HL Deb 25 February 1982 vol 427 c1009
Lord Gridley

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions approval was granted in 1981 to develop oilfields in the British sector of the North Sea.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Mansfield)

My Lords, no approvals were granted in 1981.

Lord Gridley

My Lords, has my noble friend seen the report in the Financial Times of 23rd December 1981 wherein it was stated that because of uncertainties operators who had discovered oilfields in the North Sea were delaying their decisions to develop? If that is so, and if it applies, would this not lead to an unfortunate decline in the production of oil in the 1990s?

The Earl of Mansfield

My Lords, I have had my attention drawn to the article in question. I do not think that what my noble friend is saying is the case. The Government are conscious of the need to preserve the attractiveness of the North Sea as an area for new investment. They arc examining, as part of the review of the taxation régime, the evidence which the industry has put forward in support of its contention that the régime is inhibiting development. The matter of depletion policy is also being reviewed and an announcement will be made in due course.

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