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The slippery slope

Europe's upstream struggled in 2016, leaving the continent more dependent on imports

Brexit overshadowed most things in Europe in 2016, including the struggling North Sea. But the continent's problems, at least in terms of domestic supply and dwindling reserves, have earlier origins. Last year brought a bit of growth, but only because previous years were so weak. Even before British voters dumped the EU, several big investors had sold up their North Sea assets, keen to recoup cash that could be spent more profitably elsewhere. The trend, together with the slumping oil price, has been bad for output. Oil and gas production in 2014-15 was little more than half the level of five years earlier, according to Scottish government data. Panicking, London and Edinburgh scraped toget

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