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Oil Supplies

Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 31 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he is taking to deal with the threat to oil supplies world wide and to the United Kingdom caused by the cessation of Iranian oil exports.

The fall in Iranian oil production in November and December and the complete cessation of oil exports since Christmas are undoubtedly placing strain on world oil markets. The loss of Iranian crude is only in part being made up from additional production elsewhere and some rundown in stock levels worldwide is inevitable. The Government will watch the situation carefully and will keep in close touch with the International Energy Agency and with other Governments. I am also continuing to keep in close touch with the oil companies about the maintenance of supplies to the United Kingdom and the steps they are taking to secure additional supplies from other sources.In the meantime, it is important that consumers should exercise restraint in the use of oil products wherever possible and avoid waste. The Government will expect oil companies exporting North Sea crude to do so in the markets of our partners in the International Energy Agency and in the European Community. This expectation in no way cuts across the maintenance, to the extent possible, of any existing patterns of trade outside those regions.