Taxation and Investment in the Maturing UK Continental Shelf

  • Kemp, Alexander (Coordinator)
  • Linda Stephen (Participant)
  • Sola Kasim (Participant)


Description of impact

Research on North Sea oil tax, led by Professor Kemp at the University of Aberdeen (2005-2019), was instrumental in informing major reviews by the UK Treasury and underpinning key decisions made by both the Scottish and UK Governments regarding the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), including introduction of Transferable Tax History (TTH) to support late life field asset transactions. Furthermore, Kemp’s research underpinned acknowledgement by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) that the investment hurdles for the UKCS should take into account significant capital rationing and its impact on investment decisions in the UKCS.

Outcomes to Date / Future Developments

Research at the University of Aberdeen, led by Professor Kemp and colleagues Linda Stephen and Sola Kasim has provided valuable, impartial evidence to inform the long-standing debate on North Sea oil economic and taxation issues, which have impacted the growth, decline and diversity of the UKCS. From 2005-2014, key research published by Kemp, Kasim and Stephen highlighted the looming problem of maturity and the need to re-engineer the tax system to be more relevant for smaller fields with lower materiality and thus lower taxable capacity, affecting economic recovery, job security and investment. Their research highlighted the likelihood of falling future production, modest levels of exploration activity, limited numbers of new field developments and increasing numbers of undeveloped proven discoveries. The Scottish Government published “UK Continental Shelf Tax Regime – Options for Reform”. This referenced Professor Kemp’s major contribution to thinking on the subject and his influence continued through his appointment as a member of the Scottish Government’s independent Oil and Gas Expert Commission. Their report, published in 2014, was entitled “Maximising the Total Value Added (including the supply chain)”. This emphasis has been increasingly recognised by the Scottish Government and the OGA in recent years.
Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)
Impact date20052019


  • Economic