§ Mr. Frank R. White
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consents he has issued to holders of petroleum production licences on account of the new terms inserted in their licences on 1st January as a result of the coming into force on that day of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act.
§ Mr. John Smith
From 1st January development or production can take place only with my right hon. Friend's consent, or in accordance with a programme approved under the new licence terms. My right hon. Friend has issued consents to all offshore licensees with fields under production or development to run for six months from 1st January. These will enable production and development to continue while we discuss with the licensees permanent arrangements under the new terms for providing adequate national control.
Also from 1st January, flaring of gas, can, except in emergency, take place only with the consent of my right hon. Friend. Consents have been issued for flaring from the Auk and Argyll Fields. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the quantities of gas to be produced from these fields are too small for delivery ashore to be practical. Consent has also been issued for the flaring of the small excess of gas, above the quantity which can be safely transported in the oil pipeline, from the Forties Field, but the consent is limited to two years from 1st January in case circumstances change.