HC Deb 29 April 1974 vol 872 c756
13. Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he intends to seek to alter the conditions of production and exploration licences granted under the Petroleum (Production) Act 1934 and subsequent Acts.

Mr. Varley

All aspects of policy are under review. The Government's proposals will be announced to the House as soon as they are ready.

Mr. Hannam

Will the right hon. Gentleman make the announcement as quickly as possible in view of the great uncertainty among oil companies, which affects their future investment programmes? In making any changes, will he take into account the high and sharp increase in the costs of exploration in the North Sea as well as the great risks involved?

Mr. Varley

We shall take all those factors into account when working out policy.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the remarks made in London last week by the managing director of the International Energy Bank, who made it clear that if the Government were to contemplate taking steps to create an artificial price for oil from the North Sea that would undermine the basis upon which finance has been and will be provided for investment in the North Sea, resulting in grave detriment to the investment programme?

Mr. Varley

We are working on a policy as hard as we can go. In due course our decision will be announced to the House. We will certainly be having consultations with the oil companies.