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Participation Agreements

Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will make a further statement clarifying the status of participation agreements in the light of his remarks in that connection, Official Report, 17th January 1977, column 14 and Official Report, 18th November, column 1018;(2) whether the participation agreements negotiated by the Government and the BNOC with the oil companies are regarded by him in any way in the nature of planning agreements;(3) whether it is intended that the oil companies should negotiate planning agreements in addition to participation agreements, pursuant to the Government's industrial strategy outlined in the Industry Act 1975;(4) whether information obtained from or obligations assumed under participation agreements are in any way similar to that likely to be expected under planning agreements.

Participation agreements with oil companies which provide for consultations with the Government, such as those with Shell and Esso, have important elements in common with planning agreements, though there are major differences. I intend also to discuss common problems at a tripartite level involving Government, managements of oil companies and the trades unions, and as appropriate, to negotiate planning agreements with individual oil companies.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many of the participation agreements already negotiated or agreed have made provision for or place restrictions on the export of crude oil or petroleum products.

It is the Government's intention to have discussions with all companies producing oil on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf about its disposal. In many cases there is provision for such discussions in participation agreements with the companies. Imports and exports of oil and products will form part of the subject matter of such discussions.