International Petroleum Management Certificate Program

For more than twenty years, participants have consistently called this The BEST management program in the petroleum industry today! The four-week program provides learning in four key areas and includes compelling lectures by a strong and diverse faculty, as well as team participation in IHRDCs unique and challenging oil and gas business games.

Additional information

Program Type



Full Program, Unit One, Unit Two, Unit Three, Unit Four, Units One and Two, Units Two and Three, Units Three and Four, Units One, Two and Three, Units Two, Three and Four


September 12 – October 7, 2022



Who Should Attend

This program is intended for managers in the many functional areas of the international petroleum and natural gas industry, including exploration, production, refinery and petrochemical operations, marketing, law, human resources, accounting, and finance. More than 1,700 managers have taken this program, including individuals who hold very senior positions in the oil and gas industry.

Accordion Content

Lectures in Unit 1

Upstream Petroleum Business

Overview of the Energy Industry

Oil and gas measurements and units; the value chains; market structures; worldwide oil and gas economics; major players; evolution of the integrated oil and gas business.

Host Government Agreements

Typical host country exploration agreements: summary of the history and key provisions, including bonus payments, royalties, taxes; production sharing; participation arrangements.

Exploration Methods

The exploration process: petroleum geology, exploration geophysics, well logging, developing exploration prospects, preparing and interpreting geological maps; case studies.

Drilling and Well Completions

Planning the well; logistics; drilling functions; drilling procedures; formation evaluation methods; horizontal wells; improvements in drilling.

Field Development and Production Cycle

Onshore and offshore field development and long-term production subsurface design; reservoir fundamentals and reserves estimation: field development; inflow performance; integrated reservoir management; and enhanced recovery. Surface facilities design: design for both onshore and offshore operations; production operations and management; investment analysis and reporting of performance. Case studies.

Gas Processing and Marketing of LPGs

Properties of gas and gas liquids; processing of associated gas; markets for LPGs; economics of natural gas plants.

Crude Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Systems

Introduction to crude oil and natural gas pipelines; design, construction and operation of pipeline systems; estimating project costs; pipeline contracts and tariffs; new pipeline developments.

Measuring Financial Performance

How companies report to their shareholders; GAAP principles; income statement; balance sheet; cash flow statement; equity statement; taxation and tax codes; preparing corporate financials; the audit; reading a major company annual report; measures of performance and the setting of company goals.

Petroleum Industry Accounting and Taxation

Successful efforts vs. full-cost accounting; corporate taxation; petroleum taxation; accounting for host government and joint venture agreements; supplemental reserves reports included in annual reports.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources

A comprehensive and practical understanding of the processes that are applied in the development of unconventional oil and gas projects, by looking at some active investment areas.

Energy Project Economics

Economic yardsticks; project cash flow before and after tax; tax expenses and benefits; net cash flow stream and payout; time value of money; opportunity cost and present value of net cash flow; discounted cash flow analysis and internal rate of return; risk assessment and sensitivity analysis; examples of the economic analysis of energy projects.

Lectures in Unit 2

Downstream Petroleum Business

Worldwide Petroleum Economics

Worldwide energy supply; demand; reserves; pricing: corporate strategy; recent history and prediction of future trends; how petroleum economists make predictions.

Markets for Associated Natural Gas

The natural gas value chain: industry structure and regional markets, interfuel competition; gas distribution; regulation and deregulation; economics and markets for gas, including combined-cycle power plants, LNG, ammonia, methanol, and gas-to-liquids.

Refining and Petrochemicals

Refining: capacity evolution; technological changes; capital and operating costs; profitability; netback estimation and recent trends. Petrochemicals in perspective: links to refining; key product families; industry drivers: cost of production, supply and demand; profitability and price forecasting.

Crude Oil Tanker Transportation

The tanker industry and market trends: an overview of the main characteristics of crude tankers; capital and operating costs; pollution at sea and new regulations; calculating tanker transportation rates; Worldscale and charter arrangements.

