© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Drilling rigs are parked up in the Cromarty Firth near Invergordon, Scotland, Britain January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/File Photo
LONDON (Reuters) – The British High Court has agreed to hear a case by environmental campaigners claiming that the government’s support of North Sea oil and gas companies conflicted with its plans to slash the country’s carbon emissions by 2050.
The legal challenge revolves around tax breaks oil and gas producers receive in order to help cover costs for dismantling and clearing up ageing infrastructure, in what is known as decommissioning.
The case names as defendants the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) which oversees the North Sea industry as well as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Kwasi Kwarteng.
The OGA earlier this year said it will focus on “managing the declining production and maximising value” from the North Sea, one of the world’s oldest offshore oil and gas basins, as part of the government’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The claimants argue that the decommissioning tax breaks are not consistent with the government’s net zero emissions targets. Many countries offer producers decommissioning tax relief.
“Instead of using public money to prop up the oil and gas industry, the UK should be funding a just transition that retrains workers and builds the low-carbon industries of the future,” Mikaela Loach, one of the three claimants, said in a statement.
The OGA said in a statement that its strategy “which includes net zero requirements on industry, is the primary tool the OGA has to hold industry to account on emission reductions.”
BEIS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Royal Dutch Shell (LON:) and BP (LON:), which have both operated in the North Sea for decades, paid no taxes to the British government in 2019 as a result decommissioning tax relief, according to the firms’ tax reports.
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.