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British offshore energy firms to invest record £13 bln: data

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Britain's offshore oil and gas sector will invest a record £13 billion ($19.6 billion, 14.8 billion euros) in 2013, boosted by the impact of taxation changes in the previous year, an industry survey showed Monday.

Overall investment is expected to surge by 14 percent this year, compared with £11.4 billion in 2012, industry body Oil & Gas UK said in a statement detailing its latest activity survey. Last year's figure had already been a 30-year high.

"Here is some really good news for the UK," said Oil & Gas UK chief executive Malcolm Webb.

"After two disappointing years brought about by tax uncertainty and consequent low investment, the UK continental shelf (UKCS) is now benefitting from record investment in new developments and in existing assets and infrastructure, the strongest for more than three decades."

He added that last year's changes in the taxation regime, which were aimed at promoting the development of a range of difficult energy projects, had prompted many companies to reassess their plans and sparked a new wave of investment.

Oil & Gas UK, which represents more than 300 firms, added that output was forecast to surge over the next three to four years thanks to the recent surge in investment.

Production was expected to jump to approximately 2.0 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2017, it said, adding that there would be "significant benefits for the UK economy".

"By way of example, the projects approved in 2011 and 2012 alone will over time ... generate £100 billion value for the economy and an additional £25 billion in production taxes for the Exchequer," it added.

However, the industry body noted that production sank to 1.55 million boepd in 2012. That was 14 percent lower than 2011 and 30 percent lower than 2010.

And output was forecast to decline in the current year to between 1.45-1.5 million boepd.

"Recent collaborative work between government and industry is now bearing fruit in terms of investment and job creation right across Britain and recovery in production and tax revenues will certainly follow," added Webb in the statement.

"We look forward to the continuation of this collaboration between industry and government, against the backdrop of each of the UK and Scottish governments' long-term industrial strategies for this sector which will further boost the supply chain's capacity to create employment and foster innovation.

"The continuing evolution of the fiscal and regulatory regime will also enable Britain to make the most of this valuable national asset, the products of which are essential to our daily lives and can underpin our prosperity for many decades yet to come."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130225/british-offshore-energy-firms-invest-record-13-bln-data