Wellbore Surveying Competency Programme

UHI information line 0845 272 3600

What is special about this course?

This competency programme in wellbore positioning has been developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands in partnership with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Technical Section for Wellbore Positioning, also known as The Industry Steering Committee for Wellbore Survey Accuracy (ISCWSA).

This is the first industry recognised programme on the subject and has been developed in response to an industry-wide need to promote good practice in this safety critical activity. It is aimed at oil professionals who collect, manage or use wellbore survey data and require to have a good understanding of the methods, the equipment and their applications and limitations.

It also provides contractors with a standard, recognised credential in wellbore surveying to demonstrate to clients that their personnel have an adequate competency in the subject.

The programme is facilitated by Prof Angus Jamieson of the University of the Highlands and Islands and includes contributions from well-known industry experts. Angus is a consultant in directional drilling and the primary author of the University of the Highlands and Islands/SPE book ‘Introduction to Wellbore Positioning’ which all students will be expected to read.

Special features

  • You will study online via video lectures and simulation exercises which provide a realistic experience of the process of drilling a directional well using the latest high accuracy techniques.
  • You will have the opportunity for one-to-one question and answer sessions with known industry experts through an online forum.
  • You will have access to the materials for both the Fundamental and Advanced levels.
  • An optional two-week field work summer school is planned which consists of practical field exercises on site at Inverness College UHI, with day-trips to Loch Ness and the Moray Firth.

Entry requirements

  • While no formal qualifications are required, a good basic knowledge of geometry and trigonometry is an advantage.
  • You should have had some exposure to directional survey data and a background in drilling or geoscience.



Download the Leaflet and eBook

The online programme content can be taken at Fundamental and Advanced levels and will cover the following areas:

  • Mapping & Geodesy for Drilling
  • Establishing Coordinates
  • North Reference
  • In Field Referencing (IFR) Methods
  • Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Theory and Equipment
  • Bottom Hole Assembly Design
  • Basic Directional Drilling
  • MWD Quality Control
  • Well Planning
  • Landing in Thin Reservoirs
  • Survey Tools and their Uses
  • Survey Calculations
  • Survey Uncertainty Theory
  • The ISCWSA Error Model
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Survey Improvement Techniques
  • Multi Station Analysis (MSA) Magnetic Correction
  • Relief Well Design & Magnetic Ranging

Programme Assessment

The programme will be assessed at two levels; Fundamental and Advanced. Assessment will take place in week nine, following completion of the eight week study period. Both assessment levels will be by multiple choice and calculations. You will have access to the materials for both levels and will be required to take the Level One Assessment. You may elect to take the Level Two Assessment which will require a basic knowledge of surveying mathematics such as trigonometry and geometry.

Fundamentals of Wellbore Surveying  (Level One Assessment)

  • This level will provide you with a good knowledge of the basics of wellbore surveying and an understanding of the principles of operation of the survey tools.
  • You should be able to plan a simple well trajectory and design a suitable survey programme to minimise collision risk and maximise production success.

Advanced Wellbore Surveying  (Level Two Assessment)

  • This level will provide you with a deeper understanding of both the theory and practice of wellbore surveying.
  • You will be required to demonstrate the ability to apply this knowledge in practical, high accuracy drilling exercises. These will include the use of the latest survey correction techniques such as sag, stretch and Multi Station Analysis (MSA).

Optional two week field work summer school:  5 - 18 June 2017 (subject to numbers)

  • This planned summer school will be open to you if you have completed the Advanced Wellbore Surveying Level Two Assessment.
  • You will have the opportunity to carry out an in-field referencing survey on land, on sea and in the air, after which you will collate and present the survey data.
  • You will be taught how to use down hole survey tools such as a north seeking gyro, magnetic multi shot tool, etc.
  • You will be given real data in a simulated Real Time Operating Centre to process Relief Well MWD and ranging data in real time.

How will I study my course?

  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)

Part-time (Unstructured)

  • The programme will be delivered through the university's virtual learning environment (VLE).
  • This will include video lectures and online simulation exercises as well as opportunities for one-to-one questions and answers through an online forum with known industry experts.

How long will my course last?

8 weeks of learning @ approx. 12 hours per week.
Assessment will take place in week 9 after completion of the study period.

Where can I study my course?

  • Executive Office - This programme is administered by the university's Executive Office

Start date

There are five intakes starting on:-

  • 10 October 2016
  • 16 January 2017
  • 20 March 2017
  • 7 August 2017
  • 9 October 2017

Places will be allocated on a first come, first-served basis and we cannot guarantee your chosen date.

How much will my course cost?

The online programme fee for 2016 will be US$ 3,000 per student for the tutored programme or US$ 1,000 for the un-tutored programme.

The optional summer school fee will be US$ 12,000 per student, excluding accommodation and travel.

It is recognised that some companies will send multiple students on this programme. Special fee arrangements will be available for companies who can provide the personal tutoring support internally.

The University of the Highlands and Islands reserve the right to mark the final examinations.


What funding can I apply for?

Applicants may wish to approach their company to enquire about possible funding options.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this programme you will be better equipped for careers in – Directional drilling, geosteering, MWD operations, wellbore surveying, relief well operations.

Is there more information available online?

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

Apply for Wellbore Surveying Competency Programme

Please note that places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and we cannot guarantee your chosen date.

I want to apply for this programme for the following intake starting on:

16 January 2017

20 March 2017

Apply for the 2017 summer school

7 August 2017

9 October 2017


We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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