HL Deb 19 July 1983 vol 443 c1039

2.50 p.m.

Lord Orr-Ewing

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied with the level of oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy (The Earl of Avon)

My Lords, the Government are well satisfied with the levels of oil and gas exploration currently taking place in the North Sea. I am pleased to say that the high level of activity seen in 1982 is being maintained.

Lord Orr-Ewing

My Lords, can my noble friend say whether the new tax régime is having a healthy effect, so that there are more wells being explored and more wells being developed, in both oil and gas, as a result of the new régime?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, all the signs are encouraging. If I may say so, at the moment the number of wells being drilled in the first half of this year is 63, which bodes well, should that figure double, to beat the record of 116 drilled in 1975.