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In the 30 years since oil was discovered in the North Sea, the industry has developed to the stage where it now employs nearly 30,000 people offshore and provides about 300,000 jobs onshore in the whole of the UK.

Extracting oil and gas offshore is a complex process and is carried out in one of the harshest environments in the world. There are now some 200 offshore installations producing oil and gas and providing around 80% of Britain's fuel with minimum impact on the environment.

From the large installations standing on the seabed, where up to 200 people may work, to the smaller floating production facilities on which there may be as few as 30 people, these are complex structures. They carry the equipment required to extract oil and gas, and also all the facilities needed to support the crews manning them, which means power generation, equipment, accommodation and all the other infrastructure that we tend to take for granted onshore.

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