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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Written Statement of 21 March 2019 on Decommissioning Relief Deeds, HCWS1435, what the name is of the oil company that defaulted on its decommissioning obligations causing the Government to make two payments totaling £45.4 million in 2017-18; what the circumstances were of that default; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the evidential basis for calculating the provision of £357.1 million for future defaults.
HM Treasury’s 2018-19 accounts recognise a provision of £357m payable to MCX Dunlin and MCX Osprey in respect of decommissioning expenditure in relation to the Dunlin cluster of fields, created as a result of Fairfield Energy defaulting on their decommissioning obligations. The decision to decommission the Dunlin cluster was a commercial decision made by Fairfield Energy, MCX Dunlin and MCX Osprey after reaching agreement with the Oil and Gas Authority that maximised economic recovery had been achieved for these assets.
The provision is based on the tax relief due on the estimated remaining costs of decommissioning the defaulted fields, discounted for the time value of money.