HC Deb 22 May 1978 vol 950 cc392-3W
Mr. Forman

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will set out the various efforts which have been made by the Government to intensify exploration for oil, gas and uranium, respectively; if he will specify the occasions on which the United Kingdom have been assisted, either financially or otherwise, by the EEC funds or institutions; and if he will provide comparable information for each of the other eight member States of the EEC.

Mr. Benn

Government policy on the pace of exploration for offshore oil and gas has been to license small amounts of territory at relatively frequent intervals. Thus, 44 blocks have recently been licensed under the fifth round of licensing, supplemented by the award of 10 blocks to the British National Oil Corporation and British Gas Corporation. On 10th May I issued a consultative document about the next round of licensing which will comprise about 40 blocks. I will also soon announce new terms for petroleum licensing in onshore areas which I hope will stimulate an increase in exploration in those areas. There is currently no uranium exploration venture in prospect in the United Kingdom which is governed by United Kingdom legislation.

The United Kingdom has not so far received any assistance from EEC sources for oil and gas exploration, nor has it taken up any allocation of funds made available for uranium exploration. Details of the occasions on which other EEC member States have been provided with assistance are not available.

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