asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether arrangements have yet been concluded for private sector participation in Gas Gathering Pipelines (North Sea) Ltd.
BP, ICI, RTZ, and Total/EIF have now agreed to participate in GGP Ltd., and will between them hold one-third of the shares, Other companies have promised their full co-operation. Strict arrangements have been made to safeguard commercially confidential information provided to GGP Ltd. by North Sea operators and other companies to attain its objectives. In my answer to my hon. Friend on 9th December last year—[Vol. 922, c. 311–313]—I said that GGP Ltd. would cease operations once it has completed its studies, and that its structure does not anticipate the arrangements which may later be made for the ownership of the pipeline system should one prove viable. In order to avoid pre-empting any decision on subsequent arrangements I have assured participants that, if the GGP studies show that a pipeline is commercially viable and development subsequently takes place on that basis, I will use my best endeavours to secure that a sum be paid that will recover to participants the money that they will have expended for the purchase of these studies. This sum would be at least equivalent to the share capital of GGP plus the funds paid to GGP by participants, though my assurance does not cover a sum exceeding £3 million.