Oil & Gas UK said it now expected average output to fall to between 1.2m and 1.4m barrels of oil and gas per day (boepd) this year, down from 1.54m boepd in 2012.
Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK chief executive, warned of a “worrying decline” in the amount of time existing oil and gas fields spent producing, despite hailing record levels of investment, at £13.5bn this year.
The group abandoned its earlier forecast, set in February, which had predicted that production would see only a “marginal” decline, of as little as 2.5pc, to between 1.45m and 1.5m boepd in 2013.
The figures highlight the challenge facing the industry in extracting the remaining potential from the North Sea. In 2003, production stood at almost 4m boepd, but has fallen every year since.
Natural decline as reserves in older fields are used up is being exacerbated by increasing time lost to unintended shutdowns for maintenance or following accidents, such as the major gas leak at Total’s Elgin field last year.
However, Oil & Gas UK predict that the declining North Sea trend could see some temporary reversal. It forecasts that new investment could drive output close to 2m boepd by 2017 - but only if the problems of high levels of maintenance shutdowns are overcome.
It expects average production efficiency - the ratio of actual production to the maximum potential of the fields - to have fallen to 60pc in 2012, down from about 80pc eight years ago. That decline represented a loss of almost 500m boepd in 2012.
“The recent decline has resulted from deteriorating reliability, with extended maintenance shutdowns, compounded by several major production outages, ” it said.
Mr Webb said the industry was working with the Department of Energy and Climate Change to “tackle this serious concern through a joint task group”.
DECC has also commissioned Sir Ian Wood, former chairman of oil services company Wood Group, to examine how to maximise recovery.
The declining production leaves Britain ever more dependent on imports of oil and gas, and is one of the reasons ministers are so keen to test the potential of onshore oil and gas reserves such as shale gas.
Oil and gas output is also a key contributor to wider economic data, with a slump in North Sea production blamed for a fall in GDP in the fourth quarter of last year.
Oil & Gas UK predicts capital investment will hit £13.5bn in 2013, exceeding a previous forecast of £13bn, and up from £11.4bn in 2012. The North Sea had “not previously seen capital investment above £7bn since the early 1990s, ” it said.
Greg Barker, the energy minister, said the investment showed the industry was “in excellent health”.
Oil & Gas UK identified a series of spurs for the investment including “renewed confidence among the major companies”, the impact of tax breaks and the development of new, more expensive techniques for extracting oil and gas from technically-challenging fields.Companies were also expected to spend £1bn on improving the “asset integrity” as they became more “risk averse” since BP’s Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.blog niche ideas 2021 among blog vlogging camera with flip screen blog mickey blogging at 40 blogging with students blog pro astra blog on health and fitness xanga blogging blogging the boys trolling the nation can i retire now blog blog outline template blogging to the bank meaning behind blogging blog layout templates blogging as an educational tool blog contra bolsonaro blog clipart like the posts at the top of a blog typically blog into website blogging in wordpress blogging light just outside blog what do you mean by blog blogging without domain blogging lessons blogging retreat blogging zenith blogging sites like medium blog mickey blogging about tv shows blogging define blog like a lady blog of mayhem blogging events blogging through pinterest blog inside blogging business blog as a side hustle blogging kit blogging kit best buy blog page blogging at college blogging about art moving beyond blogging blogging to make money online blogging is dead earning thru blogging set up blogging site career after blogging blog over 50 feeling 40 blog page blogging by google blogging dirty blog sites blogging journal blogging under pseudonym blog by high school students blogging as a hobby blog banner blogging vs vlogging blogging by sophia lee blog camera blogging classes blogging of music blog to book blogging income blog questions for students blogging at 60 blog up step meaning behind blogging pro blogging idea blogging from home jobs blog questions to ask blog even blogging past participle blog name examples blog builder blog generator name blog into mystery blogging on google write off blogging expenses blogging hashtags blogging through the fourth dimension blog entry examples blog google blogging to the bank blogging at 70 blog jobs near me how to make money while blogging blogging past participle blog through text blogging from paradise blogging kaise karte hain blog with affiliate links blog on squarespace blogging about pets blog out synonym blog questions blogging the boys trolling the nation blog xero blog yellow blogging millionaire blog quotes blog topics during coronavirus blogging about my life blogging to make money online blog juca kfouri blog as a business blogging def blog over 40 beyond blogging blogging revenue blogging for kids blogging jobs near me blog zen habits blogging quotes goodreads blog break even blogging boys blog kit blogging quora blog for free beauty within blog blogging name ideas blogging as a career blogging explained bloating after ovulation blog outside blogging coach blogging website builder blogging synonym blogging sites best buy blog blogging income after 1 year blogging zones blogging on linkedin blog via email blog after breakup blogging by numbers blogging coaching near me blogging vs instagram blog updates blogging meaning blog on facebook blogging apps blogging essentials blogging for seo blog def blog of dubious intent blogging basics blog login blog up north blogging by numbers blogging pro blogging degree blogging youtube blogging coach blog into spanish blogging platforms like medium blog ideas for 2021 bloggingpro reviews blog after effects blog to blogging during weight loss blog behind the black pro blogging tips blogspot retired now what blogs blog between blogging names blogging pro jobs blog around meaning blog like tiny buddha