UK taxpayers to foot £24bn bill for oil field closures in North Sea

British taxpayers might be forced to burden a £24 billion bill if the UK government decides to decommission its oil and gas fields in the North Sea, according to a new report.

The new estimate, put forth by the energy research group Wood Mackenzie on Sunday, exceeds the UK Treasury Department’s £16 billion forecast by 50 percent, according to the Financial Times.

The group warned that plugging wells and dismantling platforms and pipelines at the fields in question would require the companies to spend £53 billion while half of the amount is claimed back through tax relief.

According to a British law, which is aimed at encouraging investments in the North Sea projects, decommissioning costs will be subsidized by the government using tax money.

To put it simply, while oil companies are required to foot the decommissioning bill, the British taxpayers will bear the brunt of the costs.

The decommissioning process for the current gas and oil fields is…

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