§ Sir Anthony Meyer
asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) whether, in view of the announced withdrawal of British Petroleum from the financing of the pilot project for extracting oil from coal at Point of Ayr in North Wales, he will hold urgent consultations with European Economic Community Energy Ministers to secure their support for developing this technology;
(2) whether, in putting forward proposals for larger contributions from the European Community to projects in the United Kingdom order to produce more equitable budget arrangements, he will propose that the Community should so increase its contribution to the National Coal Board's project for extracting oil from coal at Point of Ayr in North Wales as to make good the deficiency caused by the withdrawal of British Petroleum from the scheme.
§ Mr. John Moore
In May last year the Government announced their intention to make £5 million available towards the cost of a pilot liquefaction plant, subject to the National Coal Board demonstrating that it had secured the whole of the balance of the funding, with substantial financial participation by private industry. Since that time, laboratory trials have continued with Government and industrial help. I hope that, in the light of BP's reported attitude, the board will continue its efforts to seek private sector financing.