THE UK’s oil and gas production surpassed expectations in 2015 to rise for the first time in 15 years, although more job cuts are on the way due to continuing low oil prices, the industry body has said.
Oil & Gas UK said production in the sector rose by around 7 per cent to 8 per cent last year, defying projections that there would only be a marginal increase in 2015.
However, the trade body warned that times remained tough for the industry and its workers, with more job losses expected in the next few months.
Britain’s offshore oil sector was stripped of 65,000 jobs, Oil & Gas UK said last year, with direct, supply chain and indirect employment falling from 440,000 to 375,000.
But Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie said the latest findings showed the first rise in oil and gas production for more than 15 years.
She said: “Government data for the first ten months of 2015 shows that the total volume of oil and gas produced on the UK Continental Shelf was up 8.6 per cent compared with 2014, with the production of liquids up 10.6 per cent and gas up 6.1 per cent.
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“Output in November and December tends historically to be more stable, but even so, Oil & Gas UK now expects year end production for the full year of 2015 to be 7 per cent to 8 per cent higher than last year. Given the difficulties being faced by the industry this is welcome news.
However, Scottish Labour economy spokesman Lewis Macdonald, a North East MSP, called for an impact assessment to be carried out to examine the likely scale of job losses. He said: “The job losses will clearly involve a lot of pain for a lot of people with a big impact in the North East and Highlands, in particular.
“There needs to be support for local economies hit hard by these job losses, but we need to know the level of the impact of it all.”
SNP energy spokesman Callum McCaig, the Aberdeen South MP, said: “These are extremely encouraging production figures for our North Sea oil and gas industry – which is showing resilience in the face of global challenges.”