CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak will be in Aberdeen today meeting with oil and gas company chiefs for the first time since the introduction of the £5 billion windfall tax.

The Energy Profits Levy was announced last month as part of a £15bn package of support for households struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Sunak defended the charge at the time saying it was a tax on the sector’s “extraordinary profits” due to the “surging global commodity prices driven in part by Russia’s war.”

A number of executives have been critical of the measure. They had expected any windfall tax to be a one-off, but the Chancellor’s levy will remain in place until the end of 2025, unless there’s a sharp fall in oil prices.

Earlier this week, Harbour Energy’s chief executive Linda Cook wrote to the Chancellor warning that the charge would disproportionately impact independent companies.

She told Mr Sunak: “The four largest independent UK producers, including Harbour, are forecast to deliver over 440,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day this year. 

“We should all be concerned about the disproportionate impact the [levy] – as currently proposed – has on these smaller companies.”

Ms Cook  – who, according to reports, will be one of the executives meeting the Chancellor today – predicted the tax will cost the largest independent producers over £2.5bn by 2025.

As well as meeting bosses, the Chancellor will also host a Treasury Connect event, in which he will answer questions from people who work in the industry.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Sunak said: “Following Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, we see the importance of the UK’s energy supply and security now more than ever.

"The North Sea will be the foundation of the UK’s energy supply in the decades to come as we transition to cleaner ways to fuel our country.

“It’s vital we encourage continued investment by the oil and gas industry in the North Sea and our new investment allowance provides huge tax reliefs for projects that cut emissions.

“I look forward to hearing about the projects Scottish industry have planned as they continue to lead the charge to Net Zero with new innovations and investment.”

Stephen Flynn of the SNP said the industry needed more investment from the Treasury, especially as it moved towards decarbonisation.

“Rishi Sunak is visiting a city that has bankrolled his government to the tune of nearly £400bn over the years, but he has failed to deliver tangible support following the 2020 downturn and he has stalled on support for our just transition.”

The SNP MP for Aberdeen South added: “For too long Westminster has syphoned off profits from Scotland’s resources while failing to invest in our energy sector and Net Zero future – the reality is, Scotland has the energy, it just needs the power.”