Two offshore oil and gas industry trade bodies Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea are set to join forces in a bid to deliver an effective decommissioning agenda for the North Sea.

Set to take effect in the first quarter of 2016, the new partnership is set against a backdrop of various economic and operational challenges.

The industry is trying to improve competitiveness as it looks to attract major investments in new fields, managing late life operations and undertaking decommissioning at a right time.

Decom North Sea interim chief executive Karen Seath said: "Working together more closely would be in the best interests of the industry, the regulator and the members of both Oil & Gas UK and Decom North Sea.

"I am convinced we will be able to offer all our members a more effective and efficient mechanism to tackle this challenging phase."

"If we can further align our activities, resources and strengths, I am convinced we will be able to offer all our members a more effective and efficient mechanism to tackle this challenging phase in the life cycle of our offshore oil and gas assets."

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Both the agencies believe that this alignment will offer an opportunity to streamline cross-industry activities around a clear common purpose.

Further, it will help the industry to be prepared for the years ahead.

Oil & Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: "Alignment on key areas will help ensure our industry stays focused on maximising economic recovery, while managing late life strategy and timely decommissioning in a safe, efficient and cost effective manner.

"Decommissioning spend is likely to rise from £1bn in 2014 to over £2bn in 2018, by which time over 50 fields will either be approaching or undertaking decommissioning."