Oil & Gas UK believes around 470m barrels of oil and gas will be extracted from the area in 2013, a fivefold increase on the average over the past three years. Two million barrels of oil a day are set to come on stream by 2017, up from 1.5m this year.

The trade group attributes this to a significant rise in investment in the North Sea, from £11.4bn in 2012 to a record £13bn this year.

The prediction, by Oil & Gas chief executive Malcolm Webb, suggests that a slump in investment in the North Sea since the 2000s is coming to an end. That was exacerbated by Chancellor George Osborne’s £2bn tax raid in 2011, when marginal tax rates on North Sea operators were raised to up to 81pc. The measures were eased by a series of tax allowances to promote exploration in challenging fields.

Mr Webb told the Financial Times that the new incentives for so-called “awkward squad” fields had “commercialised what would have been uncommercial projects”. He also hailed moves to clarify decommissioning costs in this year’s Budget.

The UK has seen more major investments in the North Sea recently. BP is stepping up its $4.5bn Clair Ridge project west of Shetland, which is expected to produce oil until 2050. In February, the UK gave the green light to a $7bn investment by Norway’s Statoil in the Mariner heavy oilfield – the largest new offshore development in the UK’s North Sea sector in more than a decade.