Train in this essential part of decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.

Well Plugging and Abandonment (P&A) will give you a thorough overview of the process.

  • Study the scientific, engineering, and economic rationale for abandoning wells and decommissioning fields.
  • Learn with a university operating at heart of the North Sea oil and gas sector for decades.
  • Join a course you can fit around full-time work.

You’ll benefit from direct input from industry, helping you enhance and explore your career options as a graduate engineer.

This course is part of our unique MSc in Decommissioning, the first Masters of its kind in the world. You can use the credits you earn on this course towards this MSc, which you can also study online wherever you’re based.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the technologies and procedures involved in the plugging and abandonment of oil and gas wells prior to decommissioning.

You’ll get an overview of the origins of petroleum, factors influencing the commerciality of fields, and the technical and economic requirements for decommissioning.

You’ll learn about the application and limitations of materials including cement slurries, gelled pills, mechanical plugs, inflatable plugs and sand plugs, focusing on installation procedures, reliability and long-term (decadal) monitoring of well integrity.

This course covers the following areas:

  • Overview of subsurface, reservoir and petroleum geology
  • Characteristics and challenges of depleted reservoirs
  • Specific regulations and legislative drivers associated with well abandonment
  • Assessment of different types of well plugging and abandonment methods and associated technologies
  • Requirements for and cost of well plugging and abandonment
  • Material, wellbore knowledge, reliability, and long-term monitoring of well plugs
  • Slurry design, plug place methods, procedure and testing
  • Well plugging and abandonment project planning and field operation
  • Threat, risk and technology challenges

The course also gives you a general overview of reservoir and petroleum geology, with an emphasis on depleted reservoirs and associated challenges for P&A.

You’ll explore key aspects of regulatory and legislative drivers, becoming familiar with P&A regulations set by regional and national governments.

To ensure you’re equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of the P&A process, you’ll also cover project planning and implementation costs, with real-life case studies used to support your learning.

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

  • The scientific, engineering, and economic rationale for abandoning wells and decommissioning fields.
  • The use and limitations of various tools and technologies to assess the condition and integrity of wells and depleted reservoirs.
  • How geology and reservoir conditions affect well plugging and abandonment decisions.
  • Regulations and legislation associated with well abandonment.
  • Various methods for well plugging and abandonment and their benefits and limitations.
  • The design of slurry, plug place methods, procedure and testing within the context of well plugging.
  • The planning associated with, and cost evaluation of, well plugging and abandonment projects.
  • The threats, risks, environmental impacts, and technological challenges associated with decommissioning.

Why study Engineering online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

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

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:

  • case studies
  • online lectures
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Industry input

You’ll benefit from direct industry input via an Industry Advisory Board. It constantly reviews your course content, ensuring you gain the latest knowledge and are up to speed with emerging trends, technologies and career opportunities.


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.

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:


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

Applicants for this course are expected to hold a relevant degree. However, alternative/lower qualifications, combined with an appropriate level of relevant experience, may also be considered for entry.

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 through 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
Added to your wishlist