North Sea Operations (Licences)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil 12:00 am, 25th May 1965

asked the Minister of Power when he intends to issue the next batch of production licences for the North Sea, and on what basis; and what have been the reasons for the delay.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

I cannot yet add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 9th February.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

Will the right hon. Gentleman take great care in this matter and appreciate that if he does delay decisions further on this important issue he is in danger, first, of losing the very great start which he got as a result of the actions of the former Government and, secondly, that other countries which are also interested in the Continental Shelf may step forward and take our place?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

I am aware of the point the hon. Gentleman makes. The area for which applications will be invited, as well as the timing of them, will depend on agreements with the other States to which he referred, which are States on the borders of the United Kingdom. Up to now we have reached agreement with Norway, but negotiations are still proceeding with Denmark and Holland. I could not now say when those agreements will be concluded.