§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the Government's policy regarding the licensing of, and royalties from, oil and natural 304W gas from offshore Northern Ireland ; and what are the functions of Northern Irish Departments in this matter.
§ Mr. David Howell
The Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for licensing and royalty arrangements for the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in seaward areas outside Northern Ireland territorial waters. The Northern Ireland Ministry of Commerce is empowered to grant licences to search for and get oil and natural gas within Northern Ireland, including its territorial waters.
Steps are being taken to ensure that Northern Ireland industry and trade are fully informed of any opportunity which may arise from offshore oil activities.