The cost of decommissioning UK North Sea oil ands gas installations has ballooned to £40billion.

Inflationary pressures and other sectors competing for vessels and services - such as offshore wind - are pushing up the price tag, new figures from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) show.

Another £3billion has been added to the total since the tail end of last year, when the industry regulator put the estimated bill for cleaning up offshore at £37billion.

But the Press & Journal says NSTA remains hopeful the oil and gas industry can overcome these hurdles.

It aims to reduce the North Sea decommissioning bill to £33.3billion by 2028.

It is also using its latest decommissioning cost report to highlight the scale of the opportunity, with £21billion of spend in the pipeline expected up to 2032.

Massive chance

Equating to roughly £2billion a year for the next decade, NSTA hailed it as a "massive" chance to keep developing skills and experience in the North Sea.

This is, in turn, predicted to help the domestic supply chain win lucrative contracts overseas by reinforcing the UK as a global leader in retiring oil and gas infrastructure.

NSTA supply chain and decommissioning director Pauline Innes said: "The sector is in a good place. Work that has happened in the last few years to embed decommissioning cost efficiency in the head of operators and suppliers has really started to take traction.

"The coming decade is going to be incredibly important for us, because that's when a lot of the work will happen."

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