asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what degree the British National Oil Corporation exceeded the statutory borrowing limits prescribed by Section 6 (iii) of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Act 1975 in 1977, both by statutory borrowing and through BRITOIL making forward purchases of oil from the Corporation; and whether he is prepared to seek to amend the Act to make the Corporation's operations fully accountable to Parliament.
BNOC has no borrowings which count towards the £600 million statutory borrowing limit under Section 6(3) of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Act 1975, other than short-term borrowings up to a limit of £15 million under its overdraft facility with the Bank of Scotland. The Corporation had raised £454 million at 31st December 1977 by the forward sale of oil to Britoil. This is not a borrowing and hence does not count towards the statutory borrowing limit, though it will be seen that, even if it did, it would be within the existing limit. There are no plans at present to introduce amending legislation.