NORTH Sea oil and gas production is falling at a faster rate than anywhere else in the developed world, according to the International Energy Agency.
It says total output from the UK continental shelf in 2010 marked a slump of more than 45% in a decade.
Annual figures from industry body Oil and Gas UK earlier this year put 2010 production at 850million barrels of oil and gas equivalent (boe), or 2.3million boe per day.
More recent figures from the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change showed the North Sea suffered its biggest slump in oil output since records began – down by 15.6% year-on-year – during the first three months of 2011. It was biggest decline since the UK Government began recording the data in 1995.
The agency’s report on the scale of decline says North Sea production is at its lowest level since the 1970s and less than half that of the peak years of the late 1990s.
According to the agency, most other oil and gas-producing countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents the world’s advanced economies, saw a rise in production between 2001 and 2010.
Among the countries said to have seen a fall, including Norway, the agency says none was as steep as Britain’s.
A spokesman for OGUK blamed falling reservoir levels, ageing infrastructure and an unstable tax regime for the UK collapse.
The agency, which is charged with assessing future energy supplies by OECD countries, has also revealed the UK imported a record amount of oil and gas last year.