The variety of new oil and gasoline wells being drilled within the North Sea has crashed to ranges not seen for the reason that basin was first tapped greater than half a century in the past.

The UK’s oil and gasoline business warned that the report low was a trigger for “critical concern” and left the sector at a crossroads.

Just 4 exploratory wells have been drilled within the first eight months of the 12 months, with probably the most optimistic projections pointing to a complete of 12 anticipated by the 12 months finish.


That would put 2018 on a par with 1965, the second 12 months that the fashionable period of exploratory work obtained beneath means within the North Sea and when the Beatles have been dominating the UK singles charts.

“Record low drilling exercise, coupled with the availability chain squeeze, threaten business’s capability to successfully service a rise in exercise and maximise financial restoration,” mentioned Deirdre Michie, chief government of Oil & Gas UK, which revealed the figures.

The fall was an indication that firms have been selecting to drill “solely probably the most aggressive and worthwhile” wells, mentioned Ross Dornan, market intelligence supervisor on the commerce physique.

The business warned againsta tax seize within the finances, a prospect that has been raised not too long ago. High oil costs imply the sector is about to generate £10bn in free money move this 12 months, a degree not seen since 2010, however the Treasury’s take is anticipated to be down 1 / 4 on 2010, due to tax adjustments.

Dornan mentioned Treasury ministers had reassured him that the federal government was “dedicated to fiscal stability.” He added: “Industry and the Treasury can’t be complacent on this space.”

There are additionally fears over the influence of a no-deal Brexit on the business’s 280,000 staff, which is anticipated so as to add £500m to the sector’s prices.

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“We might should be practical about what may be achieved,” Dornan mentioned of the oil business’s hopes for Brexit.


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