Chris Huhne may not have been aware of plans to increase tax on the oil and gas industry before the Budget was announced.
Members of the industry raised the possibility at the inquiry into the impact of the tax rise for the North Sea oil and gas sector at Westminster.
When challenged by the Select Committee, the Energy Secretary would not divulge if he had prior knowledge of the tax rise, saying: “We don’t comment on consultations.”
He added that the Chancellor’s Budget was the “right pro-growth decision”.
Under plans in the Budget, some field tax rates will be set at 81%, which some in the industry have claimed damages confidence. British Gas owner Centrica has said it may not reopen one of three gas fields in Morecambe Bay, that are currently closed for maintenance, because of the rise.