asked the Secretary of State for Energy what financial support has been forthcoming to date from the institutions of the EEC to assist the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas for the benefit of the United Kingdom consumer.
A number of projects concerning high-risk technological development in the offshore area have been granted support under an EEC scheme. Funds of approximately £30 million have been allocated to this scheme for 1974–76. So far, approximately £17 million has been committed, of which £3 million is going to United Kingdom firms. This support is repayable in the event of the commercial success of a project.Finance for offshore development is also available from the European Investment Bank. So far, loans of £14 million (Mr. Hastings) on 20th March—[Vol. 888, c. 1843–4.]—the United Kingdom subsidy was, in total, more generous than that in the Irish Republic.