these operate worldwide.

Get a comprehensive overview of key issues in the regulation of petroleum operations. Develop a global perspective on health and safety law and environmental regulation.

Grow your professional skills as a senior manager, health and safety specialist, or energy lawyer practising in any petroleum province in the world.

Enjoy the convenience of flexible part-time learning with a top 6 UK law school. You’ll benefit from our decades of experience at the heart of Europe’s energy capital.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards our LLM in Oil and Gas Law.

What you’ll study

For the offshore oil and gas industry, the safety of its people and of our environment is top priority.

On this online short course, you’ll study key issues for the industry in health and safety law and environmental regulation, from getting in a lifeboat to avoiding a major oil spill in a sensitive environment.

You’ll cover:

  • the theory of regulation
  • different modes of regulation – including command and control, and goal-setting
  • health and safety regimes – focusing on regimes in the UK, US, Norway and Australia
  • environmental regulation – public law, private law, prevention, liability, vulnerable areas.

A fundamental issue you’ll look at is the contrasting approach of the two core systems governing regulation today:

  • US regime – which is prescriptive, in that the regulator instructs the operator on a course of action.
  • North Sea regime – where an objective, principle-based regulatory framework has operated since the loss of 167 lives on Piper Alpha in 1988. The objective is to avoid harm to personnel and a spill of oil, and the operator must decide how best to do that.

You’ll look at these diametrically opposed systems and use both Piper Alpha and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as case studies. These proved to be watershed moments for the industry, and you’ll explore the lessons learned.

Why study Law online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

Regulatory Law for Petroleum Operations is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

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:

  • online lectures
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • core readings
  • course notes
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library and the Taylor Law Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

This course is taught at Masters level. You’ll learn from highly skilled lawyers with extensive experience in both international law and the energy industry.


This course is assessed 100% online via:

  • problem-based assessments, where you’ll be given realistic scenarios and asked to respond with recommended actions
  • online short-answer questions.

Your course coordinator

Online learning in the School of Law

Advocates share their experiences of working while studying law online with us.

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 further study, including our online:

View all our postgraduate Law degrees.

Build your learning

We offer a wide range of specialist online Law and Energy short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many are part of existing Masters degrees and can be used to build up credits towards postgraduate qualifications.


The course will build your skills as a lawyer, senior manager, health and safety specialist, or other professional working within the oil and gas industry.

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

The minimum entry requirements for this course are an upper-second-class (2:1) Law degree (or equivalent).

Relevant practical experience in a related field is also beneficial.

For this course, you’ll apply through our Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents. Our admissions team will then review these and get back to you. Read How to apply via our Applicant Portal for all you need to know.

You need to apply by the course start date to ensure you are enrolled in time.

Apply for this course

Start date
27 September 2021
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