HC Deb 23 October 1979 vol 972 cc147-8W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the international meetings of Energy Ministers which he has attended since the House rose in July.

Mr. David Howell

The Council of EEC Energy Ministers met on 20 September in Brussels, and again on 9 October in Luxembourg. I represented the United Kingdom at the first of these meetings, and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont), was our representative at the second. I also attended a meeting of Energy Ministers of summit countries in Paris on 26 September.

The 20 September Energy Council held an exchange of views on recent developments in the energy situation and outlook. The Council discussed the distribution among member States of the common target for oil imports in 1985 in preparation for the meeting of summit Energy Ministers in Paris on 26 September. The Council also discussed detailed arrangements for registering imports of crude oil into the Community, and considered the role of the international energy technology group to be set up following the Tokyo summit in June.

At the meeting of summit Energy Ministers in Paris on 26 September agreement in the Community was announced on the breakdown between member States of the EEC's 1985 net oil import target of 472 million tonnes. This included a figure of 5 million tonnes net exports by the United Kingdom. I made it clear that if exports were in the event higher than this, that would be a matter solely for the United Kingdom Government and would not affect the targets of other Community countries. There was agreement in principle that there should be a system of registration of crude oil transactions based on monthly reporting, and that the registers be held by the IEA and the EEC. The meeting also agreed arrangements to set up an international energy technology group, as envisaged at the Tokyo summit.

The Energy Council on 9 October reaffirmed member States' individual export targets for 1985, took note of my statement on 26 September about the treatment of United Kingdom net exports in excess of 5 million tonnes in 1985, and made progress towards the disaggregation of the Community's global target of 472 million tonnes oil imports in 1980. Agreement was reached on many of the outstanding points of detail on the proposed regulation to establish a register of oil imports into the Community. The Council had before it the presidency's suggestion for future work on support for coal, and a letter from me to Commissioner Brunner and my EEC colleagues urging Community support totalling £160 million a year for investment in the Community. The Council instructed the permanent representatives to give urgent and positive consideration to existing schemes and new proposals in the coal sector. General discussions also took place on proposed Community energy objectives for 1980, on new lines of action in the field of energy savings, and on proposals to support hydrocarbon exploration projects. The Council approved the allocation of funds for phase 1 of round 5 of the scheme to support Community projects in the hydrocarbons sector.

Forward to