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The UK North Sea as a Global Experiment in Resource Extraction

This report by Juan Carlos Boué was published by ScotE3 with support from PCS and Platform, and edited by Transition Economics’s Mika Minio-Paluello.

Juan Carlos Boué’s report (pdf download) analyses the UK’s North Sea oil tax regime, which has handed super-profits to international oil companies while the taxpayer now foots the bill for decommissioning.

Boué argues that, since the 1970s, these tax arrangements have been “at the forefront of the process of redefinition of the economic frontiers of the State”. These “neoliberal governance structures”, designed in the UK, were exported across the world in the 1980s and 1990s, along with privatisation and “market liberalisation”. The global spread of the UK governance model did produce oil production gains, Boué concludes, “but also destabilised many key petroleum producers, whose governments found themselves starved of fiscal income”.

Boué brings the story right up to date, showing how, as North Sea oil production declines, the government has pushed the burden of decommissioning costs on to the public purse, while the oil companies eke out every last drop of oil, and of profit, from their operations.

Download report: https://tinyurl.com/udpqncd