By Jonathan Davies

North Sea oil firms are in "crisis" as a result of continuously falling oil prices, according to a senior industry figure.

Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry is "close to collapse".

Mr Allan claimed that almost no new projects in the North Sea are profitable and companies are having to cut staff and investment to save money.

"It's almost impossible to make money at these oil prices," he said. "It's a huge crisis."

"This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs wherever possible, and that's painful for our staff, painful for companies and painful for the country.

"It's close to collapse. In terms of new investments - there will be none, everyone is retreating, people are being laid off at most companies this week and in the coming weeks. Budgets for 2015 are being cut by everyone."

Oil prices have fallen by around 50% this year as over-supply is failed to be met by demand.

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