§ 12. Mr. Anthony Grant
The position is briefly as follows :
Monitoring oil companies purchasesThe offshore operators provide quarterly returns of purchases and expected purchases.CreditThe offshore supplies interest relief grant scheme was announced on 6th November. This will provide grants at a fixed rate (initially 3 per cent.) on borrowing undertaken to finance contracts for the provision of United Kingdom goods or services to fixed offshore installations on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf.Government insurance of venture investmentsThis is possible for suitable projects under the Industry Act.British offshore drilling capabilityA number of British firms have entered the market ; others are interested.Record of operator in placing orders in United kingdom should be taken account of in award of licencesThe quarterly returns of purchases mentioned above are analysed for this purpose and a review of licensing policy is in progress.Leasing of contractors' equipment by GovernmentIt is preferable for firms to be directly involved in acquiring equipment. Discussions are under way with firms exploring possibility of projects involving a number of types of equipment in this category (e.g., heavy lift cranes).Partnerships with overseas contractorsThese are being formed. We are anxious that foreign investment should result in a 249W competitive lasting and world wide British capability in the provision of offshore supplies and equipment.Trading and educationThe Government has recently welcomed the report on education and training for offshore development prepared by an interdepartmental working party. The Departments concerned are now following up the report's recommendations in consultation with industry training boards and the industry.Information ServiceArrangements are proceeding aimed at the publication by spring 1974 of a directory of British suppliers. The Department is looking into the need for anything further.Research and developmentVarious projects are under way. The Ship and Marine Technology Requirements Board is studying the whole picture and the NEL has set up "offset" to carry out research and development under contract.InfrastructureEconomic planning boards keep infrastructure requirements under continuous review. In Scotland infrastructure requirements are also kept under review by the task force of senior officials and by the Oil Development Council.Further studiesSome have been completed (e.g., IMEG on heavy lift floating cranes ; Crouch and Hogg on deep water coastal sites in Scotland for the construction of concrete platforms). We have put in hand a study of the market for drilling rig contractors and constructors and are considering a report on sub-sea pipeline laying techniques.