Britain's oil and gas industry has warned it faces its "biggest challenge in 50 years" due to the low levels of exploration.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK said only 15 wells were drilled last year, despite positive levels of investment in the industry. This growth in investment reached a record last year which was sustained this year.
Exploration drilling was down from 44 wells six years ago, only sufficient to recover a fraction of the estimated oil and gas remaining offshore. A survey has also found that the rising production costs have had an impact.
Despite this, there is a positive picture from high levels of investment in known reserves which is predicted to reach £13 billion during this year.