Past, Present and Future of Fossil Fuels


Stanford School of Engineering

  • Fee:
    Fee may apply



It is a period of rapid transformation for the energy world. Global warming, resulting from burning fossil fuels, requires us to decarbonize the entire energy system while sustaining economic growth, reducing the environmental impacts of energy development, conforming to societally acceptable modes of energy production, and respecting the needs of nations for energy security.

This course reviews the historical importance of fossil fuels, current shale gas and tight oil revolutions, and the opportunity for vast quantities of natural gas to play a critical role as a ‘bridge’ fuel toward a low-carbon future.

What you will learn

  • Conventional and unconventional gas resources and utilization
  • Environmental impacts of fossil fuel development and use
  • Growth projections in global energy demand
  • Major supplies of oil and gas resources Production techniques from ultra-low permeability formations
  • Recovery factors for unconventional reservoirs

Topics include

  • How is coal, oil, and natural gas used in modern society
  • Projected growth in global energy demand
  • The environmental impacts of fossil fuel development and use
  • How will it be possible to improve production from unconventional reservoirs
  • The need to decarbonize the energy systems
  • Conventional and unconventional gas resources


  • $249 per online course


Please contact the Program Manager at

028 Open for Enrollment Online

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Instructors: Mark Zoback
Delivery Option:
Online Course $249.00 ?


Course Access
60 day access to the online course starts upon payment. The end date of a section of this course does not restrict your access to the course material.

Course Materials
Course materials are available for download from the online videos page. All materials are available for printing and review upon enrollment.

Final Exam
Online participants are asked to complete a final exam at the end of each course to maintain the integrity of the program. A score of 85% must be achieved to successfully pass the exam. A digital record of completion will be emailed to participants when they pass the exam.

Course Evaluation
It is required that participants complete the course evaluation once they have passed the final exam.