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Press watch: North Sea oil

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‘George Osborne’s tax raid on North Sea oil producers will not stop one of the UK continental shelf’s most dedicated drillers from increasing production in the region by more than a quarter this year. EnQuest which has 26 production licences in the North Sea today reported a near doubling in profits in 2010 …

‘The tax rise, which is being used to offset a reduction in the fuel duties consumers are paying at the petrol pump, means some older UK oil and gas fields are now paying total taxes, including petroleum revenue tax and corporation tax, at a rate of 81% …

‘EnQuest’s chief executive Amjad Bseisu said: “The increase in tax rate does not create a positive climate for additional investments in the UK Continental Shelf [North Sea] and will render some small field investments uneconomic … Nonetheless, there remains significant potential in our development and production programme.”’

The Times, 5 April