Marketing of Crude Oil and Products

Development of the free market for oil; current international market structure; regional markets: physicals, futures, forwards, derivatives, options; roles of participants, price formation, price volatility; price reporting; crude oil and product pricing; negotiating and pricing petroleum sales contracts; introduction to hedging and price risk management.

Petroleum Products Distribution

Distribution and retail marketing of petroleum products; structure of the margins realized along the distribution value chain; transitions in the marketing of transportation fuels; economics of the modern gasoline station.

Lectures in Unit 3

Petroleum Project Development

The Process of Commercializing Energy Projects

Key steps in the formation and commercialization of an energy project – from opportunity to operation; screening and feasibility analysis; design and development; key project agreements; preparing proforma financial projections; risk analysis and risk management; project management; project definition; resource scheduling, cost estimating; project controls; cost engineering; detailed engineering; procurement; constructions management; project accounting and auditing; environmental management. Project Management Institute (PMI) body of knowledge and certification requirements.

Project Planning and Management of Energy Projects

Steps in the development of a petroleum project: screening studies, feasibility studies; detailed engineering, environmental studies; financing construction and operation. Project management examples of energy projects: the integrated planning and development of an international combined-cycle power plant. Case study: Developing the Steuben Gas Storage Facility.

Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Challenges in Petroleum Operations

Worldwide developments in HSE performance, management and regulations; key technical, managerial and societal issues and responses; sustainable development, eco-efficiency, social impact; factors that affect cost; integration of HSE in the business; risk acceptance/tolerance, due diligence, accountability, liability; integrated health, safety, and environmental management systems, international standards, ISO 14001 certification, EMAS verification, audit, reporting and assurance to stakeholders

Petroleum Law

Key legal issues in petroleum management; transnational and international oil and gas law; the role of law in commercial transactions: role of the legal system; role of the attorney; commercial relationships; host country agreements and government relations, joint venture agreements; oil and gas contracts and agreements; crude oil sales and transportation; risk management and dispute resolution.

Financing of Energy Projects

Financing petroleum projects; sources of debt and equity; preparing the financing proposal; negotiating financing; reaching the decision to proceed; project financing: structuring, role of multilateral and bilateral agencies; case studies: project financing of international oil, gas, and power projects.

Industry Regulation, Deregulation, and Convergence

The nature of regulation in the energy sector; history and current state of the gas industry deregulation process at the wholesale and retail markets: U.S., Europe and elsewhere; effect of deregulation on the structure of the industry; convergence of gas and power.

Lectures in Unit 4

Key Skills for the Petroleum Manager

Leadership Skills Needed for High
Performance Organizations

Effective leadership and management: motivation, managerial styles; organizational climate; goal setting and action planning; leading change methodology; simulation, presentation, discussion, case studies, small group work, and assessment.

Leadership Case Study: Transforming
the U.S. Marketing and Refining Division
of a Major Oil Company

How a major oil company went from last to first in net margin per gallon in the marketing and refining of gasoline in the U.S. How strategic planning, leadership skills, and the use of the Balanced Scorecard were fundamental to this success.

Current HR Practices in
International Oil and Gas

Current HR policies and procedures, organizational design, recruitment, manpower planning and development in the performance of the organization; defining job-specific competency models and development plans.

Strategic Planning and Implementation

Major trends and drivers of change within the international oil and gas industry: anticipating the future throughout the oil and gas value chains. Latest approaches to strategic planning and how important such plans are for setting company vision and goals; effective implementation of strategy; planning and implementation of the plan using the Balanced Scorecard. Historical structure of the international oil and gas industry. Examples of strategic planning by key international companies including Petrobras, Mobil Oil, and others

Essential Negotiation Skills:
A Process for Positive Results

The essentials of positive negotiation: the process of positive negotiation developed at the Harvard Negotiation Workshop applied to a petroleum case study. The key steps you will take to successful negotiations are: identify interests, invent options, use standards, manage people problems, develop alternatives, BATNA and reach closure. Team participation in an oil and gas case study.

