The cost of decommissioning offshore oil and gas platforms on the UK continental shelf could exceed $30bn over the next 30 years, according to new research findings.

A report released by Deloitte and Douglas-Westwood reveals that the majority of decommissioning activity and related spending will occur between 2017 and 2027.

The study estimates that 260 offshore oil and gas platforms will be decommissioned over the next 30 years.

The study forecasts that the anticipated level of decommissioning will provide a major business opportunity for the oil services industry, especially vessel operators and well service companies, and could be a significant boost to regional economies.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency predicts that UK oil output will shrink by 50,000 barrels per day to 1.42 million barrels per day this year, and by 100,000 barrels per day to 1.32 million next year.