Study Abroad
Study Guide to Masters and Bachelors Degree Courses

Post Graduate Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University


About the Department and University


Petroleum engineering concerns the exploitation of subsurface oil and gas resources. We are committed to the development and delivery of training and research programmes relevant to the needs of the international petroleum industry. Education and training are provided through taught Masters degree courses and through supervised research for the degrees of MPhil and PhD. Research activity was awarded the highest (5*) Grade in the most recent government Research Assessment Exercise confirming 10 years of internationally rated research performance. We have also been given an 'exemplary' rating by the QAA for our teaching. In 2002, the University conferred Postgraduate Institute status on the former Department of Petroleum Engineering, reflecting our post-graduate and research activities, and our international reputation.

With the growth and wide recognition of our teaching and research activity, we have attracted a high calibre of staff, both in academic and research functions. The diverse academic disciplines of the staff of the Institute enable both research and training to be pursued in a multi-skill environment which is essential to the oil and gas industry.

Staffing and Facilities
As an indication of the size of the Institute, the following is a list of the various categories of staff and students attached to Petroleum Engineering:
Senior Staff 22
Research Staff 30
Technical & Administrative Staff 40
Postgraduate Research Students 40
Postgraduate Course Students 100

In 1977, we moved into 1,200m2 of purpose built accommodation funded by the Department of Energy, and in 1986 expanded into additional space sponsored by Conoco and the UGC. With the opening of the Enterprise Oil Building in mid-1993 and the Tom Patten Building in 1999, total space available exceeds 5,000m2.

Modern, well equipped laboratories cover many aspects of petroleum engineering, including:
o Production Chemistry and Formation Damage
o PVT (fluid properties and phase behaviour)
o Reservoir Conditions Fluid Flow
o Reservoir Geoscience and Petrophysics
o Rock Mechanics
o Magnetics
o Flow Assurance
o Hydrates, Wax and Asphaltene

These labs are supported by state-of-the-art analytical equipment, eg our Environmental SEM.

Several projects make use of the latest PVT equipment and reservoir condition core flooding rigs. Pore scale research benefits from access to an environmental scanning electron microscope which allows observation of untreated and 'wet' specimens. Some pieces of apparatus are unique, including high pressure micro-model visualisation facilities and true tri-axial rock mechanics cells.

Computers play an important role both in research and teaching. Workstations, with ever increasing performance, are ideal for geostatistical modelling, reservoir simulation and other complex problems, while personal computers are widely available for running standard technical, mathematical and presentational software. In addition to an extensive network of Unix workstations and personal computers, staff and students have access to two computer nodes with parallel processing and powerful graphics capability. Industry standard software is readily available to enable teachers, researchers and students to tackle the complex science and engineering problems associated with the exploitation of petroleum resources. This includes significant suites of software by Fairfield, Schlumberger, Geoquest, Landmark and Edinburgh Petroleum Services, plus ANSYS, Crystal Ball, Geolog, GMA, IRAP/RMS, Petrel, Que$tor, SAVFEM, STARS, IMEX, ICOS, Terrastation and others. Some of these packages have been enhanced as a result of research conducted in petroleum engineering.

The Institution

The University is a research-led technological university providing high quality education and training for modern professional employment; meeting the needs and aspirations of students and helping them realise their potential. It aims to deliver world-class innovative research relevant to the needs of business and industry and by exploiting knowledge transfer gain commercial opportunities for economic and social benefit.


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