By Jonathan Davies

Oil and gas companies in the UK expect to create up to 8,000 jobs over the next two years, despite the recent fall in oil prices.

The number is around 2,000 fewer than were created over the past two years, but still comes as a surprise to many, given the dramatic impact of oil prices.

Brent crude oil has lost more than half of its value since last summer, but has started to recover some of its losses in 2015.

A study by Bank of Scotland found that 39% of respondents in the oil and gas industry said prices had affected investment.

"Fears that the current oil price slump may cost as many as 35,000 jobs in the UK oil and gas industry, widely reported in the media, may well be greatly overdone," the report stated.

Of the 101 companies surveyed, only nine expect to reduce their workforce with 73 set to expand.

Bank of Scotland also said that there is an increase in the number of firms looking towards international expansion, up to 90% from 64% last year.

"North Sea firms ...are looking at international expansion opportunities where they can enjoy continued growth backed by the strong expertise they have developed here in the UK," said Stuart White, area director of commercial banking for Bank of Scotland.