"Exploration for oil and gas in the North Sea has plunged as a result of the global financial crisis and struggling small oil companies are putting themselves up for sale in increasing numbers, the latest industry data reveal.
The number of exploration wells being drilled in the North Sea has fallen by 78 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 year-on-year, according to data from Deloitte, the consulting firm.
In total, only 18 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled in the UK during the first quarter, a 41 per cent drop in total drilling activity compared with the first quarter of last year.
UK Oil and Gas, the industry group, is even more pessimistic, forecasting that total drilling could fall 66 per cent this year.
Derek Henderson, senior partner at Deloitte, said: "Unless exploration is at a healthy clip, it risks shortening the life of fields."
Exploration and appraisal wells, which determine the amount of oil trapped in a field, are critical to any oil region's long-term supply prospects, but are particularly important for the North Sea where ageing fields are declining at one of the fastest rates worldwide."
So, any of you out there that are worried there will be no market for the Volt you can relax. There are huge problems a-coming. We will be lucky to be able to produce 86 mbd when and if the economy comes back to life. Some predicted that we already hit peak oil. If true, times will soon be a-changing. Hurry up EVs!