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Oil industry pushes for North Sea tax change

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image captionThe industry believes mature assets could have their lives extended

The oil industry has asked the Chancellor to consider a tax break which they claimed could extend the life of mature oil and gas fields.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said allowing the tax history of North Sea assets to be transferred when they are sold could help keep them productive.

It also claimed the Treasury would save an average of £10m on each field which is sold.

Chancellor Philip Hammond presents his Budget later this week.

Currently the history of tax paid on North Sea assets remains with the original owner, which has a bearing on the final decommissioning costs.

Oil and Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said: "Enabling tax history to be transferred between seller and buyer will ensure we encourage investment into late life but still highly productive assets and so help to extend the life of the basin.

"Transferable tax history would boost the number of mature field deals we are seeing in the North Sea. This, in turn, would help bring fresh investment into the basin, generate new production and provide extra tax revenues for Treasury."

She added: "With decommissioning activity forecast on 214 fields on the UK Continental Shelf to 2025, there is no time to waste."