chapter  5
23 Pages

British Policy and ‘Marginal’ Fields: The Case of Oil

WithJerome D. Davis

It is perhaps significant that ‘marginal’ fields became an issue in the British political arena with the introduction of the Oil Tax Bill in the British House of Commons in November 1974. UKOOA (the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association), the inter-industry group most concerned with offshore exploration and development policy, did not react at first. The bill was instead considered by the United Kingdom, Oil Industry Taxation Committee, an inter-industry group specially designed to analyse British taxation measures. This group, largely consisting of lawyers, studied the matter for a considerable period, finally reporting what the proposed bill would do to the oil companies’ exploration and producing activities. ‘When I found out what the proposals meant’, declared one senior oil economist working with a large American Independent, ‘I went to the director and explained it to him. His reaction was “we can’t do business in this country under these conditions”.’ 1 This was the beginning of long and complicated negotiations.