UK Clamp Down on North Sea Drilling Tax Holiday

Posted by George Backwell
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
File image

A planned change in the way Britain taxes North Sea drillers exposes the loophole in a system that allowed an industry with annual revenues of 2 billion pounds to pay almost no corporation tax for two decades, prompting accusations that the UK tax authority is falling down on the job.

The change, announced by Finance Minister George Osborne in March, caps the amount a UK company can deduct from profit for leasing drilling rigs from an overseas unit in the same group. The rig-leasing units are typically based in countries where their income is taxed lightly or not at all.

A Reuters review of company accounts, shipping registers and other company statements, shows that such inter-company transactions - known as transfer pricing - have enabled drilling groups in the North Sea to operate almost tax free for 20 years or more, perfectly legally, and with the agreement of Britain's tax authority, Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Companies that have benefited from the current rules include Ensco Plc, Rowan Companies Plc and Transocean Ltd, which collectively accounted for over 60 percent of the UK market in 2012.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of these companies, which declined to comment.

Osborne's change, which will limit the amount companies can deduct from profit for such lease payments to 7.5 percent of the historical cost of the rig, will replace generous deductions calculated on the market value of rigs, which has been soaring.

The amount of money the government expects the tax change to raise is equivalent to around 5 percent of total rig market revenues, which would have raised an additional $600 million from Transocean, Ensco and Rowan alone over the last 10 years. ($1 = 0.5938 British Pounds)

(By Tom Bergin)

 

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Apprentices Graduate to Newport News Shipbuilding

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) hosted commencement exercises Saturday to graduate 157 apprentices from the company's Apprentice School located at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Interview: Nakilat's Samir Bailouni

SGMF Membership - Uncovered: An interview with Samir Bailouni, Nakilat The Society for Gas and Marine Fuel (SGMF) recently interviewed one of its members, Samir

Elcome Enters Sales, Service Deal with JRC

Elcome International has signed a distribution agreement with Japan Radio Company (JRC) and its technology partner Alphatron Marine.   Under the agreement, the

Finance

Cheap Oil Threatens Debt Squeeze for Smaller North Sea Producers

Small and mid-sized independent oil producers in the British North Sea could face a financing squeeze this year as banks cut lending linked to the value of oil reserves,

Royal Caribbean to Sell Splendour of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises in the second quarter of 2016.

Johan Sverdrup Contract to "Pioneering Spirit"

Statoil has signed a contract with Allseas for installation of three platform topsides on the Johan Sverdrup field.   The vessel will be installing the topsides for the drilling,

Government Update

Brazil Truckers Continue Roadblocks After Crackdown

Striking truck drivers resumed some roadblocks in Brazil on Monday even as the government cracked down on protesters and promised to implement a law to lower toll

Italy to Begin Naval Exercises off Libya

Italy will begin annual naval exercises this week near the coast of Libya, where a breakdown in order has allowed tens of thousands of migrants to try to reach

India to Appoint Coastal Shipping Consultant

As part of Narendra Modi government plan to promote coastal shipping, India is all set to appoint a consultancy firm to assist the Shipping Ministry.    The

Offshore Energy

LTE Deployment Launched in the Gulf of Mexico

Industrial LTE wireless broadband services provider Infrastructure Networks, Inc. (INET) is deploying a pilot LTE system in the Gulf of Mexico.   INET said its

Cheap Oil Threatens Debt Squeeze for Smaller North Sea Producers

Small and mid-sized independent oil producers in the British North Sea could face a financing squeeze this year as banks cut lending linked to the value of oil reserves,

Liebherr Reports Record Year for Offshore Cranes

With 87 units delivered in 2014, Liebherr offshore cranes achieved a new per year delivery record, more than doubling its delivery numbers from 2012. And according to Liebherr,

Underwater Engineering

Ice Coverage on Great Lakes 89 pct: NOAA

Ice coverage on the Great Lakes is nearing 90 percent, reveals high resolution satellites images from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).   The entire Great Lakes is at 88.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2856 sec (4 req/sec)