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Burmah Oil Company

Volume 884: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the position of the Total/Burmah Oil refinery project which was scheduled to be built in Kent.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has decided to reopen the local inquiry into the company's application for planning permission. No date has yet been set.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy which Government agency will be responsible for managing the 51 per cent. holding in North Sea interests to be acquired from Burmah Oil; and what changes are proposed in the existing management.

The British National Oil Corporation, when constituted under the necessary legislation, will exercise the Government's participation rights. Participation in Burmah's commercial oil fields will not itself affect the management of Burmah's remaining interests.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) whether he will confirm that the Government will not obtain a majority holding in BP by negotiating to acquire BP equity pledged by Burmah with the Bank of England, during the 12-months' guarantee period granted to Burmah by the bank in support of its dollar borrowings;(2) whether he proposes to use any of the British Petroleum equity now deposited by Burmah Oil with the Bank of England, in order to acquire a State majority shareholding in British Petroleum;(3) whether he will confirm that the shareholding of British Petroleum lodged by Burmah Oil with the Bank of England remains an exclusive asset of the proprietors of Burmah Oil.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if the Government propose to acquire any part of Burmah's holding in BP with or without the assent of the Burmah Oil Company;(2) under what circumstances could the Bank of England dispose of the whole or any part of the 21ยท7 per cent. shareholding currently held by the Burmah Oil Company in BP; and if it would be in a position to do so short of the company defaulting under its obligations to the bank.

My right hon. Friend has nothing to add to his statement to the House on the Burmah Oil Company on the 15th January. He expects to make a further statement to the House shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he expects to take a 51 per cent. holding in Burmah Oil's Continental Shelf interests before the expiration of the Bank of England's 12-month guarantee to Burmah Oil in support of its dollar borrowings.

I hope that the negotiations between my Department and Burmah will be concluded as quickly as possible, but I cannot forecast exactly when this will happen.