International Project Management and Petroleum Economics

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Introductory-level courses in business, economics, and/or finance are required.

Additional student cost: 



Understanding international project management provides crucial insights into operations in a wide range of industries. This course offers a hands-on overview of international project management and economics using actual business situations of project management in petroleum management and economics. It is designed to communicate the fundamentals of successful international project management; to provide essential and best practice guidelines on international project management; to offer work on team based international projects; and to explain the project process from initiation through planning, execution, and closing.

International management theories are applied to practice in order to transfer a basic understanding of the principles of economics in petroleum management in the oil and gas industry, especially in the area of exploration and production. Students will learn how to do economic analyses of petroleum exploration projects and how business decisions are made on a practical level. Benchmarking, the competitive process of comparing the performance of one company to another in the field of project management, as well as a field trip round out the course.

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the semester, the student will have the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to:

  • Explain the fundamentals of international project management, and the role and responsibilities of the project manager in initiating and completing a project.
  • Define project success criteria and understand the major criteria for project selection and screening and how to use checklists and financial models for project selection.
  • Use financial concepts such as the risk/return model and apply cost estimation for project work.
  • Recognize the key stages in project risk management and the steps necessary to manage risk.
  • Describe the importance of scope management for international project success as well as key reasons for early termination of projects.
  • Identify tools and techniques for planning and tracking your project and identify the steps that must be taken to complete projects on time and within budget.
  • Describe the challenges and components of a project report.
  • Apply methods and processes to various industries in practical business situations.
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Role games
  • Group and single work
  • Student presentations
  • Cases of leading corporations in petroleum management and economics assess the comprehension of international project management concepts and principles.
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class discussions - 10%
  • Project in petroleum management and economics (individual or group project depending on class size) - 25%
  • Midterm exam, based on lectures and complementary reading - 25%
  • Final exam, based on lectures and complementary reading - 40%

With instructor guidance, students will conduct research, write an analysis, and report on their findings to the class. Reports and presentations are spread throughout the semester, with assignments and due dates determined at the beginning of the term.

Week Content Readings

Week 1:  

and Overview

Introduction to the course. Why study
international project management?
Definition of a project; understanding international project management;
defining project success criteria
and project success rates; project
life cycle stages.

  • Hutta 2013, pp. 1-9
  • Kerzner 2009, chapter 1, pp. 1-34
Week 2:
The Project Manager and Petroleum Management

Responsibilities of the project manager;
project management in practice; why
project managers need local knowledge; international project management
and cultural difference.


  • Meredith 2012, chapter 1+3, pp. 1-39 and pp. 101-144


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 1, pp. 10-17

Week 3:  
Project Selection
and Financial Models in Economics

Project selection and approaches to
project screening; checklist models and financial models; payback period, net present value, internal rate of return and option models. Project portfolio management.


  • Meredith 2012, chapter 2, pp. 41-100


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 2, pp. 18-56
Week 4: Scope Management, Risk Management (part 1) Risk and Uncertainty Scope management. Project scope: work content and expected outcomes. Statement of work and work components; work breakdown structure; responsibility assignment matrix; defining a project work package; reasons why projects fail. Risk management in international projects (part 1).


  • Kerzner 2009, chapter 17, pp. 741-816.


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 3, part 1, pp.57-61

Week 5:  
Cost Estimation, Budgeting and Risk Reduction Techniques (part 2)

Cost estimation and budgeting: cost management, cost accounting and cost control; cost estimation; creating a project budget. Resource management: constraints and techniques. Risk management in international projects (part 2).

Midterm Exam


  • Meredith 2012, chapter 7, pp. 283-330.
  • Kerzner 2009, chapter 15, pp. 629-708.


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 3, part 2, pp. 62-67

Week 6:  
Risk Management (part 3) and Study Prospect

A detailed analysis of a prospect is being performed and ecomomic concepts are put into practice. A prospect is a potential trap which geologists believe may contain hydrocarbons. A significant amount of geological, structural and seismic investigation must first be completed to redefine the potential hydrocarbon drill location from a Lead to a Prospect (“Study Prospect”).


  • Meredith 2012, chapter 7+8, pp. 331-408.


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 4, part 1, pp. 68-78

Week 7:  
Best Practices and Economic Analysis

Variables for success in project management; understanding best practices. Economic analysis in international projects: “Study Prospect” (drive mechanisms and production decline curves; assumptions, investment schedule, well development schedule, exploration cash outflow and economic indicators including NPV, IROR and Cash Flow expressed as function of risk; part 2). Theory
  • Meredith 2012, chapter 9+10, pp. 383-461. Kerzner 2009, chapter 9, pp. 365-381.


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 4, part 2, pp. 79-95

Week 8:  
Project Proposal and Benchmarking (part 1)

Working with executives; project proposal preparation, project kick-off meetings and understanding project participants´ roles. Benchmarking (part 1).


  • Kerzner 2009, chapter 10, pp. 383-401; parts of chapter 11 (11.4-11.6), pp. 421-424


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 5+6, pp. 96-103

Week 9:  
Project Evaluation and Control, Benchmarking (part 2)

Project evaluation and control. The project control cycle; milestone analysis and other methods. Project auditing. Benchmarking (part 2).


  • Kerzner 2009, chapter 11.10, pp. 433f.
  • Meredith 2012, chapter 12, pp. 517-546


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 7, pp. 104-115

Week 10:  
Project Closeout, Termination, Petroleum Arrangements in Practice.

Project closeout and termination; Report elements. Types of petroleum arrangements.

Final Exam


  • Meredith 2012, chapter 13, pp. 547-567


  • Hutta 2013, chapter 7, 116-136


Required readings: 
  • Hutta, Hans: Introduction to Petroleum Management and Economics. Handbook for Petroleum Economics, 2013.
  • Kerzner, Harold: Project Management. A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, tenth edition, 2009.
  • Kummer, Christopher; Mölzer, Wolfgang; Eiffe, Franz Ferdinand: Mergers & Acquisitions. A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Approach. LexisNexis, Vienna & Mumbai 2013.
  • Meredith, Jack R.; Mantel, Samuel J.: Project Management. A Managerial Approach. International Student Version. Eighth edition, John Wiley & Sons Singapore 2012.