HC Deb 16 February 1976 vol 905 cc467-8W
19. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the number of tons of coal in stock, distributed and undistributed, respectively, at the latest available date.

Mr. Eadie

Figures on fuel stocks are published monthly inEnergy Trends, available in the Library of the House. The latest available figures, which will be published in the February issue, relate to 24th January and are as follows, in million tons:

Distributed 18.8
Undistributed 10.9
Total 29.7

26. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the latest figures available for coal imports and exports; what estimates are available of future imports and exports; what steps he is taking to stimulate exports and reduce imports; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eadie

In 1975 imports of coal and other solid fuels were 5.2 million tons and exports 3.7 million tons. Imports this year are expected to fall to about 3½million tons but it is not possible to give precise estimates beyond that.

Exports are primarily a matter for the National Coal Board. It is actively seeking to expand existing markets and exploring new ones. In this it has my full support. But coal imports concern both the coal and electricity industries and this is one of the issues that can be explored at the joint industry-union discussion my right hon. Friend has arranged.

31. Mr. Palmer

asked the secretary of state of energy if he will make a statement on his conversations with the coal and electricity supply industries on the amount of coal to be burnt in power stations.

Mr. Eadie

As the house will know, the first of the coal/electricity discussions that my right hon. Friend has put in hand has now been arranged for 20th February.

Mr. Albert Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) whether his Department has any pilot plants in operation for the liquefaction of coal; if so, how many barrels of oil are produced from one ton of coal; and how many barrels are needed to make the process viable;

(2) in view of the increasing stocks of coal in the United Kingdom, if he will take steps to bring about the use of solvent-refined or otherwise processed coal in place of oil.

Mr. Eadie

The Department of Energy has no pilot plant, the National Coal Board has. Details of work being done by the NCB are given in the final report on the Coal Industry Examination. Coal liquefaction could not be implemented in time to have any effect on coal stocks.

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