HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 c24W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what research has been done to see if there are tar-sand and shale oil deposits in British territory; and what research he is supporting looking into the technology of extraction from these sources.

Mr. Gray

Government research into the oil shale deposits existing in various areas of Great Britain—and indeed produced commercially in the Lothian region until 1964—has been directed at establishing the possible economic potential of future oil production from these sources. Following a report by Mr. Alastair Macleod Matthews on the subject published by my Department in 1975, a technical survey of shale reserves—including drilling—was commissioned from the natural environment research council in 1976. The report of this survey, just received, is being studied.

There is no evidence that tar-sand deposits exist in Great Britain, but if they do it would only be in insignificant quantites, not justifying research.