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Britain to offer North Sea tax relief to spur investment

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Britain will introduce next year tax changes to oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday, in an effort to spur new investment.

Presenting Britain's budget for next year, Hammond said that starting November 2018, tax history for oil and gas fields in the North Sea will be transferable from seller to buyer.

This will allow buyers to benefit from larger tax relief when fields reach the end of their life and require dismantling, known as decommissioning.

Britain's Oil and Gas Authority forecasts that North Sea oil and gas operators will spend almost 60 billion pounds ($78 billion) on decommissioning between now and the 2050s. The government relief covers around 40 percent of the total costs.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso, editing by Louise Heavens)