SNP call for UK investment in North Sea decommissioning

Written by Tom Freeman on 22 November 2016 in News

Philip Hammond's autumn statement represents an 'ideal opportunity' for oil field decommissioning tax relief, says Paul Wheelhouse

Oil rig - credit Steven Straiton

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond should use his autumn statement to award tax breaks to North Sea decommissioning, Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse has said.

The remaining value of older oil fields could increase by 50 per cent, the Scottish Government predicts, if given measures to reduce costs.

Wheelhouse is in Aberdeen to co-chair industry forum the Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group.


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“The UK Government retains control of the key taxation levers affecting the sector and must take the action needed to protect businesses and jobs," he said.

“Last week’s Decommissioning Insight report from Oil and Gas UK highlighted the £17.6 billion decommissioning opportunity over the next ten years and the need for HM Treasury to work with the industry to attract fresh investment, avoid premature decommissioning, and ensure decommissioning is carried out in a timely and cost-effective manner."

The GMB union yesterday warned decommissioning could cost the taxpayer £75bn.

The trade union's Scotland secretary, Gary Smith, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme "The reality is we have got foreign owned oil and gas companies that are going to enjoy huge tax breaks at our expense and they are taking vital decommissioning work abroad."

Meanwhile MPs on Westminster's transport committee yesterday heard an incident which saw an oil rig run aground on the isle of Lewis this summer could not have been prevented.

There were fears about the environmental impact after the Transocean Winner rig came adrift in a storm as it was being towed to Malta then Turkey for decommissioning.

Sir Alan Massey of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told MPs the weather conditions were "very unusual" for August.

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