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UPI: Industry wants North Sea oil tax breaks

Published: March 13, 2008 at 8:25 PM

LONDON, March 13 (UPI) — North Sea oil companies are looking for further incentives to explore.

A package of modest tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas companies was recently set out but industry officials said they are hoping for more substantial incentives to investment in the future, the Financial Times U.K. reported.

The oil and gas industry was expected to pay roughly $19 billion in corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax in the coming fiscal year, a $2 billion increase.

The nearly $50 million estimated benefit of the new tax relief to the industry next year is small to them

Michael Tholen, the economics director at Oil & Gas UK, the industry association, said that, while the measures were “sensible” assistance, “we are not talking about a tidal wave of new investment coming in to the North Sea as a result of these changes.”

The North Sea is one of the fastest-declining regions for oil production. Oil and gas discoveries are typically small and much of the infrastructure is aging.

The international companies that originally opened up the region, like Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have been pulling back.

The Treasury is holding consultations with the industry on further tax relief, which could come into effect in June. Tholen said he hoped it could lead to capital on developing smaller oil and gas fields.

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