GOVERNMENT KICKS OFF DISCUSSIONS WITH INDUSTRY OVER FUTURE OF NORTH SEA TAX

The government has today called on industry to submit their thoughts on the future of the UK oil and gas tax regime.

The call for evidence will explore how the tax regime can continue to encourage investment in the North Sea and help maximise the value of the country’s oil and gas resources for the UK, whilst ensuring the nation continues to receive a fair share of profits.

The call for evidence marks the beginning of 12 weeks of discussion with the oil and gas industry and other stakeholders about the long-term shape of the tax regime.

The review, which the Chancellor announced at Budget 2014, comes at an important time for the UK Continental Shelf. There is still a considerable amount of oil and gas left to recover – up to around 21 billion barrels of oil (boe) equivalent.

The basin is currently attracting record levels of private investment – £14.4 billion in 2013, and there are around 125 groups of companies now involved as licensees in offshore exploration and production.

However, exploration and production is becoming harder and more expensive, and the UK is facing competition for capital from other countries.

As the independent Office for Budget Responsibility highlighted last week, tax revenue generated from the oil and gas industry will continue to decline over the long-term.

The value of the industry to the country will increasingly come through wider economic benefits – through jobs, skills and exports.

The UK offers the strongest basis to maximise these benefits because of the size and diversity of its economy. It provides the stability and predictability needed for companies to invest and is able to adopt a long-term approach to the sector because of its broad shoulders.