Norway's oil and gas tax revenue soars to record $89 bln

A view shows the Statoil-operated Snoehvit LNG plant on Melkoeya island
A view shows the Statoil-operated Snoehvit LNG plant on Melkoeya island against the background of Hammerfest April 21, 2013. REUTERS/Nerijus Adomaitis/File Photo

OSLO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Norway's estimated tax revenue from the oil and gas industry rose by 200% last year to a record 884 billion Norwegian crowns ($89.3 billion), almost three times the previous record, the Norwegian Tax Administration said on Thursday.

Government income in Norway, Europe's largest gas supplier and a major oil producer, has soared as energy prices have been driven higher by Russia's war on Ukraine.

"The main explanation is the very high price of gas," the tax administration's director general, Nina Schanke Funnemark, said in a statement.

European gas prices spiked to record highs above 340 euros per megawatt hour in August, a more than tenfold rise on levels over the past decade, after Russia cut off most of the gas it sends to Europe.

Energy companies have so far paid only 502 billion crowns of last year's tax bill, while 382 billion crowns remains to be paid in three instalments during the first six months of 2023.

Norway's previous annual tax record for the oil and gas industry was 295 billion crowns in 2021.

The tax authority had previously estimated that oil and gas taxes for 2022 would amount to 739 billion crowns, but new data from oil companies had led to an upward revision, it said.

In addition to tax payments, the government also earns income from dividends paid by state-owned Equinor (EQNR.OL) and from the earnings of Petoro, a state-run company holding stakes in many of Norway's largest oil and gas fields.

($1 = 9.8975 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Terje Solsvik Editing by David Goodman

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