Harbour Energy warns of job cuts because of rise in windfall tax

The UK’s biggest independent oil and gas company has told staff that it is planning to cut jobs, sources said, as the business confirmed it was reviewing its organisation in the country.

Harbour Energy, which employs about 1,500 in the UK, said that it was reassessing its activity levels in the country after the hiking of the windfall tax late last year.

The business said that the changes meant that it must scale back investment in oil and gas exploration among other things.

The business is also understood to have told staff that redundancies might come – but a spokesperson would not provide any numbers.

“Following changes to the EPL (Energy Profits Levy), we have had to reassess our future activity levels in the UK,” the company told the PA news agency.

“We will continue to support investment on the many attractive opportunities within our existing portfolio, but we are scaling back investment in other areas such as new exploration licensing.

“As such, we have initiated a review of our UK organisation to align with lower future activity levels.”

Harbour is the biggest independent oil and gas producer in the UK North Sea and is largely based in the country.

It has some operations abroad as well.

Recently, the business said that it would not bid for new licences in the North Sea in the ongoing licensing round due to the windfall tax.

The business told trade publication Energy Voice in December that it would not take part in the round.

In November, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt slapped another 10% on the tax that oil and gas producers have to pay on their windfall profits, taking it to 75%.

The companies can offset most of this extra tax if they invest enough in the UK.