Does the Secretary of State agree with the statement by Mr. Willmott that two-thirds of the North Sea oil must be refined here? Does he agree that that is tantamount to putting a qualification on the amount of oil that can go abroad? As the refinery mix is 25 per cent. low sulphur and the remainder lower-grade oil, would it not be advantageous to the balance of payments to export more than was first anticipated?
It is unusual to refer in the House to statements of civil servants, but the reference made by the civil servant in the United States followed precisely the statement made in the House in December 1974. We are anxious to maximise the benefits for this country from North Sea oil. It follows, from the type of oil coming from the North Sea compared with the needs of this country, that we shall be trading in oil by exporting and importing. That is the broad thinking behind the policy that we have announced, including our desire that up to two-thirds of the oil should be refined in the United Kingdom.