HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc989-90W
Mr. Salmond

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how much free capacity there is in each pipeline in St. Fergus; [58893]

(2) what the Government are doing to ensure that existing pipeline capacity is fully utilised; [59383]

(3) what steps the Government are taking to ensure that existing pipeline capacity is fully utilised; [58894]

(4) how much free capacity exists in each pipeline that goes to St. Fergus. [59382]

Mr. Wilson

Determining the available capacity in gas pipelines is technically very complex and dependent on a number of factors including gas specification, entry location, existing gas flows and relative demand. Pipeline owners therefore undertake calculations on a case by case basis for each new prospective entrant and the results are commercially sensitive. On a broad level, certain pipelines currently have a reasonably constant level of spare capacity while others may have some spare capacity on a seasonal basis only. Additional annual spare capacity in the pipelines to St. Fergus is expected to begin to develop from about 2003–04.

Through PILOT, the Government and industry are pursuing a programme of activities aimed at maximising production of offshore oil and gas and encouraging commercial discussions between UK pipeline owners and Norwegian licensees. These activities, measures in hand to revise the industry's Code of Practice on access to offshore infrastructure, and the development of new guidance on the regulation of third party access to upstream pipelines will help to bring forward new developments which may be expected to utilise existing offshore infrastructure, including the pipelines to St. Fergus.