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Marathon Oil set to launch tax appeal after taking £80m hit

Marathon Oil's HQ in Aberdeen

North Sea operator Marathon Oil is planning another appeal after a UK tax tribunal ruling left it with a £80million-plus hit to cashflow.

The Houston-based company said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission the issue was all to do with the timing of deductibility for certain Brae area decommissioning costs.

Marathon received an adverse ruling from the first-tier tribunal, which is responsible for handling appeals against some tax decisions made by HM Revenue and Customs, late last year.

Its filing said: “We have applied for permission to appeal the ruling, but were required to pay the disputed tax amount and associated interest.

“Related accounting adjustments in fourth quarter 2017 are expected to result in a negative impact to cash flow from operations of approximately $110million (about £81million). We expect that the revisions to current and deferred tax liabilities will have no material adverse earnings impact on our consolidated results of operations.”

Marathon’s Brae complex in the UK North Sea has been producing for more than 30 years and delivered an average of 12,000 net barrels of oil equivalent for the firm in the third quarter of 2017.

Brae, about 170 miles north-east of Aberdeen, consists of three platforms, three subsea tie-backs and associated pipelines and subsea components. Draft decommissioning plans were filed with the UK Government last June.

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