§ 13. Mr. Ian Lloyd
asked the Minister of Power how many firm contracts have been placed by the Gas Council for pipelines to convey natural gas from the North Sea to the national grid; and what is in each case the length of the pipeline, the diameter and the date on which contracts are expected to be completed.
§ 14. Mr. Nott
asked the Minister of Power what quantity of steel piping was used in the existing trunk pipeline distributing Algerian natural gas running from London to Leeds and elsewhere; how much of this piping was provided by the British steel industry; and how much piping will be required to join the British Petroleum off-shore gas strike near the Humber to the existing trunk pipeline.
§ Dr. Bray
About 330 miles for the Algerian gas pipeline, all of whom was provided by the British steel industry. About 90 miles of 24 in. pipe will be required to make the connection to this line from the landing point where the gas from the B.P. find will be delivered to the Gas Council. Of the 90 miles, 28 will have to be imported. The contractual arrangements for these supplies are matters for the Gas Council.
§ Mr. R. W. Elliott
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, following the statement which was reported in The Times of 25th May that Ministers were unhappy because they felt that the British steel industry would be unable to supply sufficient piping, the two principal steel firms were extremely irritated in that they felt that the capacity required would be well within their reach?
§ 27. Sir C. Osborne
asked the Minister of Power what representations he has received that British industry is unable to make the pipes required to bring the North Sea gas to the mainland; and if he will make a statement.
§ 28. Mr. Patrick Jenkin
asked the Minister of Power what estimate he has given to the British steel industry of the amount of pipeline that will be required to pipe the current sources of off-shore 266 gas strikes to consumers in the years 1967–68, and 1969–70, respectively.
§ 37. Mr. R. W. Elliott
asked the Minister of Power if he is satisfied that an adequate supply of steel piping will be available to cope with the supply of natural gas from the North Sea; and if he will make a statement.
§ 51. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Power what has been the result of his discussions about the supply of steel tubes to convey natural gas from the North Sea.
§ Sir C. Osborne
May I put it this way, that we are aware that—[HON. MEMBERS: "Question."] Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that very few hon. Members behind him have any idea of what he said on that occasion? If British industry can produce these required pipes, is it not scandalous that the Press should be making statements to the contrary and denigrating what our people can do?
§ Mr. Jenkin
Was the right hon. Gentleman then himself responsible for the leak to The Times for that paper's article of 25th May, which said that Ministers were deeply shocked by the large quantities which would have to be imported? Is he aware that that had to be denied the following day?
§ Mr. Peyton
Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that what he said on 16th of June and what he has just said conflicts very sharply with that leak which was put out from the Ministry of Power alleging a complete incapacity on the part of the steel industry, and that he is now being very much more restrained and cautious? However, will he be careful in future before he makes allegations which are highly damaging to an industry against which, I agree, he has the most improper motives?
§ Mr. Marsh
No leaks were put out by the Ministry of Power—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I will repeat that. I am not sure what hon. Gentlemen are trying to say. If it is argued that this side of the House and Ministers are satisfied with the British steel industry and that it will be able to meet all the requirement on a large scale for large size steel pipe, I am sure that there are considerable doubts on this side of the House as to whether that is so.
§ Mr. Barber
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he cannot ride off so easily on a matter of this kind? Will he answer this simple question? Is he aware that the political correspondent of The Times repeated that a Minister of Her Majesty's Government had said that the inability of the steel industry to provide pipes showed that the case for the' nationalisation of steel was unanswerable? Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that that reference was completely untrue? If the right hon. Gentleman says that he was not responsible for the leak, will he make inquiries to find out which of his right hon. Friends was responsible?
§ Mr. Bessell
Would the right hon. Gentleman state the diameter of the proposed B.P. pipe and whether it will be possible to manufacture pipe of the required diameter by the British steel industry?