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Do High Oil Prices Justify an Increase in Taxation in a Mature Oil Province? The Case of the UK Continental Shelf


  • Carole Nakhle

    () (Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC), Department of Economics, University of Surrey)


In response to the structural shift in oil price coupled with greater import dependency, concerns about security of supply have once again emerged as a major policy issue. The UK, the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the European Union, became a net importer of natural gas in 2004, and, according to Government estimates, will become a net importer of oil by the end of the decade. A weakened North Sea performance means extra reliance, both for the UK and Europe as a whole, on global oil and gas network and imports. In 2002, the UK Government introduced a 10 per cent supplementary charge and in 2005, doubled the charge to 20 per cent in an attempt to capture more revenues from the oil industry because of the increase in the price of crude oil. However, higher tax rates do not necessarily generate higher fiscal revenue and in the long term may result in materially lower revenues if investment is discouraged. It is therefore argued that the increase in the fiscal take came at the wrong time for the UK Continental Shelf and that the UK Government’s concern should have been to encourage more oil production from its declining province, especially in the light of the rising concern surrounding the security of supply.

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  • Carole Nakhle, 2007. "Do High Oil Prices Justify an Increase in Taxation in a Mature Oil Province? The Case of the UK Continental Shelf," Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC), School of Economics Discussion Papers (SEEDS) 116, Surrey Energy Economics Centre (SEEC), School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  • Handle: RePEc:sur:seedps:116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rutledge, Ian & Wright, Philip, 1998. "Profitability and taxation in the UKCS oil and gas industry: analysing the distribution of rewards between company and country," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(10), pages 795-812, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abdul Manaf, Nor Aziah & Mas'ud, Abdulsalam & Ishak, Zuaini & Saad, Natrah & Russell, Alex, 2016. "Towards establishing a scale for assessing the attractiveness of petroleum fiscal regimes – Evidence from Malaysia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 253-261.
    2. Beer, Sebastian & Loeprick, Jan, 2017. "Taxing income in the oil and gas sector — Challenges of international and domestic profit shifting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 186-198.
    3. Tran, Martino, 2012. "Technology-behavioural modelling of energy innovation diffusion in the UK," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 1-11.
    4. Dinwoodie, John & Tuck, Sarah & Rigot-Müller, Patrick, 2013. "Maritime oil freight flows to 2050: Delphi perceptions of maritime specialists," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 553-561.
    5. Menegaki, Angeliki N. & Tsagarakis, Konstantinos P., 2015. "Rich enough to go renewable, but too early to leave fossil energy?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1465-1477.

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    Petroleum Taxation; Energy Security; Oil Price;

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