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New UK Prime Minister Opposes Windfall Tax On Energy Companies

During question time in Parliament today, the UK's new Prime Minister Liz Truss said she was against the windfall tax on oil and gas companies operating in the UK, reiterating her commitment to focus on developing domestic energy resources.

"I am against a windfall tax. I believe it is the wrong thing to be putting companies off investing in the United Kingdom," the prime minister said, as carried by Reuters.

Following months of rumors and indecision, the UK government announced at the end of May a 25% Energy Profits Levy, commonly referred to as a "windfall tax", as part of a package to ease the cost-of-living crisis stemming from huge rises in household energy bills. 

The move, which was implemented with immediate effect, has long been opposed by the industry, which argued that a windfall tax would add uncertainty to the UK tax regime and hit new investments in the UK North Sea at a time when the UK grapples with reducing reliance on foreign imports of oil and gas. 

The UK's new Prime Minister Liz Truss also said on Wednesday that her government would bet more on domestic energy resources, including more extraction of oil and gas from the UK North Sea. 

"I want to see us use more of our energy supply, including more oil and gas from the North Sea and nuclear power," Truss said during her first Prime Minister's Questions session in Parliament a day after Queen Elizabeth II formally appointed her to lead the new UK cabinet. 

During her campaign for Conservative leadership for the next British prime minister, Truss was said to be readying plans to issue as many as 130 new licenses for drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea. 

Related: OPEC+ Cuts Production Despite Resistance From Russia

Responding to the report in The Times at the end of August, the UK's leading offshore industry body, OEUK, said  that "the UK and Europe must now think carefully about prioritising reliable and responsible energy producers to deliver cleaner, secure energy." 

Truss is also expected to announce this week her program for tackling the energy and cost-of-living crises in the UK. Reports have it that the new PM is considering plans to spend $150 billion (£130 billion) over the next year and a half to freeze household energy bills at their current levels. As the energy and cost-of-living crisis in the UK deepens, the incoming Truss government is looking to avoid an 80% planned surge in the so-called price cap on household energy bills set to kick in in October.

By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com 

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