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Crude Oil

Volume 974: debated on Thursday 29 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what quantity of crude oil is currently being refined in the United Kingdom; what the additional amount is which could be refined if all available plant is operated at full capacity; and why crude oil is being exported from the North Sea to other EEC countries when such oil could be refined in the United Kingdom.

In 1978 the United Kingdom refinery industry had the capacity to refine 133 million tonnes of crude oil; United Kingdom refinery throughput in that year was 96 million tonnes. In the first nine months of this year 73 million tonnes of crude and process oil were refined in the United Kingdom. We are net importers of crude oil. The reason why we export some of our North Sea oil and import other types is that North Sea oil on its own would be neither the best nor the cheapest refinery feedstock for meeting the United Kingdom's requirements for refined product. In addition, some oil products cannot be made from North Sea oil.