HC Deb 08 December 1980 vol 995 cc223-4W
Mr. Mudd

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what conclusions were reached at the meeting of the Council of Energy Ministers on 27 November.

Mr. David Howell

The Council of Energy Minsters had a useful exchange of views about the oil supply situation and other energy issues.

On the oil supply situation, Ministers concluded that there was no overall shortfall and that price increases in the oil markets were unjustified in present circumstances. Minister expressed their determination to do everything possible to prevent tension on the oil markets in the coming months. Provided other industrialised consumer countries did likewise, the member States undertook to ask oil companies to use stocks in excess of regular reserve obligations; to take all necessary measures, in conjunction with oil companies, to prevent import prices varying from normal prices, or to ask the oil companies to refrain from making abnormal purchases; to encourage adjustment of supplies to correct imbalances posing particular problems for some member states; to encourage oil saving and oil substitution; and to support domestic production at a high level.

Ministers noted a Commission communication on oil product spot markets which assessed studies made on spot market transactions in 1978 and 1979. After discussion, it was agreed there should be further consideration of a Commission proposal to extend regulation on the registration of crude oil and oil product imports.

Ministers considered and agreed in principle the Commission's recommendation in the principles governing electricity tariff structures in the Community. A statement by the Commission formed the basis for a constructive exchange of views about the respective contributions of national and Community action to achieve the energy objectives agreed by Ministers at the Energy Council last May. Ministers noted a statement by the Commission on the Commission communication on energy and economic policy which is also being examined be the Finance Council.