Deirdre Michie, Aberdeen-based chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, warned last night:
“As we go through these times, we have to be resilient and focus on what we need to do to get us through the coming months to ensure an enduring industry for the future.
“While the UK offshore oil and gas industry is having to adapt to the low oil price and driving greater efficiencies throughout its operations the fact is that the value of our product has more than halved.
“Times are really tough for this industry and for the people working in it – we will continue to see job losses as we move into 2016
“So we must be thoughtful and supportive of our colleagues and their families who are being made redundant or who are at risk of being made redundant.
“Even in these challenging times – we continue to have a supply chain that is the envy of the rest of the world as a centre of excellence for offshore technologies. The supply chain generates tens of billions of pounds in domestic and export sales.
“It has a workforce with expertise that is unsurpassed globally, and whose skills will be critical in helping us unlock the remaining barrels on the UK Continental Shelf. With up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas estimated still to recover, there is good opportunity ahead.”
Commenting on the challenges of producing in a lower-for-longer $40-barrel oil price world, Michie added: “In 2016, industry will continue to raise its game to ensure it has a globally competitive and efficient base that continues to attract investment.
“In addition, industry is targeting a 50% reduction in drilling costs to ensure the basin remains globally competitive.
Callum McCaig, SNP Energy Spokesperson and Aberdeen South MP, added: “This year must be a year of action from the UK government. It’s high time the Chancellor heeded the SNP’s longstanding call to introduce exploration incentives in the North Sea to protect jobs and sustain a vital industry.”