The UK’s oil and gas industry is warning that 30,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the low oil price.

A global oversupply of oil has pushed prices to their lowest level in 20 years.

In a survey of its members, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said many firms would struggle to survive.

It has called for the transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to be at the heart of its recovery plan.

At its peak, a barrel of Brent Crude oil sold for about $120.

But in recent weeks, that has fallen as low as $16 with no real sign of it recovering.

The industry fears the problems will last much longer than the Covid-19 pandemic, and that has meant many workers are being laid off rather than furloughed.

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The predicted job losses represent about one in five of the 151,000 people employed directly or indirectly by the sector.

Some job losses have already been announced with “many more” expected to be confirmed in the coming months.

OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “With historic low oil and gas prices coming so soon after one of the most severe downturns our sector has experienced, these findings confirm an especially bleak outlook for the UK’s oil and industry.

“If the UK is to maintain its supply of domestic energy, protect jobs and build the critical infrastructure it needs to transition to a net-zero future, ours is an industry worth fighting for.”

The industry body has outlined a three-stage plan which it hopes will minimise the longer-term impact.

It calls for the addressing of the industry’s immediate needs, followed by its industrial recovery and then an accelerated transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.