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Volume 974: debated on Thursday 29 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps are being taken to expand the availability and supply of natural gas in order to meet the recent increases in demand by new domestic and commercial customers for supplies of gas.

This is a matter for the British Gas Corporation. I am asking the chairman of the Corporation to write to the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish a table showing the total natural gas supplied in the United Kingdom for each of the past five years, together with the projected demand, and the projected availability of gas supply for each of the next five years.

The table shows quantities supplied for the financial years from 1974–75 to 1978–79 and forecasts to 1983–84.

m. therms

It is not possible to give any precise indication of the extent to which actual demand may exceed the planned rate of expansion of supplies.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has held with the gas authorities concerning the increase in demand for gas, the available supply, and problems related to these factors; and if he will make a statement.

Officials of my Department have recently had discussions with the British Gas Corporation on these matters. I am satisfied that the Corporation is taking all reasonable steps to deal with the unprecedented rise in demand for gas which has resulted from consumers' reactions to the increased price of oil and uncertainty about the security of oil supplies.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied that all existing gas consumers will be guaranteed an adequate supply for the foreseeable future.

I am satisfied that unless exceptional circumstances arise the British Gas Corporation will be able to maintain supplies to its existing customers.