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The current oil and gas slump is the worst in post-war history. Excess supply has pushed onshore reserves to record levels, causing prices to crash to around £19.60 from a high of £80 a barrel in the summer of 2014. And things could be about to get worse. Analysts are predicting that oil prices could fall to between £17.60 and £7 a barrel, before they make any kind of recovery.

Declining oil prices may be good for the consumer, but they have hit the industry hard, particularly in areas like the North Sea where activity is at a low ebb. A report out in September by industry group, Oil & Gas UK, predicted North Sea spending will be cut from a record £14.8 billion in 2014 to £7 billion or less within three years. It estimates that 65,000 jobs have been axed in the North Sea oil sector since 2014 as a result, leaving a workforce of around 375,000.

So is it a terrible time to consider a career in the oil and gas industry? ‘I think the important fact to remember is that all markets suffer with similar periodic declines following periods of unsustainable growth, and like other sectors, the oil and gas industry will recover,’ said Grant Hutchinson, divisional manager of oil and gas at Capp Group, which is part of Matchtech. ‘Individuals shouldn’t be put off the oil and gas industry, as there will always be opportunities for skilled professionals in such a resource-hungry market.’

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