§ Ms Ruddock
To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what monitoring is undertaken by his Department to ensure that oil companies comply with the conditions placed on discharges from offshore oil and gas installations to the marine environment; 
(2) what provisions his Department has in place to ensure that (a) discharges to the marine environment from offshore oil and gas installations do not exceed permitted levels and (b) cumulative levels of discharges from offshore oil and gas installations do not damage marine wildlife and habitats. 
§ Mr. Page
Both my Department and the Department of Transport's marine pollution control unit monitor discharges from offshore oil and gas installations by means of a programme of aerial surveillance. This is used to monitor whether oil spills are reported in accordance with the requirements of petroleum production licences. Aerial surveillance can also detect high levels of produced water.
When a company has been granted an exemption in accordance with section 23 of the Prevention of Oil Pollution Act 1971, which permits the discharge of produced water, conditions attached to that exemption will require the company to take samples of produced water twice a day for analysis. The results of the analysis are submitted to my Department for inspection on a monthly basis.
Similarly, conditions attached to an exemption which permits the company to drill with oil-based mud will require the company to take samples at least once a day for analysis of the oil on cuttings. The results of these analyses are submitted to my Department for inspection after the well is completed.
The effects of operational discharges of chemicals in water and drilling muds from offshore oil and gas installations, including possible cumulative effects, are taken into account when agreeing limits for the discharge and use of chemicals for each installation. The Departments responsible for fisheries monitor the well being of the marine environment.