Statoil to Resume N. Sea Project Following Tax Decision

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), July 5, 2011

Statoil said it will resume development of the Mariner and Bressay field projects in the U.K. North Sea after the Treasury announced it would increase a tax allowance to companies investing in marginal fields.

"We welcome and are encouraged by the positive steps made by this announcement. The negative impact from the tax increase announced in March has been neutralized for the Mariner investment and the project is back on track," said Statoil spokesman Bard Glad Pedersen.

He added that the company is "working diligently with both the Mariner and Bressay projects toward a final investment decision. But it is with Mariner we expect the final investment decision by the end of 2012."

The U.K. government Tuesday offered a concession to the oil and gas industry by raising one tax allowance that applies to North Sea fields. The Ring Fence Expenditure Supplement will rise to 10%, from 6% previously, allowing companies to offset a greater amount of their expenses against their taxes and, "support investment in marginal fields," the U.K. Treasury said in a statement.

Statoil, Norway's largest oil producer, in March postponed development of the projects following the government's decision to raise to 32% from 20% the supplementary charge levied in addition to corporation tax on profits from U.K. oil and gas production.

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