WOOD Group chief executive Robin Watson has reiterated his faith in the potential benefits of the £2.2billion acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler as the oil services giant completed the deal.

Aberdeen-based Wood cleared the final hurdle in the way of the takeover yesterday after Amec Foster Wheeler sold the bulk of its North Sea oil services business to Australia’s WorleyParsons for around £228 million.

The transaction gives WorleyParsons a big presence in the UK North Sea. It signals confidence in the long term prospects for a market which has come under significant pressure amid the crude price plunge.

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Amec Foster Wheeler had to sell the business to ease regulators’ concerns about the impact of it being takeover by Wood Group on competition in the North Sea.

Mr Watson noted spending on new North Sea projects has fallen sharply amid the crude price plunge that started in 2014. Wood did not see any sign that activity levels could increase to fill the gap left by the completion of work on big projects that were started when conditions were brighter.

"The North Sea challenge remains the activity levels in such a mature basin," said Mr Watson.

Wood expects to remain active in the North Sea for years.But the takeover of London-based Amec Foster Wheeler will help reduce the firm’s reliance on the area by taking it into markets such as environmental engineering and extending its geographic reach.

Mr Watson said: “I’m really excited about where this takes us”.

The enlarged group will have 55,000 employees, including 14,500 in the UK, and be run from Aberdeen.

Wood has said it expects to shed around 1,200 posts from the enlarged group, without saying where cuts will be made.

The recommended all share offer for Amec Foster Wheeler was announced in March.

The North Sea business WorleyParsons is buying has around 3,000 employees.

Amec Foster Wheeler said the unit generated revenues of £323 million and trading profit of £34m in the first half, with a significant contribution coming from major projects which are expected to complete in the near term.

Shares in Wood Group closed down 7.5p at 722.5p.