Image courtesy of Premier Oil.

Drilling activity in the North Sea dropped 20 percent in 2014 to its lowest level in 15 years, a new Deloitte report said.

The number of wells drilled in the UK North Sea fell from 50 in 2013 to 40 wells this past year.

North Sea field start ups were cut in half, dropping from 13 in 2013 to six in 2014.

Norway’s exploration sector remained “relatively buoyant” with exploration drilling ticking down only 3 percent over 2013 from 59 wells to 50 wells.

Exploration activity in the Netherlands doubled in 2014 with 20 wells drilled.

The report comes as energy industry leaders call on UK chancellor of the exchequer Roger Osborne to implement tax reforms that would help the oil and gas sector better cope with declining North Sea reserves and falling oil prices.

“Over the last 12 months, both industry and government have recognized the need for change on the UK Continental Shelf,” Deloitte Petroleum Services Group managing director Graham Sandler said.

Sandler said the UK energy industry will require “strong guidance” from the UK Oil and Gas Authority and “clarity” over possible government incentives to support exploration and appraisal activity.

UK-based Premier Oil, one of the largest operators in the North Sea, slashed its 2015 development and exploration budget Wednesday after taking a $300 million write down due to low Brent prices.

BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron have cut a combined 775 North Sea jobs since July in an effort to trim expenses amid rising operational costs.


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