asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions on the exploitation of the natural resources of the United Kingdom for which he has ministerial responsibility.
I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the exploitation of offshore oil. All the companies concerned in the development of the 12 oilfields so far declared commercial have had explained to them the Government's objectives for majority State participation as envisaged in the White Paper published in July 1974 (Cmnd. 5696). Discussions on the companies' plans for refining and disposal have also started, as foreshadowed in my statement on 6th December.