Hundreds of offshore workers have been stripped of access to Sky TV and fear further 'home comforts' are in the firing line as oil prices remain low.

Operator Talisman Sinopec revealed yesterday (THUR) that it has replaced the paid-for satellite broadcaster with Freeview and BT Sport TV packages across its North Sea installations.

The move is expected to save the company 600,000 pounds a year.

But it means offshore employees will no longer have access to premium channels while on their downtime.

The cost cutting exercise comes as hundreds of oil and gas jobs are axed as a result of rising production costs and plunging Brent crude prices.

Talisman Sinopec - which has its North Sea base in Aberdeen - said that the recent drop in the price of oil had prompted the firm to look at other ways to save money in non-essential areas.

A spokeswoman for Talisman said: "We are not immune to those challenges and are taking appropriate actions to tackle them.

"As part of our ongoing review of reducing spend, we have replaced Sky TV with Freeview and BT Sport on our offshore sites which represents a saving of 600,000 pounds per year.

"We are shaping the future direction of our business - and industry - to protect our long-term sustainability within the sector."

Jake Molloy, regional organiser for RMT union, said: "Talisman is the first but they will not be the last.

"It is all part of cost efficiency, but there are better ways to improve cost efficiency than removing welfare elements in a difficult work environment."

Meanwhile, a new study by Robert Gordon University (RGU) and Oil & Gas UK has found average North Sea employee's weight has gone from 12 to more than 14 stone today over the last 30 years.

Meanwhile, a new study has found offshore workers are significantly taller, heavier and broader than they were 30 years ago.

Researchers at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in collaboration with Oil & Gas UK found that male offshore oil and gas workers are now on average almost 19 per cent heavier and two per cent taller than they were in 1985.

The average height is now 5ft 10in and the average weight 14st 3lb, around 14 per cent heavier than the general male population.

The findings are based on 3D scans of a representative sample of 588 male offshore workers.

A total of 26 measures were extracted, including shoulder width, chest girth, neck girth, and a series of volumetric measurements of the arm, leg and torso.

The scans revealed that workers' waistlines had grown 17 per cent in 30 years with wrist circumferences up 11 per cent.

Study findings will be invaluable to those designing offshore safety equipment, survival clothing and space and accommodation requirements offshore.

It also comes just weeks before new safety guidance takes effect which will ban any workers whose shoulder circumference exceeds 22 inches from sitting next to a helicopter's push-out windows, which are used as exits if the aircraft ditches.

The measurement, which replaced plans for controversial weight limits, will take effect from April 1.