HC Deb 03 December 1973 vol 865 cc902-3
16. Mr. Strang

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will commission a study into how the requirements of the oil companies for offshore drilling and production platforms can best be met in the national interest.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Anthony Grant)

The requirements of these platforms will vary according to the conditions at the sites where oil or gas is found. My Department keeps in touch with the operators and construction companies so that any constraints on platform production can be examined urgently, and specific studies are commissioned when particular problems are identified.

Mr. Strang

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many people in Scotland very much resent the fact that we seem to be presented with the choice of building concrete platforms for deep waters at Drambuie or not building any in Scotland? Is the Minister aware that instead of submitting a memorandum to the public inquiry, largely outlining the obvious economic advantages of building these platforms in this country, his Department should carry out a thorough examination into the various designs of concrete platform so that we can come to a rational decision on where it would be best to build them?

Mr. Grant

The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to comment on a quasi-judicial inquiry that is going on. We are commissioning a wider-ranging exercise covering the United Kingdom as a whole for sites, and, in addition, internally, the new venture managers, brought in by the offshore supplies office, are urgently studying alternative platform designs, among other things.

Mr. Lawson

The Minister will be aware that the British Steel Corporation has issued a design for a platform of steel and concrete which, it says, can be built in different parts of the country and assembled perhaps on the Clyde or the Forth. Will the Minister make sure that this scheme of things is given the closest and most sympathetic attention?

Mr. Grant

I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and I give him that assurance.

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