Oil & Gas

Harbour ‘deeply disapointed’ EPL will stay if oil prices fall

Harbour Energy has struck out at Jeremy Hunt’s new Budget, saying that the decision to keep windfall tax if commodity rates return to normal levels is “deeply disappointing”.

The UK North Sea producer also expressed grievances with the way the current rulings of the energy profits levy (EPL), often referred to as windfall tax, “disproportionately impacts independent UK oil and gas companies”.

This comes after Harbour Energy’s chief executive, Linda Cook, wrote in the FT that increased windfall taxes would  risk “driving investment out of the UK altogether.”

As a result of this disagreement with government decisions, Harbou energy has said: “We will seek to engage with Ministers and officials as a matter of priority.”

A Harbour Energy spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the impact on our business of yet another change in the tax regime for UK oil and gas companies.

“The EPL, as currently designed, disproportionately impacts independent UK oil and gas companies and does not target genuine windfall profits.

“We are also deeply disappointed to learn today that the government has not only increased and extended the EPL, but has also abandoned its policy to phase it out if commodity prices return to normal levels.

Harbour was not alone in providing comment on the chancellor’s Budget yesterday as oil major Shell waded in on the issue.

A Shell spokesperson has commented: “We recognise the burden that increased prices have across society, in particular on vulnerable consumers and communities.

“It is for governments to decide when and how they intervene to help those who need it most.

“As well as raising revenues to support people, taxes should be designed to provide incentives for investment to address the underlying supply problems that are causing high prices now, and to drive the vital, longer term transition to a low-carbon energy system.

“To deliver the very significant investment needed, which for Shell UK will be up to £25 billion in the next 10 years, the energy sector needs to have confidence that there will now be a stable investment climate following a period of considerable uncertainty.”

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