HC Deb 23 March 1967 vol 743 cc1906-7
40. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the petro-chemical complex proposed by the Highland Development Board in the Invergordon area will be eligible for grants or loans; what agencies are conducting studies and negotiations related to it; whether it is connected with Invergordon Chemical Enterprises Limited; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie) on 3rd March that no firm proposal has yet been put to the Government. I am not therefore able to say whether any particular proposal that may yet come forward would qualify for assistance.

Feasibility and market studies are meantime being carried out by the American interests concerned (Occidental Petroleum Corporation), and the Highlands and Islands Development Board has commissioned the Holmes Planning Group to undertake an urgent examination of the planning problems which would be involved if the proposal were to go forward. The Board and Ross and Cromarty County Council has also set up a joint working party to consider matters of common interest. Studies into other aspects of the project are being carried out for the Board by Messrs. Merz and McLellan and by the British Transport Docks Board.

I understand that Invergordon Chemical Enterprises Limited is a party to an agreement with the Occidental Petroleum Corporation relating to the proposal.—[Vol. 742, c. 174–5.]

Mr. Campbell

That was rather a long reply. Will the Minister state definitely whether he is aware of any agreement between the British company named and the American company, Occidental, which is in consultation with the Highlands and Islands Development Board on this matter?

Mr. Ross

If the hon. Gentleman reads my reply, he will see that I tried to meet the points in the Question, and that that Question is answered there.

Mr. Rankin

It has been widely stated in the Press that my right hon. Friend will make a statement on the matter today. Was his reply just now his statement, or can I wait on the statement which I assume will come after Questions?

Mr. Ross

I have undertaken to make a statement, and I shall do so after Questions.

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