HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 c320W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how much money the Government or any of their agencies or corporations have provided for exploration and/or development of oil and natural gas in the North Sea;

(2) if he will indicate the source of past and current funds for the exploration and development of North Sea oil and gas resources, giving the percentage contribution (a) of private capital and (b) United Kingdom Government and State corporations.

Mr. Benn

Total expenditure on North Sea exploration and development to the end of 1975 is estimated at £3,600 million. Expenditure in this period by NCB (Exploration) Ltd. and by Gas Council (Exploration) Ltd., subsidiaries of the National Coal Board and the British Gas Corporation respectively, was £211 million, about 6 per cent. of the total. The remaining 94 per cent. was contributed by private sector bodies. It is estimated that total cumulative expenditure will have risen to about £5,500 million by the end of 1976. No estimate of the contribution that will be made to this year's expenditure by public and private sector bodies respectively is at present available.