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General: UKOOA upbeat about North Sea

Posted on 31.10.2004 - 01:46 EDT in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

thisisNewNorthScotlandThe Uk Offshore Operators' Association said yesterday that North Sea exploration and appraisal was now getting back to levels seen before an extra tax was imposed more than two years ago.

Steve Harris, communications director of UKOOA, told nearly 400 industry leaders that there were some positive signs for the future.

The North Sea hit a downturn following the surprise Government decision in April 2002, to impose an extra 10% tax on profits of oil and gas production companies.

Mr Harris, speaking at a UKOOA energy breakfast in Aberdeen, said only 14 field developments were given the go-ahead in British waters in 2003, but that had doubled this year.

Exploration platforms were now coming out of mothballs, and rates for semisubmersible rigs were at their highest for more than two years. He said the recent licensing round had been the best for a number of years, while there had been 42 new entrants to the North Sea in the last two rounds.

Mr Harris said Treasury Minister Dawn Primarolo had been told in a recent meeting that what the oil and gas industry needed in perpetuity was a stable and predictable fiscal regime.

During yesterday's question-and-answer session, the panel was asked about what effect a possible Government windfall tax on oil companies could have on the North Sea.

Mr Harris pointed out that the Treasury was already benefiting to the tune of an extra £3billion-plus this year from production firms because of high oil prices.

The main speaker was John Constable, senior economist with Esso UK, who said oil and gas was not a sunset industry. He said it provided 60% of primary energy sources now and it would be the same position in 2030. He said large oil resources still existed, amounting to many trillions of barrels.

30 October 2004

This Is North Scotland
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