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The return of cautious optimism in the North Sea

The UK’s North Sea hub, braced for production declines, has received a boost from new investments and revived interest from the supermajors

There's more optimism around Aberdeen, the main centre for the North Sea oil and gas industry, than there has been for some years. Offshore activity is picking up, albeit from a low base, and the city is slowly filling up again. Oil company executives can't always get rooms in their favourite hotels these days, and taxi drivers—those trusty barometers of economic health—say they're the busiest they've been since the oil-price crash sent industry spending into a nosedive. There's still plenty of vacant work space around, but the signs are positive. Perhaps the clearest evidence of a turnaround in the fortunes of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) was the greater-than-expected interest shown in

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