Oops. U.K. firm says big oil find not so big after all

uk oil
A British oil exploration firm is backpedaling fast on claims that it had made a huge onshore find.

Remember that huge oil find in Britain? Turns out the company got it wrong.

Last week, a small U.K. exploration firm said up to 100 billion barrels of oil could be lying underground at a site in southern England.

Now it's moved to downplay those claims.

The firm has a license for part of the region within which the so-called "world-class potential resource" was supposed to exist.

It says more tests are needed to assess just how much oil might be there.

"Further development work in the form of appraisal drilling, well testing and assessment of recovery factors will be required to seek to quantify net resources," U.K. Oil and Gas Investments said in a statement Wednesday.

Shares in the company more than doubled after last week's news but the penny stock has since given up most of those gains.

Related: Surprise! Green energy surged despite cheap oil

Britain's energy industry has suffered along with the rest of the world over the past six months due to a sharp drop in the oil price.

In February, trade group Oil & Gas UK said new investment in the North Sea would fall by about one third in 2015 as weak oil prices and rising production costs force companies to pull back.

At the same time, low energy prices are fueling a wave of mergers in the oil sector. Last week, Royal Dutch Shell said it was buying BG Group in a £47 billion ($69.7 billion) deal.

That bid brought global M&A volume in the oil and gas industry to $112 billion so far this year, according to Dealogic -- nearly double the $61.4 billion registered over the same period in 2014.

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