HC Deb 18 December 1995 vol 268 c872W
Mr. David Porter

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the prospects for the gas and oil industry on and offshore in Suffolk and Norfolk, in 1996 and beyond. [6200]

Mr. Page

The offshore area to the north and north-east of Norfolk contains the main gas basin of the United Kingdom continental shelf—the southern basin. The interest shown in this area in recent rounds of offshore oil and gas licensing demonstrate that the area's prospectivity is still considered to be good by the oil and gas industry. Sixteen blocks were licensed in the southern basin in the 15th round and eight blocks were licensed on the margins of the southern basin in the 16th round. Exploration activity in relation to these licences will continue into 1996. It is too early to forecast prospects for the oil and gas industry as a result of this activity.

There have, however, been a number of discoveries in the basin as a whole which are likely to he developed over the next 20 years. I have also offered for licence five blocks offshore to the east of Norfolk and Suffolk in the recently announced 17th round. Applications for this round are due on 27 November 1996.

There are currently no onshore oil and gas licences in Suffolk and Norfolk, nor were any applications received for this area in the recent 7th round of onshore licensing.

Mr. Wigley

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate his Department has made of the quantities of(a) oil and (b) natural gas likely to be extracted from the sea area adjacent to the north Wales coast, indicating the likely value of such products for each of the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [5431]

Mr. Eggar

Exploration of the sea area immediately adjacent to the north Wales coast has not progressed sufficiently to allow future hydrocarbon recovery to be estimated.

The operator's estimates of overall recovery from the nearby Hamilton, Hamilton N, Lennox and Douglas fields are published each spring in the "Energy Report" and stand at some 32 billion cubic metres of gas and 19 million tonnes of oil. For reasons of commercial confidentiality my Department does not publish forecasts of oil and gas production for individual fields.