HC Deb 17 May 1976 vol 911 cc322-3W
Mr. Loveridge

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proportion and what tonnage of oil supplies for the United Kingdom is routed round the Cape of Good Hope; by how much the figures have changed in the past five years; and by how much it is anticipated that they will alter in the next five years, and the following five years.

Mr. Benn

In 1975 crude oil imports to the United Kingdom shipped direct from the Gulf, and therefore almost entirely routed round the Cape of Good Hope, were just under 63 million tons or 72 per cent. of total crude oil imports. In 1970 the figures were respectively 58 million tons and 57 per cent. In addition 7 million tons in 1975 and a little over 4 million tons in 1974 arrived in the United Kingdom after transhipment en route, almost entirely in the Netherlands and Ireland. Most of this oil also originated in the Gulf, but a detailed analysis would take an inordinate amount of official effort.

The availability of North Sea oil will cause a marked reduction in the amount of crude oil imported into the United Kingdom. It is not possible to make firm estimates of the proportion of these imports which will arrive via the Cape five or 10 years hence as this will depend on a complex inter-relation of the United Kingdom demand and production of oil and factors affecting the various possible sources of imported oil and transport routes from them.