By Jonathan Davies

Warnings that North Sea oil firms are facing a "crisis" and the industry "could collapse" are "well over the top and far too dramatic", according to an industry expert.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Ian Wood, one of the UK's leading figures in the oil industry, said conditions would begin to improve in 2015.

On Thursday, Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers' association Brindex, said that almost no new oil projects in the North Sea were profitable, adding that it's "almost impossible to make money at these oil prices".

Sir Ian Wood did concede that job cuts were likely, as predicted by Mr Allan. In fact, last week Sir Ian predicted job losses in the North Sea industry over the next 18 months.

But he stressed that investment plans are made a few years in advance, so the effect of falling oil prices will not be immediate.

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