Managing Subsurface Exploration and Production Data

Short Course
Managing Subsurface Exploration and Production Data

This course is intended to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of subsurface exploration and production data and evaluate its importance to the upstream oil and gas business.

Technical data management requires a level of understanding of the data types themselves, why they are necessary and how they are going to be used. Without this understanding, the data manager is less equipped to add value and decrease risk in their organisation. It can be difficult to attain this understanding if you do not have a recent background in a related technical field. This course offers an opportunity to gain the knowledge and understanding of subsurface data necessary to maximise your contribution as a petroleum data manager. It also allows those working in related roles, such as engineering data management and document control, to understand the subsurface data management role. With this understanding the wider Data and Information Management community can, as a whole, add more value and further decrease risk in the upstream oil and gas industry.

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date


Course Length

One Term

The module is made up of 12 core topics that guide the student from the broad concepts of the industry and the wider field of Information Management to the specifics of seismic and well data and their use in the business.

The module’s Intended Learning Outcomes are stated below:

  • Describe the upstream oil and gas industry, the activities that use and generate subsurface data and the associated costs and value of the data.
  • Differentiate between data, information and knowledge and judge whether the difference is significant in different scenarios.
  • Evaluate and articulate the scope and value of information management in the upstream oil and gas industry in the context of information need.
  • Understand and convey the lifecycle of subsurface exploration and production data and related information management issues.
  • Evaluate the organisational context for data management and relationships with other disciplines including Geomatics, GIS and Information Technology.


The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Learning Methods

The materials for the 12 core study topics are available in three formats – PDFs, podcasts and interactive slide sets. These are the equivalent of lecture material. The students then build on those materials through set activities, set reading and further independent reading. Students are advised to progress at a rate of one topic (and the associated tasks) per week and this should equate to 7-10 hours per week and 150 hours in total. Some of the activities will require student interaction (e.g. discussions, debates) but it will be asynchronous interaction, meaning that the students do not need to be online at the same time.

There may also be a small number of live sessions (less than 5) than last about one hour each, for example a course induction webinar, guest lectures and an assignment question and answer session. These will be recorded where possible. 


The course is assessed by an individual portfolio. This type of assessment can include, for example, reports, plans, presentations and marks for participation in the activities.

Independent Study

As this is a university course, students must make use of their access to the university’s online library collections to expand their perspective and prompt critical reflection. Students who do not do so increase their risk of being unable to achieve a passing grade in the assessment. 

Staff Delivering on This Course

The staff on this course are drawn from the Graduate Certificate Petroleum Data Management course team and all have research and/or professional experience in Information Management in the upstream oil and gas industry. They may also be supported by Associate Lecturer/s who provide additional input where appropriate whilst also working in the industry. 


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All online learning students, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.


This course will help current practitioners to adopt the perspective of a manager in their field; to understand, articulate and assess the value that petroleum data management delivers and risks that it reduces in their business, supply chain and industry.

It will also help people working in other areas of Information Management to overcome the knowledge and understanding barrier that blocks them from expanding their career and collaboration prospects into subsurface data management.


English Language Requirements

  • IELTS 6.5. or equivalent

* All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. 


For Session 2021/2022

  • Course Fees: £940

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with the team and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

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