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UK Budget seen as positive for offshore oil and gas sector

The UK Budget announced on Wednesday is seen as positive for the offshore industry oil and gas industry in the North Sea.

The Budget saw a number of measures designed to support the sector which has been hard hit by the slump in the oil price since the second half of 2014.

“Improvements to the oil and gas regime, meanwhile, include an extension to investment and cluster area allowances, and tax for late-life oil and gas assets. These are aimed at improving the attractiveness of the North Sea as an area for investment,” commented Sue Bill, tax partner at Moore Stephens.

Maritime union Nautilus also welcomed the plans to support the North Sea oil and gas, but also called for the protection of seafarer jobs and working conditions in the sector.

“The downturn in the offshore energy sector has hit British seafarers really hard, with hundreds of job losses and many more being forced to accept radical cuts in their pay and conditions,” said Mark Dickinson, general secretary of Nautilus.

“It is encouraging to see support for the offshore oil and gas industry in the Budget, however we must ensure the government is comprehensive in its approach. Nautilus and our members are calling on the plans to be bolstered with no-cost measures to ensure the assistance actually benefits British seafarers and British offshore support vessel operators, rather than helping to prop up foreign-crewed and foreign-flagged operations.”

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