The UK oil and gas industry maintained its cautious outlook over the last two quarters of 2011 after the latest business confidence index fell to 53 in the third quarter (Q3) this year, compared with 54 in the second quarter (Q2).

The Oil & Gas UK report revealed that the operator outlook rose to 49 in Q3 2011 from 48 in Q2.

The independent operator index stood at 48 while the major operator index slipped to 51.

Contractor community confidence dropped from 56 to 55, while drilling and well services rose to 57 from 54.

Facilities engineering, operations and maintenance slipped to 55, while the marine and subsea sector fell to 53 in Q3 from 64 in Q2.

Support services rose to 57 from 54.

The Oil & Gas UK Index is a quarterly index that measures changes in business confidence throughout the UK offshore upstream oil and gas industry.