Catch-up on all the week’s top news with Energy Voice’s Friday Five. Scroll through our gallery to see what oil and gas tax specialist and EV’s guest editor Derek Leith chose as his top picks of the week.
The Chancellor to the Exchequer has delivered hope for late life North Sea assets and the firms who will be tasked with their decommissioning, according to an industry expert.
Pausing to review the landscape ahead of Philip Hammond’s debut statement as Chancellor, it is difficult to imagine a more challenging set of circumstances for him to deal with.
In yesterday’s article I set out the backdrop of a collapsing commodity price, high cost base, and tightening debt and equity markets for the oil and gas sector as the context of calls for fiscal change in the Budget tomorrow – today I explain the need for a low, simple and transparent tax rate.
Against the backdrop of an oil price which has halved in the past year; where investment in the UKCS is forecast to fall dramatically over the next 2 years; and where exploration activity is at a worryingly low level, the pressure on the Chancellor has been mounting for the past few months. In the Autumn Statement the reduction in supplementary charge of 2% fell far short of industry hopes. However, the comments by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the following day were more encouraging, signalling a fundamental change in policy for UK oil and gas exploitation. No longer is the focus to be on raising tax revenues but rather on the macro economic benefits of maximising the hydrocarbons extracted from the UKCS. The Budget tomorrow represents the first opportunity for the government to put this new policy into action.