North Sea decommissioning will cost taxpayers billions – here’s a better idea

  • Thomas Baxter

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'


Over the next couple of decades, the UK is set to spend billions dismantling and removing the infrastructure used to extract North Sea petroleum. Most people think oil and gas companies will pay for it, but actually the taxpayer will fund a large proportion.

This state support will work through a system of tax breaks that will cover either 50% or 75% of decommissioning costs depending on the field. With the total cost of dismantling the UK North Sea estimated at about £40 billion, the taxpayer will hand over a huge sum of money – about £1,000 per head. And should decommissioning costs rise, as many suspect they will, the risk to the taxpayer is obvious.

Period29 Nov 2016

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