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Monday, March 29, 2010

Oil Industry Tax Issues in the Fiscal Year 2011Budget Proposal

Robert Pirog
Specialist in Energy Economics

President Obama, in a speech on April 22, 2009 (Earth Day), addressed the linkage between the problems he associated with U.S. reliance on oil, especially imported oil, and the importance of a future based more on alternative energy sources. To move in the direction of accomplishing these goals, the Administration, in the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Proposal, proposes that certain tax expenditures designed to increase domestic production of oil and natural gas be revised, thus reducing what the Administration sees as favorable treatment of the oil and natural gas industries. 

The Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Proposal outlined a set of proposals, framed in terms of deficit reduction, or termination of tax preferences, that would potentially increase the taxes of the oil and natural gas industries, especially the independent producers. These proposals included repeal of the enhanced oil recovery and marginal well tax credits, repeal of the expensing of intangible drilling costs, repeal of the deduction for tertiary injectants, repeal of passive loss exceptions for working interests in oil and natural gas properties, elimination of the manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies, increase of the amortization periods for certain expenses, and repeal of the percentage depletion allowance for independent oil and natural gas producers. In addition, a variety of inspection fee increases and a per-acre fee on unused leases were proposed to generate revenue for the Department of the Interior (DOI). 

The Administration estimates that the tax changes would provide $18.2 billion in deficit reduction, or new revenues, over the period 2011 to 2015. The changes, if enacted, also would reduce the tax advantage enjoyed by independent oil and natural gas producers over the major integrated oil companies. On what would likely be a small scale, the proposals also would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers, likely achieving the intended effect of reducing consumption of those fuels.

Date of Report: March 24, 2010
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: R41139
Price: $29.95

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