HL Deb 25 November 1991 vol 532 cc77-8WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they have taken concerning the continental shelf around the Falkland Islands.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (The Earl of Caithness)

The question of oil in the South Atlantic, specifically in the continental shelf off Patagonia and around the Falkland Islands, has been receiving increasing attention in recent years. Her Majesty's Government have been in contact with the Falkland Islands Government on the matter.

Having considered proposals by the Falkland Islands Government, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has instructed the Governor of the Falkland Islands to take the necessary legislative measures to provide for the exercise of the Crown's rights over the sea bed and the sub-soil of the continental shelf around the Falkland Islands.

In addition, an Ordinance known as the Continental Shelf Bill 1991, will be laid before the Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands. Upon entry into force this would allow seismic surveying to take place under licence in designated areas of the continental shelf.

Officials from the British and Argentine Governments will meet shortly to explore the scope for co-operation.