HC Deb 29 November 1972 vol 847 c152W
Mr. Ted Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take action to ensure that British based companies, operating in the North Sea purchase their oil rigs and equipment from British firms.

Mr. Peter Walker

One of the criteria under which discretionary licence applications were judged in the last licensing round in 1971 was the extent of the contribution which the applicant had made or was planning to make to the economy of the United Kingdom including the strengthening of the balance of payments and the growth of industry and employment.

The oil companies have agreed to provide quarterly returns of their purchases so that the Government can assess the extent to which they are giving a full and fair opportunity to British companies to compete for orders.

Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many structures in the Scottish sector of the North Sea have still to be examined for oil-bearing potential.

Mr. Emery

Seismic evidence to date indicates the presence, in the northern part of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf in the North Sea, of some 100 structures which have not yet been tested by drilling.