Challenges and opportunities at the International Petroleum Tax Conference

The 29th annual International Petroleum Tax Conference took place 30-31 October 2018 in Oslo. It was opened by State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Mr Jørgen Næsje and featured a keynote address by Mr Martin Rune Pedersen, the regional vice-president of Total. The guest of honour & speaker at the dinner was Mr Jean-François Dobelle, the ambassador of France to Norway.

Challenges and opportunities

Although new exploration is continuing, the North Sea is now in a mature phase of its lifecycle and this year’s conference addressed the challenges and opportunities that brings. Challenges include reduction of unit operating costs to maximise remaining production, and decommissioning existing structures in a way that both meets environmental standards and is cost effective from the standpoint of investors and governments.

The main opportunity lies in exploiting the first mover advantage that the maturity of the North Sea offers in terms of building expertise and experience in cost management and decommissioning that can be deployed in other basins around the world as and when they enter the same phase. Tax changes to reflect this new phase of the industry were reviewed together with oil & gas tax trends generally.

We assessed the implications of the US Tax Cuts & Jobs Act for inbound and outbound investors and considered the latest tax plans of the EU in response to BEPS and the rise of the digital economy. Following a discussion of open tax issues and cases in Norway, the conference concluded with a glimpse into the future of tax technology that was both exciting and disturbing.


Our thanks go to all those who presented at this year’s conference:

  • Stig Sollund, Director General, Ministry of Finance
  • Bjørnar Tonhaugen, Head of Oil Market Research, Rystad Energy
  • Graham Kellas, Senior Vice President Global Fiscal Research, Wood Mackenzie
  • Aleksandr Popovics, Senior Petroleum Economist Europe, Wood Mackenzie
  • Amund Noss, Partner, Kluge Law Firm
  • Stef van Weeghel, Global Tax Policy Leader, PwC
  • Bob Cardno, Director International Tax Services Energy, EY
  • Jim Robertson, Conference Committee
  • Tushar Kumar, Partner, Kerogen Capital Private Equity Firm
  • Guy Vanhoof, Senior Tax Counsel, ExxonMobil
  • Matthew Landy, Vice President Head of International Tax, Equinor
  • Heidi Golimo Simonsen, Director Tax Audit Department, Norwegian Oil Tax Office
  • Jan Jansen, Attorney, BAHR Law Firm
  • Joe Spadaro, Vice President Head of Sales Europe, Thomson Reuters-Tax & Accounting

And to our exhibitors:

  • Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE Tax Solutions
  • ADIT, the international tax qualification of the Chartered Institute of Taxation

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