OSLO Jan 27 Norway's government will review a
recent oil tax hike and consider changing it if necessary, Oil
Minister Tord Lien told business daily Dagens Naeringsliv on
The government has started a discussion with the oil
industry, various agencies involved in the sector and the
finance ministry to discuss the hike, which has led to the
suspension or delay of several major projects.
"It is normal for any industry to be unhappy with a new tax
and that's why we go thoroughly into the arguments," said Lien,
whose centre-right coalition government took office last
October, just months after the outgoing Labour-led government
introduced the tax. "It should have been done before the hike."
"We have now started the job the former government should
have done and we won't conclude until we hear what they have to
say," he said.
State-controlled Statoil suspended its $15.5
billion Johan Castberg project in the Arctic Barents Sea last
year, arguing the tax hike pushed costs too high, while several
smaller projects have also been shelved.
Last year the government estimated the tax hike would raise
3 billion Norwegian crowns ($488 million) a year through 2050 by
lowering how much companies can write down from their capital
($1 = 6.1476 Norwegian krones)
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Mark Potter)