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Lenders who provide financing of oil companies’ exploration activities on the Norwegian continental shelf pursuant to so called exploration financing facilities (EFFs) do so on the basis of a security assignment over the borrower’s claim against the Norwegian State for refund of the tax value (i.e 78%) of such exploration costs.
Despite of such security, it is clear that lenders are not only taking a risk on the Norwegian State, but are exposed to certain other key risks.
So far, the main risks have believed to be:
(i) the risk of the Norwegian State not approving all costs claimed to be eligible by the borrower for refund;
(ii) Norwegian State declaring setoff against the borrower's claims for refund against tax claims resulting from previous tax assessments being reversed; or
(iii) Norwegian State declaring setoff against the borrower's claims for refund against other liabilities to the Norwegian State.
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