asked the Secretary of State for Energy what efforts have been made by his Department to identify spare production capacity in the North-East of England suitable for supplying equipment now required by operations in the North Sea.
An Offshore Supplies Unit has been established in the Northern Regional Office of the Department of Industry. This unit works closely with my Department's Offshore Supplies Office and has the part-time services of an oil managing consultant. It keeps in close and regular contact with northern industry, particularly the larger firms involved in supplying equipment and services to the off-shore markets. In this task the unit is able to draw on the resources of the Offshore Supplies Office, which identifies the requirements of the offshore operators, and as far as practicable matches these with the production facilities available.