HC Deb 06 February 1968 vol 758 cc203-4
33. Mr. Moyle

asked the Minister of Power what was the date of the last strike of natural gas in the North Sea.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Marsh)

The latest public announcement of a strike of natural gas there was made by Mobil Producing North Sea Ltd., on 23rd January.

Mr. Moyle

Would my right hon. Friend tell the exploration companies that if they get a reasonable price per therm for natural gas there should be no dragging of feet and that, if they are doing this out of pique at not getting the exhorbitant price which they are asking, this will not be tolerated?

Mr. Marsh

There is no evidence at present that the delay in settling the price of North Sea Gas is having any effect on exploration. It is encouraging that we have had and are still having discoveries in the North Sea.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to information which I have received, the total discoveries of gas in the North Sea are about 50 per cent. larger than the published estimates of 3,000 million cu. ft. a day over the next 30 years? In view of the effect which these large discoveries may have on the final negotiated price, would he see that all future strikes are announced to the public and given to the Committee which is considering this matter?

Mr. Marsh

No, the position is that all the companies submit their drilling logs in confidence to the Ministry. The fullest information is made available to the Ministry. There is a great element of doubt over some of the figures from time to time, and, indeed, there is a great deal of mythology about the whole exercise. But I am satisfied that we have enough information on the matter.

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