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ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell paid no tax in Australia for 2016

Reuters  |  MELBOURNE 

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp paid no in in the 2016 financial year, the third year in a row, despite reporting billions of dollars in from operations in the country, a report from the office showed on Thursday.

Exxon Mobil, which has oil and gas production in the Bass Strait and a stake in the giant Gorgon LNG project among other assets in Australia, reported A$6.7 billion ($5.0 billion) in income, but it reported a loss for taxable and paid no tax, similar to the previous two years.

Exxon said it had no taxable as it has invested nearly A$18 billion over the past few years on major projects including Gorgon and the Kipper Tuna Turrum field.

"As these multi-billion investments were completed in 2017 and have started production, the amount of paid by ExxonMobil is anticipated to increase significantly," said Travis Parnaby, a spokesman for the oil major.

Chevron reported A$2.1 billion in for 2016 and paid no tax, while Shell Energy Holdings - a unit of Royal Dutch Shell - reported A$4.2 billion in and A$97 million in taxable income, but paid no

Chevron, operator of the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects, said it expects to pay significant taxes once those projects are running at full tilt. Shell is also a partner in Gorgon LNG.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) started requiring big companies to disclose their payments two years ago in a push to curb alleged avoidance.

Top global miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and the oil and gas giants have all been accused of shifting to countries like the Netherlands and Singapore where rates are lower.

A probe by the Australian Senate into corporate avoidance that began in 2014 was extended this week, and is now due to issue a final report by the end of May 2018.

In New Zealand, the new Labour government on Thursday proposed legislation to prevent multinationals from shifting profits out of the country. Its office estimated the measures could raise about NZ$200 million ($137 million) a year.

"Multinational companies are a welcome part of our economy but they must abide by the rules. They must pay their fair share of tax," New Zealand Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement.

Australia's and New Zealand's company rates are 30 percent and 28 percent respectively. The Netherlands has a 25 percent rate.

BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie defended the company's payments this week, after Australian Commissioner Chris Jordan was quoted in The Australian newspaper saying the ATO might take BHP and Rio Tinto to court to resolve questions about marketing hubs in Singapore, where the miners pay minimal

Mackenzie said the fight with the office related to about 1 or 2 percent of BHP's total payable in

"We pay our fair share," Mackenzie told the Melbourne Mining Club on Tuesday.

The office won a landmark case against Chevron earlier this year over a disputed A$340 million bill stemming from an intercompany loan with an exorbitantly high interest rate.

"On the back of solid growth in company profits and higher commodity prices, we are seeing a strong increase in company collections in 2016-17 which will be reflected in the data next year," Australia's Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said in a statement released with the data.

($1 = 1.3291 Australian dollars)

($1 = 1.4624 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Tom Hogue)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 07 2017. 16:43 IST