Britain’s North Sea oil output is likely to increase in the next few years, according to research published today. This reflects the impact of rising investment, high prices and tax breaks.

A University of Aberdeen study predicted that oil output will reach 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 based on an oil price of $90 a barrel. Production fell more than 17% to average 1.04 million bpd last year.

“Oil production should revive from recent levels for a period of several years, particularly with the higher-price scenario, where the increase could be substantial,” the study by Alexander Kemp and Linda Stephen concluded.

While the industry is benefiting from a rise in investment, other experts have predicted a slowing of the rate of decline rather than an increase.

The report from the University of Aberdeen came before the UK government’s Autumn Statement on the economy later today and at a time when the North Sea is seeing something of a mini-revival. Tax breaks were announced by the government in March, providing an incentive for companies to do more work in the North Sea.

Britain was among the world’s top 10 oil producers in the 1990s. However, output has declined from a peak of 2.9 million bpd in 1999 as the larger and easier-to-tap fields have been pumped out.

Brent has averaged almost $112 this year, on track to exceed last year’s all-time high.

The study said total production in the next 30 years may not reach a government estimate of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). It forecast 16.8 billion boe instead unless more work is carried out, including on exploration and project development.