LONDON — Britain will not reduce North Sea oil production to boost prices despite a near-halving of oil-tax revenues, the Conservative government said today in presenting the annual budget to Parliament.
The announcement amounted to a rejection of appeals by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cooperate in reducing output to drive the price of oil higher.
OPEC is meeting in Geneva to devise a strategy aimed at dealing with the sagging oil market, in which the cost of oil has dropped 50% to about $15 in the past five months. Britain is not an OPEC member.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson told the House of Commons that there will be a 7-billion-pound deficit, equivalent to $10.22 billion, in the previously announced budget for the fiscal year starting in April of 139.1 billion pounds, equivalent to $203 billion.