Budget measures complement industry’s efforts to improve competitivenessNews // March 17, 2016
Oil & Gas UK has welcomed the Chancellor’s acknowledgment of the challenges facing the offshore oil and gas industry. The budget will reduce the headline rate of tax paid on UK oil and gas production falling from 50-67.5 per cent to a rate of 40 per cent across all fields.
Deirdre Michie, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, commented: “Today’s announcement does indeed mark further progress in modernising the tax regime for an increasingly mature basin. We welcome these measures as they will build on the industry’s achievements in improving efficiency in the face of low oil prices, boosting the sector’s competitiveness and helping to restore investor confidence.
“We will continue to work with the Treasury to complete its ‘Driving Investment’ plan to ensure that the fiscal regime reflects the business needs of a maturing basin and signals to global investors that the UK is truly open for business.”
The budget also provided certainty on the availability of decommissioning tax relief, where an asset is transferred but the decommissioning liability is retained by a previous owner, which should assist the asset trading market.
Regarding exploration, industry appreciates the continued funding of seismic and hopes that the tax rate changes prove sufficiently effective alongside the steps the OGA are taking to promote exploration activity.
Oil & Gas UK also notes that there has been further adjustment to the Investment Allowance to facilitate investment in infrastructure, which will also support the drive to Maximise Economic Recovery.
The industry has been badly affected by the drop in oil price with investment falling sharply, with nearly half of all oil fields making losses and tens of thousands of jobs lost over the past 18 months.
Oil & Gas UK, amongst a number of organisations, has been calling on the government to support the competitiveness of UK oil and gas production and lighten the burden of special taxes paid by the sector in order to attract international investment back into the UK and sustain activity in the years ahead.
As the basin matures, the offshore oil and gas industry will continue to improve its cost base and become more efficient. The tax changes announced in today’s Budget compliment the sector’s own efforts to secure an enduring industry.