HC Deb 10 December 1962 vol 669 cc4-5
6 and 7. Mr. Doughty

asked the Minister of Power, (1) whether he is aware of the possibility that oil and natural gas reserves exist under parts of the North Sea adjacent to British territorial waters; and, in view of the significance of this for the economy, what steps he is taking to expedite investigation of those reserves;

(2) whether he is aware that prospectors for oil or natural gas in the North Sea outside British territorial waters will be unwilling to risk the heavy expenditure involved unless their interests are protected, and that this requires legislation; and what action he is taking in the matter.

Mr. Wood

I attach great importance to the possibilities to which my hon. and learned Friend refers, but I cannot at present say when it will be possible to introduce the necessary legislation.

Mr Doughty

I thank my right hon. Friend for ageeing that this is a matter of the greatest importance. Is it not necessary that the House should ratify the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf and, since it would probably be non-controversial legislation, could it not be done at an early date so that this country could have the benefit of cheap natural gas?

Mr. Wood

I am sure that my hon. and learned Friend is right in saying that legislation will be necessary, and I take note of what he has said.

Forward to