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MarketWatch: Shell, BP, Total may reportedly be hit by new South Africa tax

JOHANNESBURG (MarketWatch) — South Africa’s oil industry, including multinationals like Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA), BP PLC (BP), and Total SA (TOT), could be subject to a tax on windfall profits the government is considering, Business Day newspaper reported Friday.

The head of the government-appointed team studying the tax, Zavareh Rustomjee, said the whole industry would have to pay, not just local players like Sasol Ltd. (SOL.JO) and PetroSA, Business Day said.

In a preliminary report released Thursday, Rustomjee’s team said Sasol hasn’t repaid the government for support it received under the previous regime.

Sasol reported an operating profit of ZAR11 billion in the last half of 2005, a 70% jump on the previous semester. This profit prompted concerns that the company’s synthetic fuels business — a government-backed program related to apartheid-era sanctions — had not repaid the state’s investment.

The team studying the windfall tax is due to present its final report on September 15.
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