The British oil and gas industry contributes about £35 billion to the economy, according to data from new research by Ernst and Young, commissioned by industry body Oil and Gas UK. The report also reveals that there are approximately 3,000 companies directly operating in the sector.

The industry's contribution to the country's employment rate is also significant. Over the four years leading up to 2012 the UK's oil and gas industry created 20,000 new jobs. However, recruitment is also the biggest challenge for the industry as there is a marked shortage of skilled and experienced workers, the report pointed out.

Sustaining growth is another key challenge, which could be tackled through an increase in exports, Ernst and Young suggested.

Although oil prices are persistently high and production is declining, the outlook for the oilfield services industry is very positive. Technological developments allow lower production costs and extend the life of conventional production — both of which will be essential for future commercial success, the report said.

Of the over 3,000 companies directly involved in the oil and gas industry, just over half are registered in the UK and have at least 50 percent of their turnover generated in oil and gas operations. These 1,585 companies that meet both criteria were at the center of the research, Oil and Gas UK explained.