It comes after smaller companies such as Valiant Petroleum warned that they are re-evaluating new projects, since the Chancellor increased tax by 12 percentage points to more than 62pc.
Statoil, the Norwegian state-controlled company, said on Tuesday it will “pause and reflect” on the future of its Mariner and Bressay fields to the south east of Shetland.
There have also been reports that oil majors have withdrawn plans to sell billions of pounds in North Sea fields nearing the end of their lives, leading to fears they will be abandoned with oil still in the ground.
Whether this will actually lead to a decline in tax revenues overall is moot at this point: it certainly won’t lead to a reduction in short term revenues. But it will definitely lead to a reduction in the amount of oil pumped up over the decades and so is quite likely to lead to a reduction in the long term tax take.
And do note that no one is trying to dodge a tax, no one is trying to pass it on. It’s simply that the imposition of a tax has made previously viable activity now non-viable. We’re, in that long term, poorer because of the tax.