Oil Supplies

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 1979.

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Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford 12:00 am, 11th June 1979

The Oil Industry Emergency Committee and the taking of powers under the Energy Act are matters which would be justified in a major oil emergency. We are now in a period of shortfall of the level that I have described, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. He also knows that it should be possible, through the oil industry and existing machinery, to manage sensible and fair treatment for customers throughout the country wherever there is hardship. But if there are difficulties in this matter and in the way in which our oil industry is organised which apparently have given us these problems—in contrast, we are told, to lesser problems in neighbouring countries—they arise in part from the nature, structure and organisation of the oil industry which we have inherited. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"] Oh, yes. That is why we are looking carefully and rapidly at the structure of the oil industry and reviewing the functions and finances of the British National Oil Corporation to find more satisfactory and flexible methods than those that I found when I took office on 4 May this year.