§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what staff would be required by his Department effectively to administer and monitor all the requirement set out in the model clauses contained in Schedule IV to the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975; and how many staff have been engaged to date in this task;
(2) whether model clauses 15 to 17 contained in Schedule IV to the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975 and incorporated into licences are being adequately administered and monitored 260W in the light of the shortage of staff in his Department; and whether development and production programmes are being provisionally accepted in view of the amount of data being supplied by offshore licensees.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon
We are satisfied that our Department is adequately staffed to deal with the regulatory and technical aspects of offshore exploration and development as required and permitted under the model clauses set out in the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975. In recruiting petroleum engineers we are, of course, competing with the oil industry for scarce expertise. As in all Departments, priorities have to be established, in this case so that work essential to the continuing exploration for and development of our offshore resources is dealt with expeditiously. Where necessary consents have been given to enable development to proceed pending formal development programme approval. The recent formation of a separate Petroleum Engineering Division recognised the importance we attach to this work.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon
The work is the responsibility of the petroleum specialists, a departmental class of five grades covering a salary span from £3,795 to £11,670 per annum, plus a pay supplement of £313.20 per annum for those earning below £8,500 per annum, and £465 per annum for London-based staff. These salary scales were fixed at 10 per cent. above the scales for equivalent grades in the professional and technolocal officer group, to enable the Department to compete more effectively for expertise, which is in short national supply. It is not possible to make direct comparisons with salaries paid by the petroleum industry since these vary widely between companies. Moreover, job specifications and qualification requirements for departmental petroleum specialists do not match exactly those set by industry. However, 261W such comparison as can be made suggests that, in this field as in others, the private sector is able, by virtue of its greater flexibility, to pay higher salaries for roughly equivalent posts.