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

There is refining capacity which would now be available for oil from the United Kingdom continental shelf to be refined and sold into the British market, where there is demand. That could be met. I think that that is something which could go forward if the crude oil was available. On the royalties issue, I should make it clear that royalty in kind has been taken, by decisions of the previous Government, for the second half of this year. What I mentioned would affect the first half of next year. I said that this may help United Kingdom refineries and suppliers, because there is no guarantee, when the royalty oil is taken, that it would not necessarily have come to the United Kingdom market anyway. Therefore, I do not regard this as anything more than a marginal help, and it may be marginal help in the first half of next year. But, as of now, I can tell my hon. Friend that refinery capacity is available to handle North Sea oil which could come into the United Kingdom market.