§ Mr. Dempsey
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on progress in implementing the agreement on an international energy programme.
§ Mr. Benn
A sufficient number of signatory States having notified their consent to be bound by the agreement, the agreement entered into force on 19th January 1976 for those States, including the United Kingdom, which have notified their consent to be bound. Good progress has been made in implementing the agreement. Arrangements for sharing oil in the event of an interruption of supplies have been agreed in detail and are ready to go into operation at short notice should they be required.
Agreement has also recently been reached on a programme of long-term co-operation in the fields of energy conservation, research and development and the accelerated development of energy production. This programme includes a provision that member States of the International Energy Agency will ensure that imported oil is not sold in their domestic markets below a "minimum safeguard price" corresponding to US $7 a barrel fob.