Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News And Other Busyness

No Tax Please, We’re British

Oil companies escape promised tax levy

Squall 16, Summer 1998, pg. 12.

BP has been making much PR of its investments in solar, persuading the US Vice-President to open its latest solar plant in California.

But the solar investment is less than a penny in every £100 BP spends on looking for more oil. The company has recently signed a massive contract in Russia and one in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile it continues to operate under military rule in Colombia and is the largest company operating in Algeria.

Ten million tonnes of petroleum products a year are produced by the Coryton refinery, which is one of the largest in the country.

The North Sea is known throughout the oil industry as one of the cheapest tax regimes in the world. Between 1984-1995, North Sea oil production rose by 17 per cent, but taxation fell by 87 per cent. Today, the only tax paid by oil companies in the North Sea is 33 per cent Corporation tax - a tax levied on all UK companies.

Since the Government announced a review of North Sea oil taxes, the industry has thrown itself into an intensive lobbying exercise. As a result, Brown's second budget deferred any changes for another year.