§ Mr. Portillo
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the value of assets transferred to the British National Oil Corporation on its formation on 1 January 1976; and if he will detail what assistance, direct or indirect, was provided by Her Majesty's Government to the corporation (a) between then and 31 October 1979 and (b) subsequently.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
Under section 13 of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975, the whole of the issued share capital of National Coal Board (Exploration) Limited (subsequently re-named BNOC (Exploration) Limited) was transferred to the British National Oil Corporation on 1 January 1976 for consideration equal to its face value of £50,000. This transaction, and all subsequent operations of the corporation until 31 December 1982, when its link with the account was severed, were financed through the national oil account.
Details of the amounts received by the corporation from the account, including loans from the national loans fund made via the account, and of payments made by the corporation to the account, are given in the corporation's annual reports and statements of account for each of the years to 31 December 1982 and in the published accounts of the national oil account for each of the financial years up to 31 March 1983, when the account was abolished. In the period up to 1 November 1982, when Britoil ceased to be a subsidiary of the corporation, the corporation received various investment and similar grants for which it was eligible in respect of its former oil exploration and development operations.
At 1 January 1983, after its link with the national oil account ceased, the 'corporation was provided with capital reserves of £30 million free of interest. In the financial year ended 31 March 1985 net grants totalling £66,520,000 were paid to the corporation under section 6 of the Oil and Gas (Enterprise) Act 1982.