§ Ms Ruddock
To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many inspections of offshore oil and gas installations have been undertaken by his Department in each of the past 10 years. 
§ Mr. Page
Numerous inspections of offshore installations have been undertaken by the Department of Trade and Industry in each of the past 10 years, although precise figures are not available.
Until 1991, safety inspections of offshore installations were carried out by Department of Energy inspectors exercising powers in regulations made under the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971. In 1991, this function was transferred to the Health and Safety Executive. The Department of Trade and Industry does not carry out inspections relating to safety.
From 1986 to 1993, inspections of offshore oil and gas installations were undertaken by officers for the Department for the purpose of issuing UK oil pollution prevention—UKOPP—certificates under the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Oil Pollution) Regulations 1983, SI 1983/1398. However, this has now reverted to the Department of Transport as from 1 June 1995.
The Secretary of State has powers under each licence granted in accordance with section 2 of the Petroleum (Production) Act 1934 to examine any installation erected in accordance with a licence and its equipment and any works executed. These powers are most commonly exercised by petroleum measurement inspectors to ensure that the methods of measurement used to account for petroleum won and saved from the licensed areas comply with the requirements of the licence.