At Budget 2013, the government announced it would begin signing decommissioning relief deeds. These deeds represented a new contractual approach to provide oil and gas companies with certainty on the level of tax relief they will receive on future decommissioning costs.
Since October 2013, the government has entered into 92 decommissioning relief deeds.
Oil & Gas UK estimates that these deeds have so far unlocked approximately £6bn of capital, which can now be invested elsewhere.
The government committed to report to Parliament every year on progress with the decommissioning relief deeds. The report for financial year 2017-18 is provided below.
- Number of decommissioning relief agreements entered into: the government entered into 4 decommissioning relief agreements in 2017-18.
- Total number of decommissioning relief agreements in force at the end of that year: 87 decommissioning relief agreements were in force at the end of the year.
- Number of payments made under any decommissioning relief agreements during that year, and the amount of each payment: two payments were made under a decommissioning relief agreement in 2017-18, one for £41.8m and another for £3.6m. These were made in relation to the provision recognised by HM Treasury in 2015, as a result of a company defaulting on its decommissioning obligations.
- Total number of payments that have been made under any decommissioning relief agreements as at the end of that year, and the total amount of those payments: three payments have been made under any decommissioning relief agreement as at the end of the 2017-18 financial year, totalling £50.8m.
- Estimate of the maximum amount liable to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements: the government has not made any changes to the tax regime that would generate a liability to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements. HM Treasury’s 2018-19 accounts will recognise a provision of £357.1m in respect of decommissioning expenditure incurred as a result of a company defaulting on their decommissioning obligations. The majority of this is expected to be realised over the next five years.
 This figure was later revised down by £11.8m, with the amount having been fully recovered, together with interest, in the 2018-19 financial year.
 This figure takes into account payments made subsequent to the financial year covered by this Written Ministerial Statement.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords