In Pictures

In pictures: North Sea oil and gas

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An oil platform around 100 miles from Aberdeen. The UK and Scottish Cabinets have both met near the city to put forward their separate visions for the future of the North Sea's oil and gas industry.
Image copyright
Image caption In 1970 the semi-submersible rig Sea Quest, pictured, made the first offshore oil find in the UK, 100 miles east of Aberdeen. BP's discovery of the Forties Oil Field came after six years of explorations.
Image copyright AP
Image caption The first flow of North Sea oil from the Forties oil field was started in 1975 by the Queen, more than ten years after explorations for the valuable resource began.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption By 1980 dozens of oil and gas platforms had been installed in the North Sea leading to a boom in the market which would not start to decline until the 1990s. In 2012 the North Sea still produced 67% of the UK's oil demand and 53% of its gas use.
Image copyright PA
Image caption But in 1988 a shadow was cast over the industry when a fire on the Piper Alpha oil platform off the coast of Aberdeen killed 167 people.
Image copyright PA
Image caption The disaster was a stark reminder of the daily dangers facing oil and gas rig workers. The industry now employs 450,000 people across the UK.
Image copyright Mearns and Gill
Image caption But fires have not been the only dangers facing workers over the decades. Many have also been killed when helicopters have ditched while travelling to and from the off-shore platforms. In 2009 16 died in such accidents.
Image caption The industry peaked around the year 2000 when more than four million barrels of oil and gas where being produced every day. Aberdeen Harbour became the busiest in Britain, transporting gas and oil industry goods to the North Sea oil platforms.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The future of the North Sea oil and gas industry will continue to be a major campaign battleground ahead of the Scottish independence referendum, with another 30-40 years of production predicted.

More on this story