BP HAS paid tax on its operations in the North Sea for the first time in at least six years, according to a company report.

The energy giant paid a total of $127.3 million to the UK HM Revenue and Customs, Crown Estate and Oil and Gas Authority for 2021, whereas for 2020, the company received a tax refund of $42 million.

However, these figures – which are drawn from the Reports on Payments to Government regulations, which require oil, gas and mining companies incorporated in the UK to annual disclose what payments they have made to countries relative to extractive industries – only cover BP’s North Sea operations.

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BP, like many oil and gas producers in the UK, receives rebates for dismantling oil platforms, and often does not pay tax due to losses connected to investments in North Sea fields.

In consequence of this, recent years have often seen these companies receiving more money from the Government than vice-versa.

Due to the UK’s low oil tax rates, a 2021 analysis by Rystad Energy concluded that the UK is now the profitable country in the world for oil and gas “mega-projects.”

Last year, controversy grew over BP and Shell collectively paying no corporation tax or production levies on North Sea oil operations between 2018 and 2020, while at the same time claiming tax reliefs of almost £400 million, with Greenpeace UK campaigner Philip Evans arguing: “We’re giving tax breaks worth billions of pounds to companies that have been fuelling the climate emergency for decades.”

The news follows last month’s announcement of a windfall tax on oil and gas firms making huge profits during the ongoing energy crisis, which has faced resistance from several major energy companies.