OIL company ConocoPhillips has confirmed it will axe around 450 jobs across its UK operations between October 2018 and April 2020.

A spokeswoman for the company said the move follows a voluntary redundancy programme triggered by plans to halt Southern North Sea production at Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal later this year.

ConocoPhillips currently has 1300 staff and contractors in offshore and onshore operations in the UK. The company was involved with the Lincolnshire terminal through a 50-50 joint venture with oil giant BP.

A Business Outlook report released by industry body Oil and Gas UK last month showed that while production is set to grow by five per cent this year, low levels of drilling have made the long-term forecast much more uncertain.

It highlighted “serious concern” about the lack of drilling in the North Sea, with 94 wells started in 2017, the lowest number since 1973. Future sector growth, it said, was “heavily dependent on new fields coming on-stream”.