asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the present situation about licences and prospecting for oil in the Minches and off the West coast of the Western Isles.
Five blocks to the north of the Minches are presently held under petroleum production licences awarded in the fourth round of licensing. In addition, the conditional award of a licence was announced earlier this year for four blocks south-west of the Hebrides. All other blocks in the areas are available to holders of non-exclusive exploration licences. Seismic surveys, including one recently in the Minches themselves, have been carried out but there has been no drilling as yet.