Workshop Unit 1

International Petroleum Business Game: Sandland

This “business game” during Units One and Two is an integral part of the learning process. Participants, divided into teams, make real-life technical, financial, and market decisions that commonly confront managers in the international petroleum business today. Team performance is measured on a financial basis and is catalyzed by healthy competition.

The international petroleum business game takes place in “Sandland,” a fictitious country on the west coast of Africa. Team objectives are to develop oil and gas reserves and then decide on the optimal way to develop and market the production. During each workshop session, teams are provided with technical and economic background that serve as basis for decisions to be made during that session. Team decisions are made and require a commitment of both capital and operating funds and occur during the following intervals: three years of exploration, two years of development, and fifteen years of production.

Map of the Republic of Sandland used in IHRDC's oil and gas Learning Simulation Games

Workshop Sessions Include:

  • Introduction to the Workshop
  • Negotiating the right to explore in Sandland
  • The exploration survey stage
  • Exploration and delineation drilling
  • Reserves estimation and field development
  • Gas processing
  • Oil and gas pipelines and port facilities
  • Sandland operations accounting
  • Combined-cycle power plants
  • Oil tanker charter decisions
  • Refinery development decisions
  • Financing the port expansion
  • Ammonia plants
  • Gas export pipeline decisions
  • Crude oil marketing decisions
  • Strategic planning and decision analysis
  • Evaluation of performance and
    presentation of results

Workshop Unit 2

International Petroleum Business Game: Sandland

Note: For Workshop details see Unit One. The Sandland Business game is run during Units One and Two of the International petroleum Management Certificate Program.

Workshop Unit 3

Latin America Power Workshop: Sucre

During Unit Three, teams are asked to develop a realistic CCGT power project in the Republic of Sucre, a fictitious country in Latin America. Each team is asked to prepare a business plan for the project, which will include a set of decisions with respect to construction, fuel supply and power purchase agreements, EPC and O&M contracts, and financing. Then, decisions will be run over 15 years of simulated operations for the “business game” environment.

Map of the imaginery oil and gas site in Sucre used in IHRDC's Learning Simulation Games

Workshop Sessions Include:

  • Project description, management and market analysis
  • Project economics and proforma analysis
  • Project schedule and management plan
  • Identifying the project risks
  • Reviewing the financing term sheet
  • Design the project financing
  • Review the fuel supply and power
    sales agreements
  • Evaluation of performance and presentation of results

Workshop Unit 4

Negotiation of the Extension of a Concession Agreement in Petroland

In this workshop, teams are asked to negotiate an extension to a Republic of Petroland Concession Agreement between an international oil company (“IOC”) and the national oil company. Major Corporation, a large international oil company, has been operating a large offshore oil field in Petroland for 20 years in partnership with Petroland Corporation, the national oil company of the Republic of Petroland. The Concession Agreement is due to terminate in seven years; however, production from the field is beginning to decline, and a major enhanced oil recovery investment is required to maintain the production levels. The investment requires about five years to achieve and the benefit will be achieved long after the agreement would terminate. Major Corporation will make the required investments only if the agreement is extended for a minimum of 15 years. Teams representing both parties are asked to follow the Getting to Yes process to negotiate a mutually satisfactory agreement. In the process, they will learn how to apply this universal negotiating process developed at Harvard University.

The Negotiation Process Will
include the Following Sessions:

  • Step One: Discover the Underlying Interests of the Parties
  • Step Two: Generate Options to a Negotiated Settlement
  • Step Three: Identify and Use Independent Standards
  • Step Four: Deal with People Problems
  • Step Five: Generate Alternatives to a Negotiated Settlement
  • Step Six: Reach Closure