Britain's new oil and gas tax break: too little, too late?

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Britain's $24 billion tax break for oil and gas exploration is a long-term 

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Bet that may do little to ease the pain of an industry in crisis, with projects unlikely to come onstream for years and the government still demanding big spending cuts.

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The tax relief, announced by Finance Minister George Osborne on Wednesday.

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It is the latest salvo in a fight by Prime Minister David Cameron to persuade Scots to stay in the United Kingdom and keep its North Sea oil and gas wealth.

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But it may do little to stem the flow of job losses and investment cuts in the short term as companies grapple with a halving of crude prices 

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Since June 2014 and a tax regime that already heavily favours oil and gas exploration.

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"This is not going to be a game changer for the industry in the current low price environment," said Richard Hextall, head of upstream taxation at PwC. 

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"It may make some marginal projects viable but it won't change the investment decision on its own."

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The new tax regime, which will come into effect in January, will cut the headline tax rate on North Sea oil and gas profits to 40 percent from 62 percent.

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