HC Deb 04 May 1978 vol 949 cc203-4W
Mr. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent progress has been made in participation negotiations with companies involved in North Sea oil development.

Mr. Mahon

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th March 1978; Vol. 945, c. 771], gave the following further information:

I have signed today definitive participation agreements with the British National Oil Corporation and the Montrose Group, comprising Amoco, Amerada Hess and Texas Eastern.

Memoranda of principles were signed with the companies on 29th April 1977 on the basis that the companies would be financially neither better nor worse off as a result of participation. The agreements implement the memoranda and give effect to Her Majesty's Government's policy of securing majority State participation in the companies' interests in commercial fields discovered under pre-fifth round licences.

The agreement signed with Amoco UK Petroleum Limited and Amoco (UK) Exploration Company covers Amoco's interests in the Montrose Field and all commercial fields under other pre-fifth round licences.

The agreements signed with Amerada Exploration Limited and Amerada Petroleum Corporation of the United Kingdom Limited and Texas Eastern (UK) Limited and North Sea, Inc. cover the interests of Amerada Hess and Texas Eastern in the Montrose Field.

The agreements with the Montrose Group provide for BNOC to acquire at market price up to 29.2 per cent.—taking acount of the BGC interest of 30.77 per cent.—of each company's share of petroleum from the Montrose Field, subject to certain sale-back arrangements in the case of Amoco; they also provide BNOC with rights to information and an effective voice with specific voting rights. Provision has been made for BNOC to participate in Amoco's other interests in future commercial fields.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the number of tons of participation oil made available to the British National Oil Company from the Scottish sector of the North Sea as a result of participation agreements entered into as a consequence of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Act 1975 and what has been the benefit to the British National Oil Company and the United Kingdom from oil so claimed and delivered.

Dr. Mahon

The exercise of its options over crude oil from the United Kingdom Continental Shelf is in the first instance a matter for the Corporation's commercial judgment though naturally my Department is consulted as appropriate. I shall ask the Corporation's chairman to write to the hon. Member.