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Ineos Energy CEO: UK Making Oil and Gas Investment Difficult

  • Ineos Energy CEO David Bucknall criticizes the UK's political environment, stating it makes oil and gas investments difficult.
  • The company favors expanding in the US and Denmark, citing more stable and predictable energy policies in these regions.
  • Bucknall highlights the negative impact of the UK's windfall tax and potential changes to investment allowances on the industry.
Offshore Oil

The chief executive of Ineos Energy has said the business will prioritise expansion in the US and Denmark over Britain, arguing that the country’s politicians have put “pain” on the oil and gas sector.

David Bucknall told The Times that the US and Denmark, the other two regions the company operates in, were “much easier to invest in at the moment”.

“If you look at the US, you have different rhetoric at the top level from different sides of the political spectrum, but the reality is that the people in the Department of Energy are professionals,” he added.

“They know what they’re doing. We haven’t seen very much change at all at the operational level, the practical level, in terms of oil and gas, despite who is the president of the US. So it makes it a very investable thing.”

In contrast, Bucknall said Britain’s policy backdrop had become more about parties “outdoing each other in how much pain you can put into the industry”.

Ineos Energy, created in 2020, manages the energy-related operations of petrochemicals group Ineos, which was founded by billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

It entered the US market last year by acquiring part of of Chesapeake Energy’s oil and gas assets in south Texas for $1.4bn.

Bucknall’s comments come ahead of the UK general election on Thursday, which has seen energy policy become a key focus.

The Conservatives have pledged to keep the government’s oil and gas profits windfall tax, introduced after the Ukraine war broke out in 2022, until 2029 unless prices return to normal for a sustained period.

Meanwhile, Labour has vowed to raise the levy to 78 per cent from 75 per cent and remove “unjustifiably generous investment allowances” used by companies to reduce their tax bills.

“If you take away investment allowances and you pile on windfall taxes, then it’s very easy to make things uneconomic,” Bucknall remarked.

He added that fiscal uncertainty in Britain had made it more difficult to forecast potential long-term returns from any acquisitions and that UK investment would be more focused on developing existing licences.

By CityAM 

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