§ Mr. Macfarlane
asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what investment has been provided by oil companies between 1965 and 1975 to produce crude oil from the North Sea;
(2) what estimates his Department has made for future investment in gas and oil exploration in the North Sea; and what proportion and amount of the investment will be borne by BNOC.
§ Mr. John Smith
Precise figures are not available on the investment provided by oil companies between 1965 and 1975 to produce crude oil from the North Sea, but it is estimated that the total production development expenditure during this period has been about £2 billion.
On the specific question of exploration investment, the Government will be giving an estimate of 1976 exploration drilling activity in this year's Brown Book. The level of activity and investment in later years, including investment by BNOC, will depend to a large extent on the volume of work to be carried out under future licences. As I have said previously, arrangements for the next round of licences will be announced when applications are invited.