HC Deb 12 March 1990 vol 169 cc6-7W
Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what quantity of oil is dumped each year into the North sea from drilling; what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of such dumping; and if he has any plans to prohibit this practice.

Mr. Wakeham

The annual report published by the Department of Energy on "Development of the Oil and Gas Resources of the United Kingdom" lists the quantity of oil discharged with drill cuttings into the sea since 1981. In 1988 the amount, from 265 wells, was 19,480 tonnes (73.5 te/well). For 1989 the figure is in the region of 12,260 tonnes from 257 wells (47.7 te/well).

The reduction from 1988 to 1989 is due to the requirement that, as from 1 January 1989, the maximum oil on cuttings permitted to be discharged to the sea was 150 grammes oil/kilogramme cuttings.

All operators who wish to use oil-based drilling muds on production and development wells must undertake a programme of defined seabed surveys. The decision to restrict the level of oil on cuttings to 150 grammes/kilogramme was based on the results of these environmental surveys.

Admissions 1985–89
Year Science museum (South Kensington) National railway museum (York) National museum of photography, film and television (Bradford)
1985 2,738,900 1,113,700 549,900
1986 2,994,500 932,900 677,300
1987 3,116,300 649,800 702,700
1988 2,261,000 565,600 824,800
1989 1,121,100 542,700 736,400

Figures for the years before charges were introduced are estimated attendances. I understand that admission charges were introduced at the national railway museum, York in April 1987 and at the science museum in October 1988. There are no admission charges to the national museum of photography, film and television, Bradford.