HC Deb 11 June 1984 vol 61 c636
27. Mr. Coombs

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many onshore oilfields are currently in production.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

There are 10 onshore oilfields in production.

Mr. Coombs

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. At this stage can he give any forecasts of growth, either in the number of fields or the level of production? Can he also assure my constituents who may travel in the north Wiltshire area that, in the likely event of explorations continuing in that area, those explorations will be subject to the most rigorous environmental control, so that they will be able to continue to enjoy the beautiful countryside surrounding Swindon?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

There is no doubt that there is considerable scope for the development of this resource, but I am concerned that we carry forward that development in a sensible way which takes proper account of the environmental interests as well. I am sensitive to those interests, which is why I hope that the review of onshore licensing arrangements which I recently announced, and which has been generally welcomed by the interests concerned, will help towards a better procedure and understanding of what is involved.

Mr. Rowlands

Will the right hon. Gentleman also make available to the House the details of the sale of Wytch farm—a major onshore oilfield—in which there seems to be an inbuilt disincentive to production in as much as the Dorset Bidding G roup would have to pay a large sum of money once it reached a certain level of production?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My right hon. Friend has already answered the hon. Gentleman's question.

Forward to